Vegetable Paella, Italian Style

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I have a 14″ paella pan that I got from HSN many years ago, it was a Todd English pan, I think he makes a different one now but you can still get it. You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve used that pan, I’ve made so many things in it. I love it for frittatas, they come out perfect in it and you can feed a ton of people. You can use it on top of the stove, in the oven or under the broiler. When ever I need to bring a big side dish somewhere I often use my 14″ paella pan. I recently made a huge primavera pasta pie in it, which I’ll post about in the near future. I think I’ve only used it once to make an actual traditional paella, saffron and all, with chicken, seafood and sausage.

By now all my regular readers know the”veggie issues” that I have, and since I needed to bring a side dish to someones house recently I decided to make a  vegetable paella with an Italian twist. I’m here to tell you it was a big hit!

I’ve always been attracted by the way paella looks, pinwheels of color all in one pan, it’s very impressive looking when it gets placed  on the table!

With small amounts of veggies and a little bit of rice you could recreate this for your next party, serving it as a side or a main course.

There is no saffron here in my version, instead I infused the rice with roasted red pepper puree which gave it my little Italian twist.

Hope you like it!

vegetable paella

Vegetable Paella, Italian Style
  • 1½ cups of short grain arborio rice
  • 4 cups of warmed chicken or veggie stock
  • 1 cup of roasted red pepper puree made from 4 peppers, blistered, peeled and cored and placed into a food processor until pureed.
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 each, red, yellow and orange bell pepper cut in strips
  • 8oz. crimini mushroom caps
  • 1 bag frozen artichoke hearts
  • a handful of haricot vert beans
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion
  • olive oil
  • grated romano or parmesan cheese
  • chopped basil for garnish
  1. 14" paella pan or a wide skillet, if smaller just adjust rice by 1 cup
  2. Roast the eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, artichokes and the peppers ahead of time, and set aside. 400F drizzled with olive oil.
  3. Purchase or make your own red pepper puree, have that ready made also
  4. Drizzle the bottom of the pan with olive oil, saute the garlic and onions until light golden, add rice and stir until coated then add in ½ cup of the roasted red pepper puree and stir until mixed through.
  5. Smooth rice until it is flat all over the bottom of the pan, then gently pour in the heated broth being careful not to move the rice, sprinkle with a generous helping of grated cheese, a little salt and black pepper.
  6. Arrange all your veggies on top of the rice and broth in the order that you would like, sprinkle with more grated cheese.
  7. Let it cook med low until moisture starts to disappear then cover with foil until rice is tender, mine took about 40 minutes, you might have to add a little more broth just keep checking. Dot some of the remaining pepper puree all around for added flavor.
  8. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and a drizzle of olive oil
  9. Note: You might have a few extra veggies left over after you fill the pan
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  1. This looks wonderful. I want to take it to a friend’s house. How did you go about reheating it? Did you refrigerate it and reheat on the stovetop or in the oven? Or did you transport it hot? Thanks!

  2. Hi Marie – well I was searching your recipes to see what we will be having for dinner tomorrow and I found this fantastic recipe I will be making it for dinner tomorrow, we love, love, veggies and living in California we have the best veggies all year round – we had one of your eggplant recipes today served it with brown rice and advocado slices on the side – it was sooooooo delicious and healthy – the chicken cacciatore recipe is , well let’s say we licked the pan clean and that dish is still being talked about at our dinner table, I have a feeling I will be making that dish over and over and never get tired of it I can’t find the words to describe the heavenly taste of that dish – well Marie I have gotten to be quite the gourmet cook and I owe it all to THE PROUD ITALIAN COOK – have printed this recipe and I will be going to the market to get all the fixin’s – talk to you soon

    • Annette, you are too kind! Thank you for your sweet comments, I would love to have access to all your beautiful veggies available in California. Enjoy, and let me know how it turns out.

  3. Jody Gittleman says

    What a show-stopper! This is gorgeous. A few questions: Eggplant — did you cut it in chunks before reoasting? Also, did you leave the peel on? I didn’t see any in the picture. Also, what are the dark circles in the middle of the picture — are those your roasted mushroom caps? Thanks.

    • Yes Jody, I cut the eggplant into chunks and then roasted it. When I cut my eggplant I always do it zebra style, leaving some of the peel on and some off, and yes those are mushroom caps in the middle. Hope this helps

  4. I’ve been looking for a good vegetarian Paella for a long time. This looks amazing! Pinned it and can’t wait to try it! Found you on Pinterest!

  5. I found you on pinterest looking for new meal idea. I love your site! The colors in your photos are amazing. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  6. Marie Gennaro says

    Very pretty. LOVE the colors. I want to try this for sure. I am an artist, color is everything! If it’s not colorful, I don’t desire to taste it. Very nice.

  7. I am so happy I found your blog some months ago, and this recipe in particular. I tweak and change a few things around of course depending on my mood, but the premise of your vegetable paella is simply fantastic.

    I plan on making it again tomorrow, which I think might be the third or fourth time! It has been a big hit with my girlfriend and it’s fun to create it.

  8. Made this tonight with the veggies I had on hand – eggplant, squash, zucchini, beans and tomatoes- yum, yum, yummy! My husband is one his third helping. Can’t wait to make it again with your list of veggies.

  9. So I made this with the “eat to live ” theme, which means no oil but it was super simple and still delish! I sautéed the onions and garlic separately added artichokes. Cooked half rice but added quinoa and toasted pine nuts. I think some kalamata olives would also be good. Spooned cooked rice mixture with red pepper sauce into two pie pans and layer the veggies like you did. Broiled for a few minutes to melt the ridiculously small amount of cheese. It was so good! I may try adding some type of bean into the rice. Thank you for the inspiration!

  10. All I have to say about this recipe is Yummers!

  11. Betsy Bell says

    A wonderful dish. Perfect in every way. Just yummy, everyone loved it. Pretty to present and great taste!

  12. What a gorgeously colourful dish!

  13. One more thing, is this something that I can make ahead and then keep warm?

  14. Hi Marie, as always, I love this recipe! I’me hosting my sisters in law for a luncheon and thought immediately to pursue your site for ideas. Do you think this recipe is enough as a may lunch course for 8 women? I’m thinking warm crusty Italian bread and maybe grilled sausage and of course, good wine. Thanks for your reply.

    • Robin you might want to add maybe 1/2 cup or so more rice for 8 women, don’t forget to adjust the liquid, but your menu sounds terrific, can I come? Oh and yes, you can make it earlier in the day and then just warm it in the oven, not too hot, just until warm to the touch. Enjoy!

  15. Pauline Reed says

    This looks delicious! I love the pin wheel design you created with the vegetables. It makes it look even more appetizing and healthy. The red pepper puree you added is a brilliant idea that I would not have thought of.

  16. Wow… looks delicious!!!

  17. I made this tonight for dinner. I didn’t have a paella pan or rice, so I had to use my Dutch oven and quinoa. I waited until the quinoa had somewhat absorbed the stock before putting the roasted vegetables on top and lightly broiled it at the end to melt the cheese. Even with the few changes that I made, it was absolutely delicious! My 7- and 9-year-old gobbled it up, as did my husband and I. Even though it’s a bit time-consuming it was worth the extra steps. I will definitely be making it again.

  18. Wow, this looks spectacular. From one vegetable lover to another, magnificent! Can’t wait to try it.

  19. I need sunglasses to view this post Marie! What brilliance!
    Why don’t I own a paella pan? Hmmm…

  20. Love this! So beautiful and full of deliciousness. It’s a keeper!

  21. Looks beautiful. I never was much of a veggie eater until I hit 50, now I prefer veggies over meat. This will do nicely for a main dish and will feed me for a week and what fun to take to parties as a side. Thanks for all of your great recipes.

  22. Snowstorm coming this weekend. Must make this.

  23. The photo of this is so incredibly beautiful, I will have to try it too! Thanks for sharing such a lovely dish.

  24. Marie, this looks so beautiful!! The colors are gorgeous!! And, if you use the veggie stock, it’s such a great dinner for your vegetarian guests! Like the Italian twist too….of course!

  25. This is a work of art!! Beautiful and so healthy. Love it I’m going to try this for sure!

  26. This not only sounds good, but looks good too. I try not to impulse buy, but would be very tempted if I came across a paella pan right now. Will try this very soon.Thanks.

  27. Ciaochowlinda says

    What’s not to like, er, love? It ‘s a riot of flavor and color and the red pepper pureé is inspired.

  28. This looks magnificent!! Can’t wait to try it….maybe for book club! Thank you so much.

  29. Beautiful, Marie!
    I’m so happy today…my granddaughter was born!

  30. Once again, Marie, you are SO brilliant! I love this – I’m going to take it to my next euchre potluck. It will blow them away!

  31. This sounds amazing. Just got a paella pan a couple months ago at a garage sale. Used it that day and made paella for a friend’s birthday. It was fabulous! Used it only one other time. Like the idea of the Italian veggie paella, will definitely try this.

  32. This is GENIUS!
    Gorgeous too…..the perfect vegetarian entree. I love it! I am copying you.


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