Are you ready to try the best Vegetarian Paella of your life?! If so, you’ll love my one-pot version of this classic Spanish dish! It is a super easy dinner recipe to make using simple and easily found ingredients. It is comforting, adaptable, flavour-packed, and perfect for my vegan and gluten-free friends!
Recipe Difficulty – Easy
Why this recipe works
This vegetarian version of an authentic Spanish paella takes very little effort and packs so much flavour with every bite! Saffron, paprika, and cayenne give this delicious vegan paella recipe a deliciously mildly spiced flavour. From pot to plate, these recipe will be bursting with flavour in just 40 minutes!
Paella is one of my all-time favourite dishes, especially over the summer period. As you know, I like to “vegify” my recipes to get a variety of different veggies into people’s diets and this one does exactly that! Enjoy it hot as a main course with a big green salad or have it cold as the perfect leftover recipe.
I would say this is one of my favourite dishes to cook when entertaining family or friends. Trust me, this paella is such a crowd-pleaser! You HAVE to try it! Paired with my Easy Gluten Free Focaccia recipe, you’ll be onto a winner!
If you’re looking for a quicker rice dish then why not try my Easy Tomato Risotto.
Ingredients to make Vegetarian Paella
- Red Onion – has a delicious bite and flavour. It is also slightly sweeter than a white onion.
- Garlic Cloves – add a depth of flavour and a subtle acidity, that pairs really well with the creamy risotto rice.
- Red Bell Pepper – adds a great colour and texture, plus its additional veggies!
- Cherry Tomatoes – are one of my favourite additions to this paella as they are so juicy and flavourful.
- Artichokes – I just use artichoke hearts straight from the jar and they work great! They are also a great vegetable for gut diversity! They also add a great meaty texture!
- Frozen Peas – are easier to use than shucking fresh peas, plus green peas add such a great colour!
- Paprika – is fruity and slightly sweet and pairs perfectly with the other flavours in this paella dish.
- Cayenne Pepper – adds the perfect kick. Don’t worry this isn’t a spicy paella!
- Saffron Threads – is another sweet flavour that mixes perfectly with the other flavours.
- Lemons – You will use both the lemon juice as well as some lemon wedges for serving.
- Paella or Risotto Rice – forms the base of this vegetarian paella recipe.
- Vegetable Stock – cooks the rice and adds a further flavours!
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Rice – Swapping the paella rice for brown basmati makes this healthy paella a little different. Other short grain rices would also work.
- Red Pepper – Any bell peppers will work for this recipe. Green peppers or yellow peppers would be great substitutions or additions.
- Cherry Tomatoes – You could use canned tomatoes, though fresh tomatoes are best. You could also try fire-roasted tomatoes for a fun adjustment.
- Vegetables – Feel free to try mixing up the vegetables with your favourites! Green beans, black olives, or piquillo peppers would be some good additions!
- Vegetable Stock – If you don’t have stock, you could use vegetable broth in its place.
- Large Casserole Dish – A paella pan will be your best bet, but if you have a large skillet or a large pot, you can use those to make this vegetable paella recipe. For a large pot, a bigger base is better.
- Spicy – For a spicy paella, add serrano pepper, chiles, hot paprika, or cumin.
- Deluxe – To keep it vegetarian, add some white beans, fava beans, kidney beans, etc. If you eat meat, add a handful or two of cooked chicken, chopped chorizo or cooked prawns towards the end of cooking. Stir well until heated through completely and piping hot. Put some fresh herbs on top of the rice for some nice plating. You could also serve this delicious recipe with my Chickpea Flat Bread to really mop up the sauce and flavours!
- Kid friendly – This dish has sweet, mild spices that are perfect for kids! If you know they don’t like a specific vegetable, swap it out. For a little lower heat, skip the cayenne pepper. I have a great Tomato Risotto of this recipe on the blog, which is similar but perhaps a little more kid-friendly!
How to make Vegetarian Paella
Firstly, prepare the ingredients by dicing the red onion, crushing the garlic, slicing the red peppers, and halving the cherry tomatoes. Heat the olive oil in a large, shallow casserole dish or pan over medium heat. Cook the red onion and garlic for a few minutes until they have softened. Add the rest of the vegetables, the spices, saffron, and the juice of one lemon. Fry for 5 minutes or until the pepper has softened and the peas have defrosted.
Add the rice and 250 ml of vegetable stock and give it a good stir. Cover with a lid and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the rice has soaked up all of the stock. Add another 250 ml and cook until it has been absorbed again. Continue to repeat until you’ve used all of the stock. Add the rest of the lemon juice and remove the lid for the last 5 minutes of cook time. Let the rice cook at a simmer until the end of the cooking time. For a final flavour hit, serve your paella with lemon wedges, for squeezing. Sprinkle over some chopped flat leaf parsley and enjoy!
If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can freeze it for up to a month. Note that this may change if you added meat. You can reheat it or it even tastes great cold for lunch the next day!
Paella is a traditional Spanish dish filled with flavour, rice, vegetables, chicken, and seafood. The word paella actually means frying pan. Traditional paella pans are made of carbon steel and very thin.
Since this is a rice dish, getting the right rice is key! I like to use paella or risotto rice, but any short grain rice will be great. You could use bomba rice, arborio rice, brown rice, white rice, Spanish rice, Calasparra rice, etc. Medium-grain rice may work as well, but long-grain rice is not recommended.
Traditional paella has saffron, rice, vegetables, and some sort of meat in it. It allows for a lot of changes to mix up your flavour combinations! It doesn’t need to taste like it did the first time the next time you have it!
If you are a fan of seafood paella, you can try prawn paella or fish paella. If you prefer chicken paella, you can keep it simple with that or try chicken and chorizo paella!
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- Chopping Board
- sharp knife
- large shallow casserole dish or pan
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 red pepper sliced
- 150 g cherry tomatoes halved
- 100 g artichokes (from a jar)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads
- juice of 2 lemons plus lemon wedges, to serve
- 350 g paella or risotto rice
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- handful of chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, to serve (optional)
- Firstly, dice the red onion, crush the garlic slice the red peppers and half the cherry tomatoes
- Then, heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in a large, shallow casserole dish or pan, over a medium heat
- Add the diced red onion and garlic and cook for a few minutes to allow them to soften down
- Now to the dish add all the vegetables, the spices, saffron and the juice of 1 lemon. Fry together for 5 minutes or until the pepper softens and the peas defrost
- Next add the rice and 250ml veg stock and stir. Place the lid on and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the rice soaks up all the liquid. Once absorbed all another 250ml veg stock and cook until it has been absorbed again. Repeat until the stock has been used.
- Add the juice of the remaining lemon, 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time, leave the lid off and allow to simmer until the rice is cooked
Please note that Nutrition information is a rough estimate