With this classic Spanish vegetable paella recipe and step-by-step instructions & tips, you will learn how to cook paella the traditional way we do it in Spain. Picture golden rice soaked in veggie flavor including green beans, capsicums, and tender artichokes. Spanish restaurant quality assured!
- 4-6 garlic cloves diced
- 1 brown onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper cut in medium chunks
- 1 red bell pepper cut in medium chunks
- 1 large handful or green been cut lengthwise through the middle line
- 3 fresh tomatoes grated
- 12 artichokes hearts halved
- 2 cups of bomba rice (see other options for rice in notes)
- 1 tsp of sweet or smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
- 1 tsp of saffron threads
- 5 cups of vegetable broth
- Fresh thyme (optional)
- Salt to taste
- Lemon wedges to serve
- Step 1: cook the veggies. Add a generous drizzle of olive oil to the pan on medium heat. You want to cover most of the bottom of the pan with the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, and salt. Stir to combine and let it cook for approximately 10 minutes until the onion becomes transparent and starts to golden. Add the bell peppers and pinch of salt, stir to combine, and let them cook for another 10 minutes or so until they are soft.
Increase to medium-high heat, and add the grated tomato, salt and paprika. Combine with the veggies and let it cook for 10-15 minutes. The tomato has to reduce considerably, evaporating most of the water.
- Add the green beans, and a pinch of salt and combine. Let them cook for 2-3 minutes, add the artichoke hearts and combine again.
Step 2: Time to cook the rice! Increase to high-heat, pour the vegetable broth, turmeric, and saffron, and stir to combine. Adjust the salt if required.
Once boiling, pour the rice doing a cross shape, and spread it evenly along the pan using the spatula. Add the thyme stems on top of the rice and push slightly down.
- Set the stove to medium heat (it should gently boil uniformly across the pan) and set the timer with the cooking time stated on the rice package. Shake the paella by grabbing the pan handles and doing circular movements, don't mix it with a spatula!!
- Step 3: Socarrat time baby! 2-3 minutes before the time is up, increase to high-heat. The aim of this is to end up with "socarrat" which is the crusty crispy bottom of the paella, which is SO TASTY! This crusty bottom becomes caramelized and toasted, and packs so much flavour. Once the time is up, turn off the heat, and cover with a newspaper or a tea towel for a couple of minutes. See the tip below.
Serve with a wedge of lemon, and make sure to put a bit of the delicious socarrat! Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the rice before eating.
Authentic paella is cooked al dente! My top tip is to follow the cooking time of the rice packet instructions to achieve the perfect texture. The rice should still feel slightly hard when you turn off the heat. It will keep cooking during the 2-3 minutes of resting time.
While the rice cooks, don't mix it with a spatula. The paella pan should be shaken only: grab both handles and shake in circular movements.
I don't recommend freezing this veggie paella.
If you can't find bomba rice, you can totally make this dish with another type of rice! I highly recommend using white rice as opposed to brown rice. And medium grain rice instead of long-grain rice. Arborio rice is a great substitute for bomba rice and is more easily available in grocery stores.
The ideal way to cook a classic paella is in a paella pan, however, I totally understand you might not have one at the moment, so please know you can cook paella in a large frying pan too. You want the layer of rice to be shallow, so the larger the pan the better.
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