Summer Vegetable Paella

My Goddaughter, Chloe, came and stayed with us for 6 weeks this summer   She had come back from NZ to go to some weddings and whilst away had taken the decision to become a vegan

My husband was somewhat aghast at the prospect of eating a plant based diet for the duration of her visit but gamely said he’d give it a go.

I am glad that he did because we discovered some new recipes that are set to be family favourites – not for when we want to eat vegan – but because they are simply delicious!!  In fact if you served some of them like this paella I bet the first thing to cross your mind would not be the fact that this is vegan dish

This recipe is tweaked from one by Yotam Ottolenghi in his book Plenty  In fact Mr Ottolenghi is a great source of inspiration for vegetable based dishes and a lot can be adapted to become vegan   Really interesting ideas

This paella is wonderfully deep and redolent with the saffron.   It’s a really sociable recipe to cook and chat with someone in the kitchen and had the bonus of  a perfect time spot whilst waiting for the rice to absorb the liquid to share a glass of wine!! (And maybe another whilst waiting the final 10 minutes)

Adapt the recipe to accommodate the vegetables you have to hand   I used runner beans here as I am still wading through all those I have in my garden but if you either don’t like them (hi Sue I) then take frozen broad beans, pour over boiling water, leave for a moment and double pod   Or if that’s too much of a faff use defrosted frozen peas! If you don’t like any heat omit the cayenne and double up on the smoked paprika



Ingredients (serves 3-4)

  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into strips or 3 chopped celery stalks
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne or hot smoked paprika
  • 150g paella rice (calasparra) or you can use risotto rice if that is all you have
  • 100ml medium sherry or I use good old Harvey’s Bristol Cream
  • large pinch of saffron
  • 450 boiling vegetable stock (if not fresh make up with marigold bouillon as I do!)
  • 200g beans (either sliced runner beans, blanched or double podded broad beans) fresh or frozen
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 6 char grilled artichokes from a jar
  • handful halved kalamata olives
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • lemon wedges




  1. Heat oil in paella/frying pan and gently fry onions for 5 mins till soft. Add peppers and fennel (or celery) and continue to fry for another 5 mins
  2. Add garlic, bay leaves  (lightly crushed in your hand to release flavour) paprika, turmeric and cayenne and stir well.
  3. Add rice and coat and toast in the mix for 2 mins.  This step makes a real difference to the finished dish
  4. Add sherry and saffron and reduce down for a minute before adding a large pinch of salt.  Add the vegetable stock.
  5. Stir and then turn down heat so mixture barely simmers. Don’t stir and leave 20 mins so liquid is absorbed by the rice. This allows the dish to form a crust on the bottom which is highly prized by the Spanish
  6. Remove paella from heat   Adjust seasoning to taste
  7. Without stirring scatter over tomatoes, artichokes, and beans over.  Cover tightly with foil and leave to rest and heat through for 10 mins
  8. When ready to serve take off foil, scatter over olives and parsley and serve with lemon wedges.IMG_3134

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