saffron turmeric paella

saffron paella vegan turmeric

Hi friends!  How are you?  How’s your week going?  I hope good.  I’m writing this as the kids are having breakfast and I’m having a cup of coffee.  Usually I don’t drink coffee, it makes me feel jumpy, anxious and sweaty- BUT I love the taste.  Joel was making some this morning and it smelled so good.  So I diluted some in some homemade cashew milk- just a bit, enough to get the taste without the negative effects.  Haha.  That sounds so pathetic when I type it out.  The reality is that my body is super sensitive to everything from my rheumatoid arthritis and it’s a daily balancing act eating so that I don’t get sick again, but I also want to enjoy life and eat some things that make me happy, like todays wateres (milked?) down coffee.  You can hear a little more about my healing story on my episode on Alyssa’s Live Planted podcast HERE.

paella vegan

YES I brought the whole pan with me.  We were running late and the second I put the lid on to let it finish I got the kids in the car, put down the blacker in the trunk, put the whole paella on top and hoped for no turmeric rice to fly all over my trunk.  It arrived intact!  Here are our stainless steel containers: adult one (round) and kids one (rectangle).  They’re great cause when you’re done eating you can snap them back together and put back in your bag with no mess.  Also, they last forever- the kids one we’ve been using since Carmela’s preschool.

ANYWAYS, the paella.  Last night, I made this on IG stories very quickly before I had to head out to the farmer’s market (our community does a concert/dinner/picnic thing there every Wednesday night) and I asked if you wanted the recipe, and got so many, YES! messages.  So here it is.

I’ve never had an authentic paella, so I’m sure it’s not that, especially without meat/seafood, but it’s pretty dang good and quite easy.  If you can make rice, you can make this.  I’ve made it a million times before, it’s based off a recipe from THIS Ottolenghi cookbook (my hands down favorite chef, by the way- his flavors are UNREAL), just streamlined a bit and adapted to what I have/like.  Feel free to add in whatever veggies you want- this just happened to be what I had available to me without plastic.  Especially delicious veggies to include would be: cherry tomatoes, halved, peas, fennel sliced and sautéed with the onions and peppers, or zucchini.  This recipe made enough to serve 3 adults and 2 kids.


just a couple of paella kids.  They loved this.  She did this hand pointing thing first, then when I took his picture he tried to copy it.  Haha.  Big sister love.

saffron and turmeric paella 

4 cups hot broth or water- make sure the broth you use, if you use it, is not too strong, a neutral flavor is best, like the better than bullion not chicken concentrate, or my frozen concentrate.  Most store bought veg stocks have a “muddy” or dull/tinny taste to me…not sure if that makes sense but you don’t want anything competing with the subtle flavors here

a big pinch saffron threads (about a loose teaspoon if I had to guess)

1 onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced crosswise

2 medium bell peppers, thinly sliced (I used 1 red and 1 yellow)

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups uncooked paella or risotto rice (Arborio, Carnoli, Bomba are all good varieties to look for)

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon hot paprika, or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 3/4 teaspoon chili flakes- to your spiciness level or omit if you don’t like spice

1/4 cup white wine or dry sherry (better with sherry but I didn’t have any at the moment)

2 bay leaves (ok to omit)

1/2 a bunch of asparagus, cut into 3/4 inch pieces on the diagonal (smaller if you want them softer)

1 cup artichoke hearts (you can use jarred and drained ones which are super convenient and taste great.  I happened to have baby artichokes prepared earlier in the week that I used a la THIS tutorial)

2 very large handfuls baby spinach

any other veggies you want to add in- make sure they will cook enough with residual heat or that you precook them before adding in.

chickpeas- optional- I meant to add these but totally forgot to.  Omit or add as much as you’d like

olives- I used about a cup of kalamatas

garnishes- we love a lemon wedge and some fresh parsley to finish.


Into the hot water or broth, add the saffron, set it aside to infuse while you proceed.

In a large, wide and deep sauté pan (I used my 3″ deep or so AllClad pan that has a lid), add in the olive oil to heat a bit, then add the onions and garlic.  Cook for 5 minutes or less over medium-high until the onions are a little translucent and slightly turning color.

Add in the bell pepper and continue to stir occasionally, taking care not to burn the garlic, for another 5 minutes or less.

Add in the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat the rice with the oil in the pan and to let it get a bit translucent (see through in places).

Add in the turmeric, smoked paprika, bay leaves, and hot paprika/cayenne/chili if using, and stir constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Pour in the sherry or white wine, stirring until it evaporates.

Pour in your saffron broth/water (add about 1/2 teaspoon salt at this time if you’re using broth, 1 teaspoon if you’re using water), briefly stir just to combine, and bring to a boil.

Turn down the heat to medium low, or whatever heat is needed to produce a steady simmer (not boil- you should see it bubbling but slowly).  Let it cook, without stirring, and without putting a lid on, for 25 minutes.  It’s ok if it starts to look dry towards the end- this facilitates a bottom “crust” known as soccarat.

If you’d like to develop the crunchy bottom even more, after the 25 minutes, turn up the heat to medium high for just a few minutes (optional and I didn’t do this).

Scatter over the asparagus, then the artichoke hearts, then the spinach and turn off the heat.  Cover with the pan’s lid (or tightly with a plate or aluminum foil if you don’t have a lid) and let sit undisturbed for at least ten minutes.  This is crucial!  The residual heat will finish cooking the rice and veggies just enough.

Open up the lid, stir through the veggies to combine, taste and salt as needed, and sprinkle over the olives and chickpeas, if using.  Serve immediately with lemon wedges and parsley.  There is a saying, “people can wait for rice but rice cannot wait for people”- aka, make everyone sit down and enjoy the food as soon as it’s ready.

I hope you guys enjoy this one like we did!  I shared this with a very omnivore friend who really enjoyed it and asked for the recipe, so I’m hoping you’ll love it too.  Tag me on Instagram if you make it- I’d love to see your iteration and variation.  Have a wonderful rest of your week!





4 thoughts on “saffron turmeric paella”

  1. I got everything for this recipe except the white wine/sherry :(. Any substitution or just leave it out?

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