Aromatic Vegan Paella Recipe

vegan paella in paella pan
vegan paella in paella pan - Catherine Brookes/Mashed

Bursting with vibrant colors and tantalizing scents, this plant-based twist on the classic Spanish dish is a true culinary masterpiece. Recipe developer Catherine Brookes' paella brings together an array of wholesome ingredients, creating a medley that is both visually captivating and palate-pleasing.

In this culinary adventure, she's replaced traditional seafood and meats with a carefully curated selection of vegetables and plant-based proteins, ensuring every spoonful is rich in taste and nutrition. Nutty chickpeas, earthy mushrooms, and sweet bell peppers mingle harmoniously with saffron-infused rice, providing a tapestry of tastes that will transport you to the sun-kissed streets of Valencia. Brookes tells us, "This is the perfect dish to serve to guests if there are people with different dietary requirements. This is gluten-free, vegan, and easy to add some extra protein to if desired!"

Join us on a gastronomic journey that celebrates compassion for animals and the environment, all while savoring the essence of Spain's culinary heritage. Discover the joy of aromatic vegan paella, where each bite whispers tales of love for both your taste buds and the planet.

Read more: The Best Vegan Cookbooks Of 2022

Gather Your Aromatic Vegan Paella Ingredients

ingredients for vegan paella
ingredients for vegan paella - Catherine Brookes/Mashed

To make this dish, you can start by gathering your ingredients. For this recipe, you will need vegetable stock, saffron, olive oil, onion, red bell pepper, white mushrooms, tomato, garlic, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, Spanish paella rice, salt, pepper, chickpeas, and peas.

While you get out those ingredients, you might be thinking about what to serve alongside this dish. While it doesn't need much to complete this meal, Brookes suggests, "This is great served with some fresh green salad and crusty bread."

Warm The Stock And Saute The Veggies

broth and saffron in saucepan
broth and saffron in saucepan - Catherine Brookes/Mashed

In a small saucepan, add the saffron and the vegetable stock. Bring this mixture to a simmer to keep warm. Then, in a paella pan, over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, onion, and red pepper. Saute these veggies for about 10 minutes. Then, add in the mushrooms and tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, before adding the garlic, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Stir all these ingredients together and enjoy the wonderful aromas wafting through your kitchen.

Saffron is a prized and essential ingredient in paella, adding a unique and vibrant touch to the dish. When added to paella, saffron infuses the rice with a beautiful hue and imparts a subtle, earthy, and slightly floral taste. However, saffron can be rather pricey. Brookes says, "If you don't want to use saffron, turmeric can work as a good substitute here."

Add The Stock And Rice To The Veggies

paella rice cooked with veggies
paella rice cooked with veggies - Catherine Brookes/Mashed

Then add the rice, salt, and pepper to the paella pan with the veggies. Allow the rice to toast in the pan for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Next add in the warm broth, but do not stir it. Bring the heat to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Continue simmering for 25 minutes. Again, resist the urge to stir.

Brookes notes, "Cooking without stirring will help to form the traditional paella 'socarrat' crust on the bottom of the pan." This allows the rice to develop a slightly crunchy texture while absorbing the flavorful juices from the ingredients. This crispy layer creates a delightful contrast to the tender rice and savory toppings.

Add The Peas And Chickpeas

chickpeas and peas on vegan paella
chickpeas and peas on vegan paella - Catherine Brookes/Mashed

Lastly, remove the dish from the heat and add the peas and chickpeas over the dish. Then cover the paella pan with foil and allow to steam for 15 minutes. Since the chickpeas and the peas are already cooked, they simply need to warm through.

Chickpeas and peas are two fantastic sources of plant-based protein, making them ideal ingredients for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet. Both legumes are not only rich in protein but also provide an array of essential nutrients. However, if you want to add some animal protein here, Brookes suggests, "You could absolutely add some chicken, chorizo, shrimp, or other seafood."

Aromatic Vegan Paella Recipe

single serving vegan paella
single serving vegan paella - Catherine Brookes/Mashed

Prep Time: 10mCook Time: 45mYield: 4 servingsIngredients

  • 4 cups vegetable stock

  • 1 teaspoon saffron

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

  • 1 ½ cups diced white mushrooms

  • 1 large tomato, diced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1 ¼ cups Spanish paella rice

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 (7-ounce) can chickpeas, drained

  • ½ cup peas, canned or thawed from frozen


  1. Add the vegetable stock to a saucepan with the saffron. Stir well, then bring to a low simmer on the stove and leave to keep warm.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a paella pan on a medium-high setting. Add the onion and red pepper and fry until softened - about 10 minutes.

  3. Add the mushroom and tomato. Fry for another 5 minutes until the mushrooms have cooked through.

  4. Add the garlic, paprika and red pepper flakes. Stir for 1 minute.

  5. Add the rice and some salt and pepper to taste. Stir to coat then cook for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

  6. Pour in the warm stock/saffron mixture and do not stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and leave to cook for 25 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed into the rice.,

  7. Scatter the peas and chickpeas over the top of the paella, then cover with foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes, until peas and chickpeas are warmed through.

  8. Serve with fresh lemon wedges, if desired.

Read the original article on Mashed.