Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Stovetop Vegan Paella

Getting lunch in Whole Foods today, I was roaming around somewhat aimlessly hoping to find inspiration for dinner. I remembered that I had the Whole Foods app on my phone, and I had actually saved some recipes I wanted to try. Looking at my list, I settled on this Stovetop Vegetarian Paella, because it sounded good and not too complicated for a Wednesday night. The only pricey item in this recipe is the $8 I spent on Spanish saffron, which I confess I never bought before and I was kind of excited to try.

A couple of notes about this recipe: it sounded good, but a little bland. I added a 4 oz. package of "Gourmet Blend" mushrooms (baby bellas, oyster, and shitake) as well as two Field Roast Chipotle sausage links, cut into inch-thick slices. (Ok, so the chipotle sausages are Mexican and paella is a Spanish dish, but I didn't have any chorizo sausages and aren't these pretty much the same thing? Don't go getting all picky on me.) I browned the mushrooms in a saute pan (using the method recommended here) then placed them in a bowl to the side. I browned the sausage pieces in the same pan with a little olive oil and put those aside as well. I then followed the recipe as instructed, but needed much more time to cook the rice. This may be because I was using brown basmati rice which generally takes longer to cook than white. At any rate, I cooked the rice for approximately 30 minutes, as opposed to 10 minutes as directed. After adding the peas and cooking for about a minute, so that the peas are warmed through but still firm and bright, I stirred in the mushrooms and sausage. Served with lemon wedges to squeeze over the rice, it was fragrant, flavorful, earthy and just slightly spicy. I think it would have been hopelessly bland without the mushrooms and sausage, together they really added a touch of heat and the extra savoriness that was missing. Is it an authentic paella? To be honest, I don't know that I've ever had one! But for a one pot meal, it was a pretty good thing.


  1. A good way to bypass the rice issue is to par cook the rice separately until it is about half cooked, Spread it out on a cookie sheet to allow it to stop cooking, cool down and dry off slightly before adding it into the dish. I often have to do this when I use wild or brown rice in a crazy jambalaya dish I make. Using wild or brown rice adds more taste and texture, but does add cooking time if not par cooked. This dish sounds great, by the way...can't wait to try it!

  2. Great tip Tony! I'll try doing it that way next time.