A perfect romantic date night in, this easy paella recipe with shrimp and artichokes is simply stunning. Here’s how to make this traditional Spanish recipe!
This post was created in partnership with Simply Organic. All opinions are our own.
Show of hands: who loves a good date night in? Much as I love the dress up-dinner-drinks routine, some of Alex and my favorite memories have been nights we’ve spent at home, cooking together. It’s not always pretty: there are shirts splattered with tomato sauce and burnt bread and broken pizza stones…and sometimes a few tears. But there’s something so comforting about pouring a glass of red wine, turning on some tunes and ultimately eating the fruits of your labor. Date night in — it’s a thing. Keep reading for our easy paella recipe, and why you should make it stat.
Related: Open Fire Seafood Paella for a Crowd
Date night in
This Valentine’s Day, we’re bringing you another date night in, a tradition we started in the early years of our blog. Four years ago, it was this easy vegetable paella. I discovered paella (Pie-A-Yah) while I was studying in Spain in college: it’s a traditional Spanish dish of rice, vegetables, and seafood or meat, flavored with exotic spices like smoked paprika and saffron. Paellas are celebratory, many times cooked over an open fire. Some of my favorite memories in Spain are sharing paella with new friends.
How to make this easy paella recipe
We received such positive feedback about the paella date night that we’re bringing it back this year, this time with a twist! As you know, we eat mainly a whole food plant based diet over here. But on celebratory days we splurge with a little seafood or meat. Alex was set on creating an easy paella recipe with shrimp, since it’s traditional for a seafood paella and looks stunning as well. I must say I became a believer: the dish turned out as delicious as it is beautiful.
What makes the dish is the smoked paprika (called pimentón in Spanish); it lends a sultry, smoky flavor that’s instantly addicting. It’s hard to describe my love for the stuff. We have several sources for smoked paprika, but Simply Organic is our favorite. The other key spice for the dish is traditionally saffron. However, since it’s the world’s most expensive spice, we went with a common substitute: turmeric, which gives a bit of earthy flavor and a brilliant yellow color.
You’ll see that the recipe below is written a little differently than most — it’s a recipe for a date night, including music and wine. Don’t worry if you don’t have the special pan; a large skillet works just as well. The quantities below are enough for four: so either a double-date night, or you’ll have leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch!
Related: Try using our Homemade Vegetable Broth for this recipe!
Looking for paella recipes?
Outside of this easy paella recipe, here are some of our favorites for different occasions:
- Seafood Paella Recipe on an Open Fire — feeds a crowd!
- Simple Vegetarian Paella — vegetarian for weeknights!
- Grilled Paella Recipe — perfect in the summer on the grill
Looking for more healthy seafood recipes?
Outside of this easy paella recipe, here are a few more healthy seafood recipes:
- 5 Minute Seared Tuna Recipe
- Baked Salmon with Chimichurri Sauce
- Broiled Salmon with Bourbon Glaze
- Truffled Egg with Smoked Salmon
- Baked Shrimp with Feta and Tomatoes
- Roasted Tomato Shrimp Over Creamy Polenta
- Quick Garlicky Shrimp Couscous
- Grilled Shrimp and Vegetable Skewers
- Salmon en Papillote with Roasted Potatoes
- How to Buy Sustainable Fish & Seafood
This recipe is…
This easy paella recipe is pescatarian and gluten-free.Print
A perfect romantic date night in, this Spanish paella is simple and stunning, made on the stovetop. It’s a healthy dinner that’s gluten free and dairy free.
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- ½ pound raw deveined shelled shrimp
- ¼ cup olive oil, divided
- 1 pinch oregano
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 15-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups uncooked white arborio rice
- 1 tablespoon Simply Organic smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon Simply Organic turmeric (or 1 pinch saffron)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 3 cups spinach leaves, packed
- 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, quartered
- 1/4 cup frozen peas
- Set the mood: Turn on some music (we love Google music stations Indie in the Kitchen for cooking and Cocktail Party Jazz for eating). Pour yourself some wine (maybe a Spanish red, such as a Rioja), or your beverage of choice. If you’re hungry, grab something to munch on as you prepare your dish. And—relax! Forget about the day’s worries and get ready to have some fun in the kitchen.
- Prep school: Dice ½ onion. Mince 4 cloves garlic.
- First, the shrimp: In a large skillet or paella pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high. Add the shrimp and saute until just barely opaque, about 1 minute per side, sprinkling with 1 pinch kosher salt, 1 pinch oregano, and 1 pinch red pepper flakes. Set the shrimp aside.
- Time to cook: In the skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until just translucent, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook until all liquid is reduced, about 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in 1 ½ cups rice, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon turmeric (or saffron), and 1 teaspoon kosher salt for about 1 minute. Add 3 cups broth and 3 cups spinach leaves and stir in the spinach so that it is covered by the liquid. Bring to a medium simmer; do not stir. (The goal is to slowly cook down the liquid through the rice without stirring, so make sure the heat is not too high.) Arrange artichoke quarters on top of the rice. While you wait, clean the kitchen, set the table, assemble a simple green salad or dessert.
- Get ready and wait: Cook until the rice is al dente and the liquid is fully cooked down, about 20 minutes. In the last 3 minutes, arrange ¼ cup peas and cooked shrimp on top.
- Serve: After the liquid is mostly cooked out, remove from the heat and let sit for a few minutes (a little more of the liquid will absorb as it sits). Make sure not to leave on the heat too long or the paella may burn — though crusty bits on the bottom are both traditional and desirable! Serve immediately.
Note: A large skillet works for this recipe, but you can use a paella pan if you have it! We placed ours across two burners to get even heat. This recipe serves enough for 4, so if you make it for a date night you’ll also have leftovers!
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Spanish
Keywords: Paella, Shrimp Paella, Seafood Paella, Paella de Mariscos, Seafood Paella Recipe, Spanish, Gluten Free, Easy Paella Recipe
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
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.
Cookbook Author and photographer
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.