When I was twenty years old, I lived in Granada, in the Andalusian region of Spain. The time I spent in Spain made me completely fall in love with it. I could go on all day about how amazing the people, culture, and nature of Spain are, but we are of course here to talk about the food. Speaking of food, I would argue that there’s no dish more associated with Spain than paella. In this recipe, I share how you can make a vegetable quinoa version of Spanish paella.
Have you ever seen those memes on the Internet about people who lived abroad that annoyingly can’t stop talking about the time they lived abroad? I sometimes think that meme was written about me. Even after four years, I still get excited when someone brings up Spain. But seeing as this post is about Spanish food, I’ll allow myself to ramble on a bit.
Paella originates from Valencia, a coastal city in southeastern Spain. It’s made with short grain rice, vegetables, and usually some sort of meat or seafood. The key spice in paella is saffron- this gives it its distinct flavor and yellow color. Paella is cooked in a wide shallow pan over an open fire.
This isn’t exactly a traditional paella, but a vegan and gluten free vegetable quinoa version. Just as delicious and packed with protein and lots of veggies!
The only tricky ingredient to find from this list is saffron. Since it’s not widely used in the US, I was only able to find it at Whole Foods, and it was a bit expensive. However, it is such a key ingredient in paella that I recommend trying to find it if you’re going to make this recipe. A simple Google search should point you to which stores in your area carry it.
If you really can’t find it, not to worry. You can add a little more of the paprika and turmeric to the recipe instead.
I really hope you try and like this paella! If you’re a fan of quinoa, you might also like these one pot quinoa tacos.
Vegetable Quinoa Paella
- a traditional shallow paella pan, or a shallow pan
- 1 1/2 cups white quinoa
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 red pepper
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms
- 1 can artichoke hearts
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 small onion
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp saffron
- 1/2 tbsp turmeric
- salt to taste
- lemon wedges, parsley, and olives to top
- Heat your pan or skillet on medium heat and add the olive oil, onion, and garlic.
- Add the chopped carrot and chopped pepper, along with one cup of vegetable broth.
- Add the sliced mushrooms and artichoke hearts (cut those in half).
- Add the peas, tomatoes, tomato paste, and stir.
- In a small bowl, mix the saffron with 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable broth.
- Add the quinoa to the pan, along with the saffron, paprika, turmeric, and salt.
- Give the paella one last stir to make sure the ingredients are evenly distributed. After this, DO NOT stir again!
- Cover the paella and cook it on high heat for 7 minutes. Then lower the heat to low/medium and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Finally, remove your paella from the heat.
- Top with fresh parsley, olives, and lemon wedges.