One-Pot Vegan Paella | Seafood Inspired Easy Dinner Recipe
Calling all seafood and former seafood lovers!
This ocean inspired vegan paella is so satisfying and totally whole food plant-based! It’s also one-pot, low-fuss, and full of simple ingredients you are mostly likely to have on hand.
What better way to celebrate the start of spring than with a bright, fresh meal enjoyed alongside most of a bottle of white wine. (You need 1/3 cup for the recipe).
How To Make Vegan Paella:
It’s all about the sofritas and the socarrat. Sofritas is a mixture of onion, tomato, garlic, peppers, and spices, cooked down to a deeply flavorful paella base. Socarrat is the crispy bottom of the paella that forms when cooking. Remember not to stir the rice or the bottom won’t get crispy!
This version delivers classic seafood flavors, minus the seafood: Tender hearts of palm combined with Nature’s Charm marinated banana blossoms and oyster mushroom calamari rings make this vegan paella extra special.
You’re going to love this recipe:
- No paella pan needed: You can use a regular large skillet for this recipe. I used a cast iron skillet but any 12-14″ pan will do, preferably not non-stick.
- One-pot meal: Easy breezy cooking and clean up.
- It’s adaptable: This traditional paella can be adapted many ways! Other versions could combine the banana blossoms and vegan calamari with vegan chicken, and sauteed vegan sausage. For this version, brown the vegan chicken and sausage lightly before adding the rice. A fabulous vegetable paella could include shitake mushrooms, artichoke hearts, olives, and roasted red peppers. A good rule of them for a veggie paella is to saute heartier veggies like mushrooms, asparagus, etc. before adding the rice. More tender veggies like artichoke hearts and hearts of palm can be nestled on top after the rice cooks a bit.
Where to find the marinated banana blossoms and vegan calamari:
- 3 tbsp high quality olive oil
- ½ onion, diced
- ½ red bell pepper, diced
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 Roma tomatoes, very finely diced
- Bay leaf
- 1 tsp paprika smoked
- ½ tsp dulse flakes (optional for added seafood flavor)
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1½ cups Spanish rice or short grain rice
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 3½ - 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cans Nature’s Charm marinated banana blossoms
- 1 can Nature’s Charm calamari
- 2 stalks hearts of palm, cut into 1” rounds
- ½ cup frozen peas
- Lemons and parsley for garnish
- Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell peppers and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Add the chopped tomato, tomato paste, bay leaf, paprika, saffron, dulse, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 5 minutes. Add the white wine and cook for 10 more minutes. Taste and add salt if needed.
- Stir in the calamari rings, parsley and rice into the pot. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.
- Slowly pour the broth all around the pan and jiggle it slightly to get the rice into an even layer. (Do not stir the mixture again.)
- Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Give the pan a gentle shake back and forth just once or twice during cooking. (We don't ever stir the rice, so that a crispy crust forms at the bottom, called a socarrat).
- Cook for about 10-13 minutes (uncovered). Meanwhile, drain the banana blassoms and trim them into smaller pieces. Nestle the banana blossoms and hearts of palm into the mixture.
- Sprinkle the peas on top and continue to cook (without stirring) for about 10 more minutes. Watch for most of the liquid to be absorbed and the rice at the top nearly tender. (If for some reason your rice is still not cooked, add ¼ cup more water or broth and continue cooking).
- Remove pan from heat and cover pan with a lid or tinfoil. Place a kitchen towel over the lid and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon slices. I like to sear the lemon slices in a hot pan for extra oomph.