Mains

Easy One-Pan Vegetable Paella

I first came across paella at a Christmas market, steaming away in the largest pans I’d ever seen. Since my husband is a huge fan of seafood paella, I was inspired to give it a go. The ‘throw it all in’ approach means it’s about as easy as cooking gets. This is paella de verduras (vegetable paella)
– with a taste of the ocean!

Recipe

Paella de Verduras

Portion: 2-4

Ingredients: 

  • 3/4 cup short-grain brown rice + 1/4 cup wild rice

  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 onion
  • 1 fennel
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cups veg stock
  • 5 artichoke hearts – cut in half

  • 20g capers in brine

  • Small handful of dried or fresh seaweed blend

  • Parsley to top
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar 
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (smoked is traditional)

  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

  • Black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Add your rice to a large pan (no water at this point and the larger the surface area of the pan the better).

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  2. Prepare your broth ingredients – 2 cups water, 2 tbsp brine, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, powdered vegetable stock or stock pot and spices, save black pepper (1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/4 tsp cayenne) – and add these to the pan.

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  3. Wash and dice your tomatoes and finely chop the garlic and set aside for later.

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  4. Fish 5 artichoke hearts out of the jar (wash off any oil) and cut these in half, lengthways.

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  5. Get your capers ready and rinse your seaweed using a sieve.

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  6. OK, so now you have your paella veg ready, add these to the pan (tomatoes, artichoke hearts, capers and seaweed – not the garlic) and give the pan a shake to settle the rice evenly and then bring to the boil on medium-high heat. Continue to simmer.

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  7. Set your oven to 180 degrees or gas mark 5.

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  8. Wash the fennel and cut off the tough end. Following this same line, continue to cut it into thin strips (these pieces will look like thin moons). Put the fennel pieces on a baking tray, no oil, top with lots of black pepper and place in the oven for 10-15 mins.

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  9. Dice the onion and sauté in a small pan with the finely chopped garlic from earlier. I just use a little dash of water in the hot pan to cook rather than oil.

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  10. Once the rice is cooked, mix in the fennel, onion and garlic and top with chopped parsely.

     

    Storing: Rice doesn’t store well so best to eat immediately.

Serving suggestion: I like to add some fresh mixed salad greens with a drizzle of honey & mustard dressing.

Health Notes

Steam-frying Vs. Sauteing

Smoking an oil when sauteing can create harmful free radicals in the body so when cooking with oil, I use an oil with a high smoke point, meaning the oil can withstand high temperatures well. Or, I just use a little water and steam fry instead.

Garlic

With most foods, you want to eat as soon as you’ve cut into them. As oxidation begins to occur and so the food begins to degrade.

Garlic, however, is different. After you’ve cut into a garlic clove, it is best to let it sit for 5-10 minutes before eating or cooking to allow the super-compound allicin
to form – which is responsible for many of garlic health benefits.

 

Seaweed

Seaweed is incredibly rich in nutrients, though I take care with sourcing it. I don’t purchase my seaweed from Japan due to the radiation levels occurring after the Fukushima radiation leak in 2011. I purchase more locally from Scotland or Ireland.

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