Vegan Paella Recipe | Spanish Rice Stir-fry (2024)

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This easy vegan version of the popular Spanish Paella recipe is bursting with spices, filled with stunning colors, and is mouthwateringly fragrant! It is a meat-less and fish-free one-pan dish that captures all the comforting, robust, and warm flavors of the traditional Valencian rice dish.

Vegan Paella Recipe | Spanish Rice Stir-fry (2)

Easy Vegan Paella Recipe

If you are looking for a dish designed for feeding a crowd but can be made in just 30 minutes, then you are in for a treat! Make this delicious vegan Paella for your family and friends and watch as everyone – vegan, vegetarian or not – scramble for a heaping of this Spanish dish on their plates. It is made of tender, fluffy rice and veggies coated with aromatic and earthy spices made more substantial with artichoke hearts and crispy tofu cubes.

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What is Paella?

Traditional Paella originated from Valencia. It is a rice-based dish intensely flavored with different herbs and spices then simmered in broth until they are nice and tender. It is usually made with meat, sausages, fish and seafood. In this version, I used tofu seasoned with turmeric and tamari sauce as plant-based protein source. In addition, the leeks, artichoke hearts, and Kalamata olives make it super flavorful, satisfying and belly-filling too.

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What you need to make a Vegan Paella

  • Paella Rice: if you want to make your dish as authentic as possible, use high quality Bomba Rice, or Arroz Bomba as the locals call it. This type of rice is ideal for the dish because it absorbs way better than other types of rice without getting mushy or sticky. This means you will have a super flavorful yet fluffy dish. The nearest type of rice with almost the same superior quality is Calasparra rice. These may not be as easy to purchase as other rice types, but they are available to order online.
  • Sofrito: this is the term for the typical sauce base when cooking Spanish dishes. It is a mixture of tomatoes, olive oil, onions, garlic, and bell peppers.
  • Other Veggies: I used leeks, peas, artichoke hearts, and Kalamata olives. However, you can add other veggies as you please.
  • Tofu: for other plant protein options, you can also use meaty mushrooms, seitan, or tempeh.
  • Liquids: vegetable broth and white wine. I deglazed the pan with white wine to release the caramelized bits stuck on the pan after sautéing. This will ensure every bit of flavor goes into the dish! If you do not want to use wine, you can use more broth to deglaze the pan instead.
  • Spices and Seasonings: This recipe calls for paprika powder, turmeric, saffron powder, tamari sauce, salt, and pepper. These warm, peppery and sweet spices also give the signature golden color of the dish.
  • Garnishes: I use parsley, lemon slices, and sesame seeds but feel free to use your favorites!

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How to make Vegan Paella

As always, I recommend checking out therecipe video and this step-by-step instruction first. Then you can find the full recipe with exact measurements in the recipe card below!

Step 1: Sauté the veggies and cook the paella

Start by sautéing the onions and garlic for 1-2 minutes.Then add leeks, bell peppers and rice and cook for further 2-3 minutes. Next, add spices and rice and sauté for a few seconds. Then deglaze with the white wine and let it cook for 1 minute.Now add the vegetable broth and the tomatoes, and let it simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, stirring occasionally.

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Step 2: Make crispy tofu

Meanwhile, press the tofu dry, cut into small cubes and fry in the remaining oil for about 3 minutes on all sides. Then season with a bit of turmeric and deglaze with Tamari sauce. Stir a few times until the tofu is golden brown and crispy.

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Step 3: Assemble and serve!

Finally, add the tofu, peas, artichoke hearts and olives into the paella. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with lemon sliced and fresh parsley. Cover the paella and let it rest for another 5 minutes to allow the flavors to develop. Done!

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What pan to use?

Any paella-loving person may already have a paella pan in their kitchen. Yes, this dish has its own pan! It deliberately has a wide and flat bottom so that rice touches the hot surface as much as possible. This helps creates a crunchy, golden crust at the bottom called Socarrat, the most favored part of the dish! However, if you do not have one, but want to try this dish out, you can use any flat-bottomed wide pan preferably a non-stick type.

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How to store leftovers

Leftover vegan paella can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days making it perfect for meal prepping. Make sure to place it in a sealed container to keep it as fresh and moist as possible. Reheat using either a microwave or a stovetop. You may need adding a little water or veggie broth.

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You will love this Vegan Paella because it is:

  • A quick and easy one-pan dish
  • Highly customizable
  • Gluten-free
  • Flavorful
  • Fragrant
  • Healthy
  • Comforting
  • Seriously filling
  • Great for sharing with family and friends!
  • Ideal for potlucks and parties
  • Perfect for lunch oder dinner!

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More easy vegan recipes with rice to try

  • Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
  • Yaki Onigiri (Crispy Rice Balls)
  • Japanese Tofu Katsu
  • Chinese Eggplant with Chili Garlic Sauce
  • General Tso’s Tofu with Sweet-Sour Sauce
  • Vegan Chili sin Carne
  • Crispy Sesame Tofu with Tahini Peanut Sauce
  • Vegan Sushi
  • Korean Bibimbap with crispy Tofu
  • Kimchi Fried Rice
  • Creamy Mushroom Risotto
  • Vegan Tomato Risotto

If you try this easy vegan Spanish paella recipe, feel free to leave a comment and a star rating! And if you take a picture of your Spanish rice dish and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Enjoy!


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Vegan Spanish Paella

Author: Bianca Zapatka

This easy vegan version of the popular Spanish Paella recipe is bursting with spices, filled with stunning colors, and is mouthwateringly fragrant! It is a meat-less and fish-free one-pan dish that captures all the comforting, robust, and warm flavors of the traditional Valencian rice dish.

5 von 1 Bewertung

Prep Time 5 minutes mins

Cook Time 25 minutes mins

Course Lunch & Dinner, Main Course, Side Dish

Cuisine Spanish

Servings 4 Servings

Calories 369.3 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small stick leek
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 7 oz paella rice
  • ½ cup (120 ml) vegan white wine or more vegetable broth
  • 1 ½ cups (360 ml) vegetable broth
  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • 7 oz (200 g) tofu
  • 1 cup (150 g) peas
  • 1 jar (165 g) artichoke hearts 5.8 oz drained weight
  • 10 Kalamata olives

Spices

To garnish

  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 organic lemon sliced or quartered
  • sesame seeds optional

Instructions

*Note: Check out the recipe video + step-by-step instructions in the blog post above!

  • Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and sauté the onions and garlic for 1-2 minutes.

  • Now add the leeks, bell peppers and rice and cook for further 2-3 minutes. Then add saffron, 1 tsp turmeric and paprika powder and sauté for a few seconds. Then deglaze with the white wine and let it cook for 1 minute.

  • Now add the vegetable broth and the tomatoes, cover the pan with a lid and let everything simmer for about 20 minutes until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, stirring occasionally.

  • Meanwhile, press the tofu dry, cut into small cubes and fry in the remaining oil for about 3 minutes on all sides. Then season with the remaining ½ tsp turmeric and deglaze with the tamari sauce. Stir a few times until the tofu is golden brown and crispy.

  • Then stir the tofu, peas, artichoke hearts and olives into the paella. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with lemon sliced and fresh parsley. Cover the paella and let it rest for another 5 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.

  • Finally, sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired and serve. Enjoy your meal!

Notes

  • Please read my blog post for more information about ingredients, storing, freezing, and helpful tips!

Nutritions

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 369.3kcal | Carbohydrates: 60.6g | Protein: 12.3g | Fat: 6.7g | Saturated Fat: 0.9g | Sodium: 550.9mg | Potassium: 524.6mg | Fiber: 7.8g | Sugar: 7.3g | Vitamin A: 2235.2IU | Vitamin C: 73.8mg | Calcium: 126.3mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition is calculated automatically and should be used as estimate.

Did you make this recipe?Mention @biancazapatka or tag #biancazapatka!

IF YOU HAVE PINTEREST, YOU CAN FIND ME HERE AND PIN THE FOLLOWING PICTURE, IF YOU LIKE! 🙂

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Vegan Paella Recipe | Spanish Rice Stir-fry (2024)

FAQs

What is the secret ingredient in paella? ›

Sofrito. Sofrito is a flavorful mixture of onions, garlic, tomatoes, and peppers that is used as a base for many Spanish and Latin American dishes, including paella. It's often called the "secret ingredient" in paella, as it adds a depth of flavor and richness to the dish.

What is the secret to a good paella? ›

The broth, together with saffron and sofrito, a mix of olive oil, tomato, garlic, and paprika, are responsible for the paella's flavor. Lledo says that a cook should not overload the paella with ingredients, either meat or vegetables. He says limiting ingredients and letting each element of the dish shine is key.

What kind of rice is best for paella? ›

Bomba is the best rice for paella. It's not only authentic to the dish, but the results are almost always perfect. Calasparra rice is an excellent substitute if you can't get your hands on bomba rice. Arborio Rice can work if you can't get bomba or Calasparra.

What is the ratio of rice to liquid for paella? ›

Perfect Paella Proportions

The average proportion of rice to broth for paella is approximately 1 part rice to 3.5 parts liquid and we would suggest that you use 80-100 grams of rice per person (that's about ½ cup uncooked rice).

What is the most important spice in paella? ›

Saffron is the most precious spice in the world and also a star ingredient in most paella dishes. Make the most of your paella night by using a high quality saffron.

What is the best broth for paella? ›

Water is actually the most-often-used liquid in “authentic” paella, but stock is in many cases better. Chicken stock is all-purpose, and a not-too-strong meat stock will work nicely, too. Fish stock is fine as long as you're including fish, and a quickly made shrimp-shell stock might be your best alternative.

What can you not put in paella? ›

What Can You Not Put in Paella? Real paella does not include many ingredients that go into other rice dishes. Some of these include onions, peas, mushrooms, carrots, and chorizo. While all good combinations with rice, these aren't part of the traditional paella recipes.

Should paella have onions? ›

The traditional paella does not include onion,” he says. “Recipes that do are not strictly paella, but described as rice dishes or arroces.” So there you have it; they don't mind about arses in Spain, but don't mess with their arroces.

Why do you not put onions in paella? ›

You should have noticed their 10 essential ingredients do not include onions. That's because the vast majority of Valencians agree that onions do not go into a Valencian paella. Valencians say onions make the rice go soft.

Can I use normal rice instead of paella rice? ›

Best substitute for paella rice is risotto rice (arborio rice) which has similar characteristics ie. ability to absorb lots of liquid, except risotto goes creamy if you stir it. The next best is medium grain rice – the same rice I use for rice pudding.

Is jasmine rice ok for paella? ›

What Kind Of Rice Do You Use To Make Paella? We love using medium grain or jasmine rice. You can also use Spanish rice if you can find it. The short, round grains are perfect for Paella and absorb liquid really well, which makes it the ideal rice for Paella.

Should paella rice be dry or wet? ›

Paella is a dry rice, and onions are a “wet” vegetable that adds unnecessary moistness to the dish (not to mention flavor). You don't want rice grains that are “open”, over-cooked. When this happens, we say that the arroz “se ha pasado,” is passed, and you better toss it. You don't want this to happen!

What happens if you put too much liquid in paella? ›

We'll be the first to tell you that not everyone can whip up a perfect paella. The liquid to rice ratio is one of the trickiest parts of creating the socarrat. Too much liquid can overcook the rice into mush; not enough liquid will leave the rice undercooked on the inside and burnt on the outside.

Can I use sushi rice for paella? ›

Two essentials. Short-grain rice is obviously essential for paella – preferably Spanish bomba (often sold under the geographic indication Calasparra), but Herráiz claims Italian risotto or Japanese sushi rice are also suitable.

Why is my paella rice still hard? ›

Once you have your water and rice ratios down, you need to cook the rice for the appropriate amount of time at the right temperature. If the heat is too high, the water evaporates before the rice has a chance to fully cook. If you don't add enough water, the rice ends up dry and crunchy.

Why is there no chorizo in paella? ›

'Adding chorizo to a paella should be an offence!'

The rich dish, which hails from the Valencia region, traditionally includes meat, fish, shellfish and vegetables - but not chorizo, and the inclusion of the Spanish sausage saw Oliver bearing the brunt of much outrage.

What is the main flavour of paella? ›

Paella can offer flavor of sea, land and hearty vegetables. It is bursting in flavor and that is why I love this colourful dish so much. Paella is often made from rice, seafood like shrimps, mussels, calamari, chicken and I added also mergues sausages as one of my friend suggested to me.

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