Archive for May, 2009

Vegetable Paella

After college, I went on a trip to Europe with two good friends.  The first day we were in Spain, we ate at this adorable hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Madrid and one of my friends ordered paella. She took one bite and hated it; too “fishy”. Although I’ve been vegetarian for several years, I still eat seafood on occasion – especially if it’s good seafood. So we traded and I ate her paella dish. DE-LICIOUS! I bought a paella magnet as we were leaving Spain (much like the one below), and it stares at me from the fridge.

paella magnet,valencia

I finally worked out a vegetarian paella recipe (my husband doesn’t “cheat” with seafood). It’s simple and delicious; it takes a bit of time to make (I’d budget 1 hr total), and feeds 4 with no seconds.


  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 package of “Gimme Lean Sausage Style” (comes in a tube-like roll); here is a photo
  • 1 yellow onion; diced
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 carrots; approx 12 baby carrots (chopped into 1/8″ thick rounds)
  • 2 tomatoes; chopped (or you can use a can of chopped tomatoes)
  • 2 cups brown rice (I used the Mahatma brand)
  • 32 oz Vegetable Stock (I used the Swanson brand; 32 oz is one entire container)
  • 10 threads of saffron
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon; cut into wedges


  1. In a large, deep pan (or paella pan), add olive oil over medium heat. Cut Gimme Lean sausage package in half and use your fingers (or a spoon) to scoop out quarter-sized pieces of “meat” from the package. Saute them in the oil until they are just starting to brown.
  2. Add diced onion and garlic to the pan and continue to saute until onion and “meat” are golden brown.
  3. Add the chopped carrots and tomatoes, then add 3 cups of vegetable stock, the 2 cups of rice, and the saffron. Stir, cover, turn heat to low and simmer until rice is only slightly crunchy (approx 20-30 min); stir occasionally.  Add more broth as needed.
  4. Once the rice is almost cooked (just slightly crunchy), add the peas, the rest of the broth (if there’s any left), and 1 cup of water. Stir, cover, and let simmer until the rice is completely cooked (approx 10 min).
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!

NOTE: Thyme and bay leaves would go nicely with this dish; feel free to add these while the rice is cooking if you have them around. Also feel free to add additional veggies – lima beans, green beans, bell peppers, etc would work well.

Let me know how your dish turns out!


Springtime Supper

broccoli-carrots(Credit: iStockphoto/Albert Lozano)

Springtime is here and even though the carrots and broccoli in my veggie garden aren’t ready, I’ve been craving a light primavera-ish pasta dish for some time now. I’m trying to eat produce from my garden as much as possible this year, but really, who can wait?  Last night, I caved and bought some at the local grocery store. It turned out deliciously! Here’s the recipe:


  • Olive oil – Extra Virgin
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 carrots (full size), or 10 baby carrots
  • 2 broccoli crowns
  • 1 lb penne pasta (or whatever kind you enjoy)
  • 2 tbsp capers (or to taste)


  1. Begin boiling water for pasta. Cook (al dente) in parallel with the veggie preparation below. When finished, drain the pasta and add back to the pot.
  2. Chop carrots short-wise into rounds. When the pieces get to be larger than a nickle, cut them in half as well. They should be fairly thin slices, approximately 1/8″.
  3. Place the carrots in a steamer; I use the steaming cage at the bottom of a deep pot. Steam under low heat until tender (approx 10 min).
  4. Transfer the steamed carrots into a deep bowl. Add approximately 6 tablespoons of olive oil (this will seem like a lot), and the juice from half of the lemon into the bowl. Mix well.
  5. Steam the broccoli, again on low heat, until tender (not mushy!), approx 6 min.
  6. Add the steamed broccoli to the bowl with the carrots and mix with the carrots.
  7. Combine the marinated veggies into pot of pasta. Add an extra 2 – 3 tbsp of olive oil if needed, to coat everything in a light layer of olive oil. Squeeze the remaining lemon half into the pot. Add the capers (to taste).
  8. Enjoy!

Note: You may want to add a bit of salt here, as well. I find that the capers add the amount of saltyness that I prefer, so I don’t add any.

I paired this with a light pinot grigio (not that I’m a wine expert) and it was delicious!


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I love hearing from my readers! Feel free to contact me via comments or at this address:

rambleonrosemary [at] gmail [dot] com

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May 2009
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