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!


2 Responses to “Vegetable Paella”

  1. 1 stina 2009 May 31 at 9:27 pm

    I think I might be able to get mike to eat this one… he did like the fake sausage in the asparagus dish you made. Do you think it would work with jasmine rice?

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rambleonrosemary [at] gmail [dot] com

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May 2009
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