Saturday, December 03, 2005

Vegetarian Paella

I love the taste of restaurant paella, even though vegetarian versions are not authentic. But at home, it always falls short of my expectations until today. This recipe does not leave you with enough leftovers for a week. I usually use just normal long grain rice for paella but using short grain style rice, arborio like I did today gives a nice chewy texture to the dish. I usually crank up the heat to saute up the sofrito. But long, slow sauteeing for 15-20 min improved the flavor remarkably this time. Overall, it was very satisfying to eat a home cooked paella. Now that I have made a nice, tasty paella, maybe I will buy the neat paella pans next...

1 cup arborio rice or spanish short-grain rice
1 large onion, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp sazon blend (optional) or dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 green pepper, finely diced
2-3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup peas
1 tsp smoked paprika (I used ancho chile powder)
1 tsp saffron
2-2.5 cups vegetable broth, warmed
6 artichoke hearts, sliced into halves
1 red pepper, roasted, peeled and cut into strips
lemon wedges

1. Heat 2-3 tsp olive oil in a large skillet, add onion, garlic and green pepper and saute until softened, 2-3 min. Turn down heat to medium-low, add herbs and tomatoes and saute for as long as 15-20 min till very soft and slightly caramelized.
2. Soak saffron in warm broth.
3. When the sofrito is done, add zucchini and rice. Saute for 1 min. Add wine and let it evaporate. Pour in the broth, add salt, paprika. Some recipes don't suggest covering and let the paella cook in the oven. I cover the pan and cook on stovetop.
4. Add peas half-way through. After the rice cooks completely, remove cover. Place artichokes and roasted pepper strips decoratively on top. Let the bottom of rice caramelize a little.
5. Serve warm with lemon wedges.


  1. wow, mika, that looks gorgeously colourful! I love artichokes - nice touch

  2. hey, i jus cooked paella too! vegetarian version...hmm... that's interesting!