Fair warning: this may not be the quickest vegan paella recipe out there – most other interweb recipes will try to convince you that it can be done in 30 minutes. But guess what, paella isn’t supposed to be quick.
After all, what’s going to give the rice all its flavour besides the deep, rich, well-simmered broth? If you want a truly fantastic vegan paella rather than simple boiled rice with vegetables, you need to give it time.
So my husband (he’s Spanish) has been harassing me for a long time to make paella. Why would I do it if he’s the Spanish one – shouldn’t he know how?
Guess what? I won and he caved … sort of. He promised to do a vegan paella if I helped him. Lucky for me helping only involved standing in the kitchen drinking a glass of wine (or two, I warned you – paella takes time).
He looked up a Valencian paella recipe made with meat and tried to simply swap out the meat for vegetables. Our first problem with this method, which is the problem that I see with most other vegetable paella recipes online, is that softer vegetables like peppers and asparagus end up overcooked and mushy by the end of it.
Back to the drawing board. This time we looked up vegetable paella recipes, but most of these recipes omitted the important step of making the sofrito.
The sofrito is the flavour base of paella and without it you’ve just got a bland, boring dish of rice and vegetables (no matter if you put it in a paella pan).
The sofrito starts by infusing oil with the flavours of the vegetables, then adding in tomato purée and simmering off the extra water. Finally, add in your vegetable stock, herbs and seasonings and cook it over very low heat for 30 minutes to intensify the flavours.
The longer it cooks, the darker and more flavourful your paella will be. Only now can you add your rice and cook, without stirring, for a further 20 minutes or so. See? I wasn’t kidding that good paella takes time.
So after three attempts and a combination of techniques, we’ve finally got a vegan paella that we’re happy with and here it is:
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 290 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 3224mg Carbohydrates: 53g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 7g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 9g