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  • Writer's pictureCallum Weir

Plant-Based Paella

Paella for me was always a treat. It wasn't very often I managed to get my hands on this distinctive golden coloured rice dish. Could I just buy a ready meal, pop it in the oven for half an hour and have the job done quickly to satisfy my cravings? Yes. But would it be the same? Of course not. They just don't carry the same taste, nor do they carry the amount of effort it takes to accomplish the dish. With minimal effort comes minimal taste. That's why I opt for creating a paella from scratch. It's the only way you'll know time and effort has been fully invested into creating such a beautiful mouth-watering dish!

This has become one of my favourite dishes of all time. I had always heard of paella but had never actually tasted an authentic one until back 2013 whilst on holiday in Spain with some friends. We had walked miles to find a restaurant that was far from the touristy areas, and had booked ourselves into one so we could delve into and experience this delicious cuisine. Back then I ate meat, so we ordered the crustacean paella, which was delicious in its own right, but now for obvious reasons, I would not chose to eat again.

Since going plant-based, I have tried many plant-based and vegan paellas, some awful, but some amazing. There have been many with mock meats and many without. It's been trial and error trying to find the best recipe. Overall most of them were great, but I would love to share with you the one that stood out to me more than any other.

This plant-based paella is very simple to make, but I must warn you, it is not a quick recipe, you will need to take your time, but the results in the end, will be mouth-watering while packing a punch of flavour in every single bite.

I am sure that once you have tried this recipe, you'll be wanting to show it off to everyone. It's a total crowd pleaser and once mastered, if you're anything like me, you will not be able to stop making it.

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 tin of artichoke hearts, drained

  • 10-12 broccoli stems

  • 1 tin of butter beans, drained

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced

  • 150g of green beans, opt for fine cut

  • 2 lemons, cut in quarters

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, finely cut

  • 280g of paella rice

  • 1 tbsp of paprika

  • 9-10 strands of saffron

  • 115g of tomato, finely cut

  • ½ tsp of turmeric

  • 1 litre of vegetable stock, using 2x cubes

With such a strong and vibrant aroma, flavoursome taste and golden colour, this family-sized meal will be devoured within minutes. This is exactly what happened when I made it for my family for the first time. Helpings of seconds were being dished out only minutes after the first!

For one portion of this plant-based paella, the calories round in at 398 which makes it a healthy well-balanced meal. If you're on a weight loss journey, then this would be the perfect meal (if you can restrain from having a second serving!) especially if you made enough to take for your lunch in the week. This paella will be good to eat for up to 3-4 days once cooked.

The protein levels for this dish come in at a reasonable 13.97g per portion. Though not the highest, this can also be boosted if you were to add some additional ingredients such as meat alternatives. Nether the less you will still get a sufficient intake, just be aware that if you have a daily protein goal, then you may need a larger portion.

As usual, I will be adding an infographic at the end allowing you to see the nutritional value of one serving, and below will be a more in-depth list for you to study if of interest.

Serves: 4-6

Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 55 minutes

  • Cut the pepper in half, de-seed and put under the grill (skin side up) until the skins blacken, remove and let them cool down.

  • Once cooled, remove the blackened skin and cut into strips.

  • Chop the onion and tomatoes into fine chunks and mince the garlic

  • Drain the butter beans

  • Cut the broccoli into florets and trim the green beans

  • Drain the artichoke hearts and cut into quarters

  • Add the saffron strands into a dry frying pan, and set to medium heat for a few minutes

  • Add the saffron into a bowl or mortar, and crush and grind until the saffron forms a powder. Add some salt to the bowl and mix

  • Add a tbsp of olive oil to a pan and add the pepper, cooking on a slow heat for around 10 minutes. Make sure the peppers do not brown off, you just need them to get soft!

  • Remove the pepper from the pan and pepper into small chunks, but leave a few aside in the form of strips

  • Add another tbsp of olive oil and add the onion, let it cook for 10 minutes until soft and golden

  • Add the garlic to the onion and cook for another 2 minutes

  • Add the tomato to the pan, mix with the onion and garlic, cooking for another 10 minutes until the tomato has turned very soft

  • Stir in the saffron, turmeric and paprika

  • Add the stock and turn up the heat until the mixture starts to boil

  • The reduce to a medium heat

  • Add the green beans, butter beans, red pepper and artichokes (make sure the strips of pepper have been left to the side)

  • Turn the heat up until it all starts to simmer

  • Add the rice evenly into the pan

  • Bring the heat up to boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer for 5 minutes, do not stir at this point.

  • Decorate the top of the paella with the left-over pepper and broccoli.

  • Leave it to cook for another 10 minutes

  • Move the rice around if it is not evenly distributed around the pan

  • Once 10 minutes have passed, try the rice, it should be slightly hard still (al dente)

  • If the pan starts to dry out then add a little boiling water, but no more than 100ml. Sprinkle the water in, rather than pouring.

  • Cook until there is very little liquid left. Turn up the heat to get rid of any of the remaining liquid

  • Once the rice is fully cooked, turn off the heat

  • Serve and enjoy

If you decide to recreate this recipe, make sure to share your pictures on Instagram by tagging or using the hashtag #yumfu

Peace and plants 🌱


Trans-Fats 0g

Monounsaturated Fat 0.05g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.42g

B1 (Thiamine) 0.1mg

B2 (Riboflavin) 0.12mg

B3 (Niacin) 1.32mg

B5 (Pantothenic Acid) 0.3mg

B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.2mg

B12 (Cobalamin) 0ug

Folate 77.72ug

Vitamin A 1344IU

Vitamin C 44.5mg

Vitamin D 0IU

Vitamin E 0.87mg

Vitamin K 30.1ug

Copper 0.12mg

Magnesium 38.6mg

Manganese 0.4mg

Phosphorus 73.7mg

Potassium 198.2mg

Selenium 0.45ug

Sodium 521mg

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