Paella is a Spanish pilaf traditionally made with white rice and seafood. We’ll do away with the seafood here, of course, and since we’re dispensing with tradition, let’s do away with rice as well. Instead, you can have a quick-to-fix, colorful vegan quinoa paella that’s ready in about 30 minutes.
Serve with a simple green salad — mixed greens with tiny orange slices or diced apple and some toasted nuts is a combination that makes a fantastic companion to the paella. If you’d like, you can also add a steamed green vegetable to the plate — asparagus, green beans, or broccoli work well.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bell peppers, any color, cut into short strips 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon turmeric (see Note)
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed in a fine sieve
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups artichoke hearts (see Note)
- 2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
- 2 cups diced ripe tomatoes
- 2 to 3 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large deep skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the garlic and bell peppers. Sauté over medium-low heat until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the broth, turmeric, and quinoa. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the artichoke hearts, peas, tomatoes, scallions, and half of the parsley. Check if the quinoa is completely done; if not, add 1/2 cup water and cook until absorbed. Otherwise, cook just until everything is well heated through, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the quinoa mixture to a large shallow serving container or serve straight from the pan. Either way, sprinkle the remaining parsley over the top and serve at once.
As another departure from tradition, I’ve suggested turmeric rather than the customary saffron. Saffron is harder to obtain and very expensive, but you’re welcome to try it if you have access to it. Use 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons saffron threads, dissolved in a small amount of hot water.
For the artichokes, don't use marinated; use a 14- to 15-ounce can, drained, or a 10-ounce package of frozen artichoke hearts.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 234Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 316mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 10gSugar: 7gProtein: 10g
Recipe adapted from Plant Power by Nava Atlas; photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
IS QUINOA NEW TO YOU?
Quinoa seems like an established staple in the plant-based world, but here, for those who have yet to discover it, are a few basics:
- Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa) is an ancient food indigenous to the South American Andes. It was introduced to the American natural foods market in the 1980s.
- The most common variety of quinoa grain is a kind of yellowish-tan, but red and black varieties are now available as well. They cook up the same way and taste pretty much the same as well; their appeal is mainly visual. Somtimes you can purchase a mix of all three colors.
- Quinoa is considered a superfood for its vitamin and mineral profile. Botanically, it’s more of a seed than a grain.
- You can use it as a bed of grain for vegetable or bean dishes as a change of pace from rice; to stuff winter vegetables, especially hard squashes; to make pilafs; and for delicious tabbouli-style salads like this one.
- Quinoa cooks quickly and easily — use a ratio of liquid to grain of 2 to 1 (like 2 cups water or broth to 1 cup quinoa).