Paella is deemed the national dish of Spain but it is actually a Regional Valencian rice dish with its ancient roots originating in its modern form in the mid-19th century near Albufera lagoon on the east coast of Spain adjacent to the city of Valencia. Usually made with sea food, this is my own vegan adaptation using vegetables.
It is a hearty warming meal best enjoyed by the whole family or a group of friends!
There is patience involved in the preparation but as they say all good things come to those who wait.
I served my vegan paella with some cooling chunky cucumber and avocado salad with a lush peanut sauce.
Vegan Paella :
2 cups of paella rice
2 spring onion bulbs chopped finely
1 cup each of the following veg:
Cooked Artichoke hearts (Aldi do a fab jarred artichokes!)
3 Chopped Sweet peppers (yellow, orange and red)
Chopped green beans
Sliced baby tomatoes
1/2 cup of edamame
1/3 cup of chopped fresh parsley
Vegan veg stock
2 teaspoons of tomato purée
1 teaspoon of Paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
2 spoons of olive oil
1 litre of water (approx)
For the cucumber and avocado salad:
Large bunch of spinach
Large bunch of fresh rocket
1 avocado – diced
For the Peanut sauce:
1 large spoon of soft creamy organic peanut butter
1 spoon or tomato paste
2 spoons of tamari sauce
1 spoon of sesame seeds
1/2 cup of warm water
Boil the stock and 2 spoons of tomato purée in a medium saucepan with the water and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and maintain a simmer.
Heat paella pan or a large deep pan with 1½ tablespoons Olive Oil. Then add the chopped spring onion and sautee for 2 minutes, as they start to brown add in the sweet peppers and continue to saute till softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushroom and sautee for 5 minutes.
Increase heat to medium-high. Add In the paella rice, chopped tomatoes and paprika and cook, stirring, for a minute until well mixed through.
Reduce and add one-third of the stock and stir. Let the rice simmer uncovered for 5 minutes until liquid is almost absorbed. Add in the Mangetout, Green beans and Endamame. And now add the next third of the stock and cook for 5 minutes uncovered or until almost absorbed. Add remaining third of stock and cook for 5-10 minutes uncovered.
It is a slow process but necessary when cooking paella rice.
Spread the surface of paella with aubergine and artichoke. Cover entire pan and leave to cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes until all liquid had been absorbed. Then turn heat off but leave the paella pan covered for another 10 minutes.
For the salad chop the cucumber, avocado and mix with the rocket and spinach then mix in the ingredients of the sauce separately until it become a nice dense liquid and dollop over salad. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.