This month, we’re traveling to Spain for Paella, Rioja & Jésus de Galíndez.
While visiting Spain last year, I quickly realized this VERY meat-centric country loves their tapas but most are animal based & I was hard-pressed to find a lot of vegan options. However, once we arrived in Barcelona, we found tucked away in the very back corner of the famous La Boqueria market a stand selling the most delicious vegan paella & wraps.
Once I returned home, I became obsessed with re-creating this popular national dish & I think I’ve come pretty close. One of the things I really like about making paella is that I can use whatever veg I have on hand. I don’t think I’ve made the same recipe twice but for this week’s post, I’m giving you a great starting point to whip up your own Spanish Fiesta! The complete recipe is below.
Start by getting all your ingredients together & chopping the veg.
Use a large frying pan or paella pan & sauté some onion & garlic.
Then add the bell peppers & tomatoes. Only have a green bell pepper on hand? Use that instead. Don’t like tomatoes? Leave ’em out!
Next, add any frozen veg you’re using. I’m using peas this time but you can just as easily use green beans, artichokes or peppers.
Next, I’m adding fresh zucchini & fired roasted artichokes from a jar. You could leave out the zucchini or substitute yellow squash. I like artichoke hearts in oil & always have them on hand, but I’ve used canned ones as well.
Now add the rice. I’m using Basmati rice tonight but any rice will do.
Pour in the broth, add the spices & let it continue to simmer. When the broth is almost absorbed, I added fresh spinach (to up the nutrition factor) & black olives (because I like them!)
When it’s done, I like to throw a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley on top to give it a bit of freshness.
We served it with a Spanish Rioja but it would be just as lovely with an Albarino or Sangria.
After gorging ourselves on paella & wine, Jerome & I turned on our Spanish-themed movie. Now, I have to say at this point I really wanted to watch Vicky Cristina Barcelona but we weren’t able to stream it on Netflix, Amazon or On Demand.
So instead, we settled on an indie/thriller called “The Galíndez File”. Released back in 2003, it’s based on a true story of the mysterious disappearance of Basque Nationalist, Jèsus de Galíndez, & the graduate student, Muriel Colber, who is making him the subject of her dissertation. There are lots of twists & turns as she tries to unravel the mystery of Galíndez’ kidnapping, including a cover-up from the CIA & a trip to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. I’m not gonna lie – the ending is kind of sad – but the movie peaked my interest to find out more about the characters. Some of the movie is in English & some is in Spanish (with English subtitles) and stars Harvey Keitel & Saffron Burrows. It gets 2 thumbs up from us.
Let me know if you make the paella or watch the movie & what you think.
Thanks for reading!
Easy Spanish Paella
This is an easy paella recipe that you can customize with whatever veg you have on hand.
- 2 TB Olive Oil, extra virgin
- 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 Roasted Red Bell Pepper, fresh or jarred
- 1/2 Cup Tomatoes, chopped
- 2 TB Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- 1/2 Cup Grilled Artichoke Hearts, jarred or frozen
- 1/2 Cup Frozen Peas
- 1/2 Cup Zucchini, diced
- 1/2 Cup Black Olives
- 1 Handful Fresh Spinach, chopped
- 1 1/4 Cup White Rice, uncooked
- 4 Cups Vegetable Broth
- 2 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Sweet Paprika
- Pinch Saffron (optional)
- Salt &Pepper to taste
- 1 Handful Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley, chopped (optional)
Heat oil in large frying (or paella) pan over medium heat. Add the onions & garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onion is soft, being careful not to burn the garlic.
Add the bell peppers & tomatoes. Cook for about another 4-5 minutes.
Add the frozen peas (or whatever frozen veg you're using) & cook for about 2 more minutes.
Add the zucchini & artichoke hearts. Stir to just heat through, about a minute.
Add the rice & cook until it begins to be translucent, about 4 minutes.
Slowly pour in the vegetable stock & then add all the spices. Stir the paella until all the ingredients are mixed. Cook uncovered over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
When most of the liquid is absorbed, stir in the spinach & olives. Cook another 5 minutes or until the rice is tender & all the liquid is absorbed.
Turn off the heat & top with parsley, if using. Enjoy!