While this version of paella isn’t purely authentic, it touches on all the elements I love in paella. A little bit of smokiness, the crunch of the rice on the bottom, the golden finish of saffron. The only traditional ingredient missing from this recipe is the meat and you won’t miss it at all with all the flavorful vegetables added in. I add edamame for additional protein and load up with artichoke and asparagus. This is a great dish for a plant-based dinner (my family loves it) or to make for more than one meal (I love leftover the next day!).
Makes 4-6 servings
1 pinch saffron threads
2 T. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 bell peppers (any color), thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 cups green beans or asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 whole Roma tomatoes, grated
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 1/2 cups short grain rice (Valencia or Bomba)
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth or organic chicken broth
1 cup artichoke hearts in water, drained and quartered
1 cup frozen edamame or green peas
1-2 sprigs rosemary
In a small bowl, add the saffron threads to 2 tablespoons warm water, let set 10 minutes to steep.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large wide flat-bottomed pan or paella pan (I used a large sauté pan). Add onions and bell peppers with a generous pinch of salt and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus or green beans, grated tomatoes (this will be jucie like consistency), crushed garlic, and smoked paprika, cook another 3 minutes stirring frequently.
Add in the rice and toss to coat in seasoning and oil. Then add the broth and saffron mixture with another pinch of sea salt. Gently stir together, then bring liquid to a boil and reduce heat to medium or medium-low and cook at a continuous gentle boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes. DO NOT STIR.
After 15 minutes of cooking, sprinkle edamame or peas and artichoke hearts on top and cook additional 5 minutes with lid off. When 20 minutes is up, turn off heat lay rosemary springs over top and cover for 10 minutes. This will allow the rice to absorb any remaining liquid and finish cooking of the edamame or peas.