Vegetarian Paella...

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 heaping teaspoon saffron or turmeric

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or 1/4 cup water/veggie broth (for water saute)

  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 1/2 cups green beans or asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 1 lb. (16 oz) tomatoes, seeded and diced or 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes + juice

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

  • 2 – 3 bay leaves

  • 1 1/2 cups short grain rice(Valencia or arborio)

  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

  • 1 can/jar (14 oz) artichoke hearts in water, drained and quartered

  • 1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen, thawed)

  • chopped parsley leaves, to garnish

  • lemon wedges, to serve

INSTRUCTIONS

In a small bowl, add the saffron threads to 3 tablespoons warm water, let set 10 minutes to steep. If using turmeric, skip this step and add turmeric with the other spices.

Heat olive oil/broth over medium heat in a large wide flat-bottomed pan or paella pan (a dutch oven or large pot would also suffice). Add onions and bell peppers, cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, green beans, tomatoes, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes and bay leaves, cook another 3 minutes stirring frequently. For softer veggies, cook another 7 minutes or so, totaling 10 minutes after adding the latter ingredients.

Add in the rice, broth/water, saffron mixture/turmeric and salt. Gently move the vegetables around so the rice falls to the bottom of the pan as much as possible. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium or medium-low and cook at a continuous gentle boil, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Do not stir the rice. If using a large paella pan (15 inches or so) you’ll want to rotate the pan over the burner every so often to help cook the rice evenly. Stay in the kitchen and clean up so you’re right there to adjust the pan when needed. If liquids seem to boil off to quickly, add a little extra warm water/broth.

After 15 minutes of cooking, scatter the peas and artichoke hearts on top. Once 20 minutes is up, turn off heat and cover for 10 minutes with a kitchen towel or other cover of choice. This will allow the rice to absorb any remaining liquid as well as steam the peas and warm the artichoke hearts and any other optional ingredients added as noted below. Once done, lightly fluff the rice and serve. Discard bay leaves before eating.

Serve garnished with chopped parsley. Pairs perfectly with a side of leafy greens and a big squeeze of lemon over top. Enjoy straight from the pan or serve in individual bowls.

Serves 4 generously.