Vegan paella

Easy vegan paella

28 December 2023

Try our nutritious vegan paella recipe, simple to follow and a great meal to feed the family.

Nutritional highlights

While this dish is light on protein it helps provides us with the energy we need to keep us going, and an abundance of fibre, which helps balance out cholesterol.

One ingredient to note is the garlic, which is packed with a range of nutrients such as manganese and vitamin B6.

Manganese - essential for our bodies and helps our metabolism control our blood sugar levels.

Vitamin B6 - also known as biotin, is used to produce serotonin, which may even help reduce symptoms of depression.

Garlic also supplies us with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients making it great for reducing cancer and heart disease risk.

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Makes 5 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Allergen advice: vegetable stock (wheat and may contain celery)

  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 pepper, cut into strips
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped, minced or crushed
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 300g paella or risotto rice
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp sweet paprika
  • Pepper
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 200g peas


Add vegetable stock to a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat. Break up the saffron and add it to the stock. When it begins to simmer, leave for 1 minute for the saffron to infuse, then lower the heat just to keep it warm.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a 12-inch paella pan (or frying pan) over a medium heat. Once heated, and the onion and pepper.

Sauté until softened and lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes.

Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Now add the tomatoes, smoked paprika, and sweet paprika. Sauté for 1-2 minutes.

Add the rice and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and stir to coat well. Cook for 1 minute to lightly toast the rice and incorporate flavours, moving the contents of the pan around occasionally to prevent sticking.

Add the fresh thyme and slowly pour in stock mix. Do not stir after this point.

Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the stock to a heavy simmer for 1-2 minutes. Now turn the heat down to a mild simmer. You want to see movement in the pan while the stock is cooking down.

Simmer for 15-20 minutes until rice is al dente. Rotate the pan on the burner 1-2 times during cooking for even heat distribution.

Once the stock is nearly cooked off, you'll need to pay close attention to the socarrat forming on the bottom of the pan - this is he golden rice crust that's key to achieving an authentic result!

You'll start to hear a snap, crackle, and pop, and smell a nutty aroma. This should take 1-2 minutes to form.

Stick a fork or spoon straight to the bottom to test there's a crust but don't let it burn (it can take a little practice to get this just right but it's worth it!)

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the peas to the top of the rice. Cover the pan with foil and let the paella rest for 5-8 minutes.

Top with fresh-cut parsley, cracked pepper and lemon wedges to serve.

Top tips/healthy swaps

  • Add your preferred meat substitute to increase the protein content and add some bulk to the meal.
  • To make it gluten-free, swap out the vegetable stock for a gluten free alternative.