Looking for a great dish for entertaining? This Grilled Paella recipe is perfect for parties and full of zesty Spanish flavor.
Paella is one of our most special meals. I instantly fell in love with this traditional Spanish dish while studying in Madrid several years ago. Inspired by an interest in Spanish cooking (fueled by both chef José Andrés and this show), we decided to give our own a try a few years ago, and were surprised to meet with great success! Since then, we’ve made a point to have a paella on special occasions, especially in the summer. In fact, I get a little nostalgic thinking about the times I’ve shared them with friends and family. Keep reading for this grilled paella recipe!
Why make paella?
Though we’ve mainly reserved paella for special occasions, we’ve recently realized the concept itself is actually very simple. Throw some veggies in a pan, add some rice and broth, and cook quickly until crispy and delicious! It looks rather fancy and does require a few special ingredients. But if you have the means and interest, it’s totally worth it – and we’ve developed a method that is not overly labor intensive. (We actually made one in about 40 minutes the other night!)
How to make this grilled paella recipe
For this grilled paella recipe, we sprang for a bit of seafood. We occasionally treat ourselves to fish, seafood, or meat on special occasions, and a dinner with new blogger friends seemed like a good excuse. If you can, try to buy quality seafood from a vendor that you trust. You also can skip the seafood altogether, or substitute with some chickpeas or other legume for a vegetarian paella.
Related: Simple Vegetarian Paella
Paella is all about community and enjoying eating together. The method for this grilled paella recipe works for any standard grill. We’ve also tried over the open fire with good results: here’s our Open Fire Seafood Paella. It’s a wonderful option for a summer evening around the grill!
And the ingredient possibilities for grilled paella are endless – try any veggies that are in season, or any type of seafood, chicken, or sausage. Just make sure to sauté the meat a bit longer than the time listed for the seafood below. We also loved the shiitake mushrooms we included in this paella – they soaked up the flavor perfectly!
Saffron is traditionally used in paella, and is the world’s most expensive spice – it’s actually made from the stamens of the crocus flower! The cost might prohibit you from trying it, so feel free to substitute with turmeric as necessary. However, it’s a great gift idea (ours is courtesy of a brilliant idea of Alex’s mom).
Pimentón or smoked paprika is key to the recipe; you can find it at most grocery stores. It’s a version of paprika that’s smoked over a wood fire, and it infuses a smoky nuance to any dish. Here’s more about smoked paprika and more recipes that use it!
If you’re looking for a special way to celebrate summer with loved ones, give our grilled paella recipe a try! Let us know if you do in the comments below.
Related: Try using our Homemade Vegetable Broth for this recipe!
Looking for paella recipes?
If you’re looking for other paella recipes, here’s a few we love that work for different occasions:
- Seafood Paella Recipe on an Open Fire — feeds a crowd!
- Simple Shrimp and Artichoke Paella — perfect for date night.
- Simple Vegetarian Paella — vegetarian for weeknights!
Looking for a great dish for entertaining? This grilled paella recipe is perfect for parties and full of zesty Spanish flavor.
- 15-inch paella pan or any large, shallow, flameproof pan (stainless steel or aluminum preferable)
- 12 mussels or clams
- 12 high-quality deveined shrimp (or substitute cooked chickpeas for a vegetarian version)
- 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms
- 1 zucchini
- 1/2 head cauliflower or any vegetables of your choice
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- 5 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups Arborio (short grain) rice
- 1 pinch saffron (substitute 1 teaspoon turmeric)
- 2 tablespoons pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- Heat a grill to medium high heat.
- Prepare the ingredients: Scrub the mussels or clams; place them in a bowl with the shrimp. Slice the zucchini and mushrooms; chop the cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Add the vegetables to a bowl. Mince the garlic, then add it to a small bowl with the olive oil. In a medium bowl, mix together the tomato puree and broth. In a another bowl, add the Arborio rice, saffron, pimentón, kosher salt, and a good amount of fresh ground pepper.
- Assemble the paella: Bring the bowls of ingredients and the paella pan to the grill. Prior to cooking, add about 15 briquettes to the fire to keep the temperature up. Place the pan on the grill and add the olive oil and garlic; cook for about 30 seconds. Add the vegetables; cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the seafood; cook for about 2 minutes, flipping the shrimp once. Pour in the rice and spices so that they cover the pan. Add the broth and puree mixture and stir to combine.
- Let the paella cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Cook uncovered on a charcoal grill or with the cover down on a gas grill. Make sure not to stir, since this when the magic happens (the crust on the bottom is the most important part of a traditional paella). Also be careful that is does not burn; it cooks fairly quickly.
- After removing from the heat, let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes to cool.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Grilled
- Cuisine: Spanish
Keywords: Paella, Grilling, Grilled Paella Paella, Seafood Paella, Paella de Mariscos, Seafood Paella Recipe, Spanish, Gluten Free
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.