Plant-Based Paella

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking Time: 40-45 mins (*Dependent upon the rice used!)
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, veggie peeler, large frying pan or paella dish, frying spatula, measuring jug, a large sheet of aluminium foil, large pot, large bowl

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and (per serving) is low in added sugar, salt and sat fats!

It feels like the beginning of summer (at least in the SE of England!) has finally arrived and what better way to embrace it than to fill your kitchen with the delicious aromas of Spanish cuisine! …or in this case, our tasty and healthful paella!

Personally we not only love the taste, but the way that this dish is pronounced: “pah/EH/yah”! Even the sound brings a smile to our face! It’s certainly a dish not to feel intimated by; anyone can create this at home!

Paella is a dish that was named after its cooking pan (and not a reference to its ingredients) and began its origin by being prepared and consumed by the workers and labourers of Valencia (a town in Eastern Spain)(¹). It’s now appreciated by many worldwide (for its delicious flavours and minimal preparation- only to name a few!) and has been adapted to suit any diet or budget! We kept the cost of ours to a minimum; the most expensive item was the saffron… but that’s no surprise!

What constitutes an authentic paella is debatable (obviously ours is not!) however, the Spanish are very passionate, especially about good food and that should be respected. Nonetheless, you can’t escape the fact that this is a dish where anything goes… and however you decide to prepare yours, just remember to keep it vibrant, tasty and memorable!  

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

Quick Food Facts:

  • We used brown long grain rice, but traditional paella rice (bomba) will undoubtedly cook much faster! But as we’ve mentioned previously regarding brown rice…”nutritionally speaking it provides longer term energy and greater satiety”!
  • We own an authentic paella pan but it’s unfortunately too big for our current stove top! 😦 If you have the means, this pan can make all the difference to your paella; it helps to create that delicious crust (socarrat) at the bottom of the dish!  
  • Our paella uses a variety of veggies that are now in season; delicious asparagus, carrots, peas and spinach* (*if you decide to follow our lead; we served ours with a bed of it)! 
  • This dish provides you with about 4 portions (per serving) towards your 5-A-Day! #youcanneverhavetoomanyvegetables

 

 

Ingredients

NB: Adjust the water and stock measurements according to the instructions on your rice packet! We didn’t use true wine,; there was no alcohol in it, it was more like an ‘extract’!

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

 Peel and dice the garlic and white onion. Wash, remove the core and then chop the bell pepper into small cubes. Wash, peel, trim the ends and roughly chop the carrot. Wash, remove the stem and halve the tomatoes. Wash and dry half of the quantity of the thyme and parsley; remove the leaves from their stem and finely chop (you’ll prepare the rest later on).

 

 

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large, non-stick frying pan ( or paella dish) over a medium-low heat.

 

 

Add the garlic and onion. Gently fry for 1-2 mins or until softened.

 

 

Add the bell pepper and carrot. Stir to mix. Gently fry for a further 2-3 mins or until softened.

 

Add 125ml wine (if using, or just use more stock instead). Stir through. Allow it to simmer for 1-2 mins or until evaporated.

 

 

Add 250g rice, 320g cooked legumes, 100g peas, 3g thyme and 4g parsley. Stir to combine.

NB: 320g of cooked legumes =about 1.5tins or 160g dried. We cooked a variety overnight and used approx. 180g cooked chickpeas and 140g of cooked red kidney beans.

 

 

Add 350ml stock, 220ml water, 20g tomato purée, saffron (as much as preferred) and 2g smoked paprika. Stir together.

Use as much or as little saffron as your heart and/or wallet desires… (but you definitely don’t need to use more than a pinch)!

 

 

Add the cherry tomatoes. Season it with some salt and a few grinds of black pepper to taste.

 

 

Cover the pan with a lid or a sheet of kitchen foil. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook it for 20-30 mins or until the rice is cooked* (*refer to the packet instructions). Remove from the heat and dispose of the foil.

Tip: Ours took approx 30 mins to cook (and we added a bit more water halfway through); as we’ve mentioned, it’s really dependant on the rice you decide to use! NB:Your rice should be tender but never mushy!

 

 

In the meantime, prepare the rest of the thyme and parsley. Drain and rinse the olives. Wash and trim the tough/bottom ends off of the asparagus. Wash, trim the ends and finely slice the spring onion. Wash the lemon (chop it into wedges or slices!).

 

 

Meanwhile, place a large pot full of cold water over a medium-low heat. Bring to the boil. Add the asparagus. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 3-4 mins or until just tender (where they just begin to bend!). Remove from the heat. Drain. If desired, transfer the cooked spears using a slotted spoon or serving tongs into a large bowl of cool water.

The idea behind this is to help cool the internal core (to prevent them from cooking any further)…helping them to maintain their vibrant green colour as a result! You could use ‘ice water’ but risk serving cold asparagus!

 

 

Now transform your dish!

 

 

 Garnish the paella with the olives, asparagus, lemon and remaining herbs. Serve the paella from the table for the whole family to enjoy!

 

 

 

Transfer the paella into a large serving bowl with any other desired veggies!

We served ours over a bed of spinach!

 

Enjoy!

 

 Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container (ideally within an hour after cooking); reheat and consume within 1-2 days. Alternatively freeze in one or more resealable containers; defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

NB: When reheating, always check to make sure the rice is steaming hot all the way through and do not reheat the rice more than once. 

 

 

If preferred…

    • Feel free to experiment with your perfect vegetable and flavour combination!
    • This is a healthy dish, but want to further reduce the fat content, just use a low-fat frying spray instead of rapeseed (canola) oil.
  • Use your favourite type of rice (but we recommend brown basmati or brown long grain rice!).
  • Try using a different type of legume (a dry or tinned variety), some lentils, or maybe tofu or tempeh instead! If your diet permits, add a fresh medley of fish and/or seafood!

 

History Source:
1. The Paella Company
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Vegan & Gluten Free Asparagus Pesto Pasta

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8
Prep & Cooking Time: 35-45 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, grater, colander, large pot, food processor, silicone spatula, small bowl, measuring jug, mixing bowl and/or resealable container

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, E & K, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, no added sugars and per serving is low in salt and saturated fats!

This pesto offers a nice alternative to other vegan pesto salads that use avocado, spinach or roasted vegetables. It has a lovely, fresh and uniquely satisfying taste, not to mention it’s easy to prepare!  

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++++++++++++++520g    Asparagus
+++++++++++++++++++++++16g       Garlic Clove
+++++++++++++++++++++++1           Lemon (30ml Juice, 1 tsp zest)
+++++++++++++++++++++++25g       Fresh Basil
+++++++++++++++++++++++400g    Fresh Tomatoes (your favourite!)
+++++++++++++++++++++++4g         Ground Almonds
+++++++++++++++++++++++40g      Pine Nuts
+++++++++++++++++++++++520g    GF Fusilli
+++++++++++++++++++++++40ml    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
+++++++++++++++++++++++2g         Dried Onion Powder
+++++++++++++++++++++++             Salt

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Nutritional Info

 

Directions

  • Wash the asparagus; trim and discard the ends.
  • Peel the garlic. Wash the lemon; grate the zest from half of it and then juice it. Wash and dry the basil; discard the stems and save the leaves. Wash, remove the stem and then roughly chop the tomatoes.
  • Meanwhile, place a large, non-stick saucepan full of cold water over a high heat. Bring to the boil. Add the asparagus. Simmer for 3-5 mins, or until tender. Tip: Ours took about 4½ mins to cook, but it’s finding a happy balance. Cook them too long and the tips disintegrate, not long enough and the ends do not blend very well into the pesto. 
  • Remove the asparagus from the pot, but do not empty the water from the pot. Transfer into a colander. Drain. Allow to cool slightly.

 

 

  • Meanwhile, begin preparing the pesto. Whilst the food processor is running, add the garlic through the pouring spout. Blitz into small pieces.
  • Use a spatula and scrape the garlic from the slides and the lid into the base.
  • Add about ¾  of the quantity of the pine nuts and all of the almonds.
  • Blitz until the pine nuts are roughly chopped. Leave the mixture for the moment.

 

In the meantime, bring the saucepan of water back up to a boil. Add the pasta. Cook according to the packet instructions. Reserve some of the cooking liquid from the saucepan (approximately ½ cup) before draining. Tip: We removed some liquid about halfway through the cooking time; save more liquid if you want a really ‘loose pesto’. Drain. Allow to cool slightly.

 

  • Meanwhile, chop the asparagus stalks into halves. Separate the ‘top’ halves from the ‘bottoms’.
  • Chop the bottom halves into small pieces.
  • Chop the top halves into thirds.

 

 

  • Add 1 tsp lemon zest & 2 tbsp juice (or as much zest and juice as desired), basil, about 10 tbsp of the reserved cooking liquid (more if necessary), 40ml oil, about ¾ tsp onion powder and the ‘asparagus bottoms’ into the food processor.
  • Blend until smooth. Season it with some salt to taste. Tip: Your pesto is now complete!
  • Place the pasta into a large mixing bowl or resealable container. Add the pesto. Mix and thoroughly combine. NB: Ours went into this plastic tub (as it was going to be several lunches throughout the week!).
  • Add the tomatoes and asparagus ‘tops’. Mix to combine.
  • Season it with some salt to taste if necessary. Sprinkle over the remaining nuts.

 

 

Serve and enjoy!

NB: This bowl provides 1 portion (based on 8 servings!). This pasta has been refrigerated overnight. If desired, re-freshen your ‘next day’ pasta with a bit of lemon juice, ground black pepper and dried basil.

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; consume within 3-4 days.

 

If preferred…

  • Make the pesto sauce and serve it over gnocchi, spaghetti or in a lasagne instead.
  • If you are not concerned about gluten, give wholemeal or spelt pasta a try!
  • Add some fortified nutritional yeast (with vitamin B12!) to your pesto for a more authentic taste and of course added nutritional value!
  • Try making it with just ground almonds.
  • For an extra creamy pesto sauce (minus the guilty calories!), add some unsweetened soya yoghurt; add the yoghurt to the food processor when processing the final ingredients.
  • Use the pesto sauce as a dip for vegetables or multi-grain pita. If necessary or preferred, just add a little arrowroot powder to thicken it in a blender/food processor first.

 

This recipe was adapted from: fatfreevegan