Delicious Vegan Paella Recipe
In case there is anyone Spanish out there, I know I have committed the unspeakable sin of calling this a paella! However, this Vegan Paella does contain some of those amazing Spanish flavours synonymous with the dish, so if that’s what you’re craving, then this should satisfy you…
What is ‘Paella’?
If you check the meaning of the word ‘paella’ on Wikipedia, you may feel more relaxed about using it.
Apparently originating in the Valencian region, the term is simply the word for ‘pan’. See Wikipedia’s explanation here: Paella according to Wikipedia
However, the dish known as ‘paella’ is synonymous with Spain for so many people, the name ‘Spanish Rice’ sometimes feels like a good compromise. I cook my vegan paella in an authentic paella pan though, so I’m using the term with a little bit of confidence.
It does raise a question though.
Does authentic ‘paella’ contain paprika? I certainly tend to think of paprika as a Spanish ‘spice’.
If so, paprika (one of my favourite flavours) actually comes from peppers that were introduced into Spain from Mexico back in the 16th century.
So is it Spanish? Probably a controversial topic for another day – I like to play safe, respect all national claims and just enjoy the eating!
When the basis for this recipe was given to me by my sister-in-law many years ago, it contained chicken. Since then, I have ‘veganised’ it and produced many different versions.
It is an endlessly flexible and forgiving dish and you really can chop and change the ingredients depending on what you have in your fridge and cupboards.
I have suggested using ‘This’ Chicken in the recipe below, but now actually use Vegan Chorizo Sausages instead. See my article about my Best Vegan Sausages to find out which ones work best.
Cooking for a family, or dinner for 1?
Because it is so easy to adapt, this is a great recipe to make for a family (although they probably need to like rice!)
You can increase or decrease the level of paprika and chilli accordingly, leave out ingredients that family members don’t like and add in favourites that they do.
You can bulk out the meal with vegan garlic bread served alongside, as well as salad or a steamed green vegetable.
If you’re not cooking for a crowd, then you have lunch lined up for a couple of days too because this is delicious cold. Just make sure that you get it cooled and into the fridge quickly after cooking. I get nervous about rice – see the food safety link below.
- 1 paella pan, large sauté pan or shallow casserole dish that is ovenproof
- 2-3 tablespoons of Rapeseed or olive oil
- 1 large red onion chopped
- 2 medium red peppers equally good from a jar if you don’t have fresh, diced or sliced
- 2 large portobello mushrooms sliced
- 1 pack of This isn't chicken other substitutes are equally good, including Quorn vegan pieces or cubed smoked tofu but my favourite is Vegan Chorizo Sausages
- 4 cloves of garlic crushed
- 3 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika you can also use the hotter version if you prefer
- 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes I like the smoked chipotle flakes, but any will do
- 2 handfuls of baby spinach
- 375 grams paella rice
- 1 – 1.25 litres of vegan vegetable stock
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees (fan oven)
- Heat the oil in the pan over a medium high heat on the hob
- Sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes, then add the red peppers
- Continue cooking until the peppers start to soften and colour, then add the mushrooms
- Sauté for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms start to colour then add the ‘chicken’ and crushed garlic
- Cook for a minute or two then add the paprika, chilli flakes and ¼ teaspoon of salt (or to taste), stirring frequently
- Cook for a minute then stir in the stock and spinach
- Bring to the boil, pressing the spinach down, then evenly sprinkle in the paella rice, gently submerging it into the stock but without stirring
- Carefully transfer the dish to the oven, preferably without spilling it!
- Leave to cook undisturbed for about 20 minutes
- Remove from the oven and cover with a tea towel for 5 minutes, then squeeze the juice of half a lemon over it (removing the tea towel first, obviously!) and serve