Paella is a rice dish that originated in Valencia, Spain. Saffron, a spice derived from crocus flowers, is one of the main seasonings. In addition to making the rice yellow, it has a distinct flavor that’s a bit like honey. It’s very expensive, but it doesn’t take much of it to flavor a dish. And it’s so delicious in this recipe for vegan paella with olives and artichokes!
In addition to the floral sweetness of saffron, this vegan vegetable paella recipe uses smoked paprika and lots of garlic. Instead of using Bomba rice, this recipe uses sushi rice (or Calrose rice). It works magically.
A few things…
- ・Since you are just making this paella on the stove, use a large, flat skillet to get the job done. Avoid cast iron, because it gets too hot.
- ・Long grain rice will not work. Medium and short grain rice absorb liquid better.
- ・Do not stir the paella. Hold on to the handle of the skillet, and move the paella pan back and forth to get the rice to settle or redistribute the broth.
- ・Creating the soccarat, or crusty rice that sometimes sticks to bottom of the skillet, is optional. At the very end of cooking on low for 5 minutes in Step 5, turn up the heat to high for ~30-45 seconds. You may hear the rice crackle. Be vigilant. Then, take it off the burner and cover the skillet with a lid.
- ・Squeezing lemon juice over your rice before you eat it makes this dish.
All-in-all, this stovetop vegan paella with olives and artichokes is easy, hearty, and super tasty. Pair it with some crusty bread slathered in romesco sauce, and wow, you’ve got a delicious Spanish-inspired vegan meal!
Vegan Paella with Artichokes and Green Olives
¼ cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 scallion, finely chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
½ cup bite-size cauliflower florets
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
⅓ cup chopped carrots
½ cup frozen green peas
½ cup quartered artichoke hearts
½ cup whole green olives, pitted
3 cups broth (I used fake chicken broth)
¼-½ tsp saffron
1 ½ cups Calrose rice
Chopped fresh parsley, to top
Lemon wedges, to serve
Salt, to taste
1. First, sauté the aromatics for the vegetable paella. In a large, flat skillet, add the olive oil, garlic, scallion and a dash of salt. Sauté over medium heat for ~2 minutes or until the onions are soft. Then, add the smoked paprika and garlic powder, and stir around another 30 seconds.
2. Add the cauliflower, red bell pepper, and carrots. Stir around over medium-low heat for 3 minutes.
3. Add the green peas, artichoke hearts, green olives, and the broth. Bring to a boil.
4. Add the saffron and boil another 30 seconds. Then, add the rice by evenly pouring it over the broth, and then, moving the skillet back and forth. The rice will sink to the bottom of the skillet and the vegetables will rise to the top. Do not stir the paella at any point in the cooking process.
5. Boil the rice on high heat for 10 minutes without a lid. If the broth needs to be redistributed in the skillet, move the skillet back and forth. After the 10 minutes is up, turn the burner down to low heat for 5 minutes. (See the notes above if you would like to create the soccorat, or crusty rice on the bottom)
6. When the 5 minutes is up and most of the broth is reduced, remove the skillet from heat, and cover with a lid for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, top with fresh parsley, and serve vegan paella with lemon wedges on the side. Squeeze lemon juice over your rice, and enjoy!