It’s Paella Time Again….My Way

vegetable paella This is not the first time I’ve made and posted a vegetable paella here, I think it’s been about a year and a half since I made my  first one, but I just love making them because you can be as creative as you want with all sorts of vegetables, especially what is currently in season right now.

The rice is your blank canvas, so everything you place on top of it just makes the whole dish come alive!

vegetable paella ingredients This was not a planned recipe what so ever, these were the actual veggies that I had in my fridge the other day, so before they went bad I decided to roast them all, which I do quite often.

Roasting vegetables dramatically enhance their flavor, It’s a simple method where the vegetables are tossed in olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper then placed in a 425 degree oven and roasted until nicely golden and tender.

I usually have a few rimmed baking sheets going at the same time because I like to roast the vegetables individually according to their kind instead of mixing them all together. As you can see I had quite a variety!

I used red pepper, broccolini, yellow squash, zucchini, leeks, butternut squash, baby thin carrots, fennel, yellow and white cauliflower and those cute little enoki mushrooms. I also added roasted cherry tomatoes and a sprinkling of frozen peas.

The point is you can make it your own with whatever vegetables you have on hand, don’t be afraid, anything will work. The more color the better, just play around with it and have fun, and besides, eating more color brings many health benefits to us, and that’s a good thing!

vegetable paella  The instructions for paella and starting the rice can be found here in my previous post, just change out the veggies and make it your own, of course mine is not so traditional but made with an Italian flare.

It’s a one pan meal you can pull together during the week,( especially if you roast your vegetables ahead of time) or special enough to serve to your guests at a dinner  party. Any leftovers you might have taste equally as good the next day!

roasted vegetable soup with chicken and beans I guarantee you’ll have extra roasted veggies left over so why not make a hearty minestrone with them like I did.  I mixed homemade broth with a good boxed broth, simmered it for a while with a few parmesan rinds ( or grated cheese) that I always keep in my freezer plus a can of cannellini beans, some kale, leftover chicken if you have it and cooked pasta if you like.  When the broth is nice and cheesy  place some of those leftover veggies into a bowl and ladle the broth right on top. So good, and so good for you!



Vegetable Paella, Italian Style

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