Simple Vegetarian Paella

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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Want to make paella at home but are intimidated? Here’s a supremely simple vegetable paella: it’s perfect for date night and full of Spanish flavor!



  • A cast iron skillet or large heavy frying pan
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 bunch chard (enough for 2 cups chopped)
  • 4 whole artichokes hearts (canned)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (pimentón)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 cup brown arborio rice
  • 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chickpeas (canned or cooked)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth


  1. Set the mood: Turn on some music. Pour yourself some wine, or your beverage of choice. If you’re hungry, grab something to munch on as you prepare your dish. And—relax! Forget about the days worries and get ready to have some fun in the kitchen.
  2. Show off your knife skills: Set up a chopping station with some cutting boards and knives. Then do the following, in no particular order: Peel 4 garlic cloves and mince them. Peel and chop the onion. Remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms and slice the tops into 1/4 inch strips. Wash the chard and roughly chop it into bite-sized pieces. Drain the artichoke hearts, and cut them into quarters.
  3. Sauteing time: Bring all of your prepared ingredients to the stove, along with the remainder of the ingredients in the recipe. Then do the following: In a large cast-iron skillet or frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon turmeric, and 1 cup rice. Stir about 1 minute. Add 1 can diced tomatoes and their liquid, chard, 1 cup chickpeas. 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and lots of fresh ground black pepper. Stir to combine, and cook for a few minutes. Pour in about 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth, enough to fully cover the rice and vegetables, but not enough to overflow the pan. Place the artichoke quarters in an artistic manner over the top of the dish.
  4. Wait: The hard part is done – now you just wait for the liquid to cook out and cook the rice. The broth should be boiling at this point. Turn down the heat and let simmer without stirring until the liquid has evaporated, about 40 minutes or so. You can add a bit more liquid (broth or water) if necessary if you find that the rice is not done, but we found that this amount of liquid and time with brown arborio rice did the trick. While you wait, clean the kitchen, set the table, assemble a simple green salad or dessert.
  5. 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. Serve immediately.


Make sure to use short grain rice in this dish. We developed the dish using brown Arborio rice; white arborio rice may need a bit less liquid to cook. Also make sure to use smoked paprika (Want to make paella at home but are intimidated? Here’s a supremely simple vegetable paella: it’s perfect for date night and full of Spanish flavor! pimentón!) if you can find it; regular paprika is not quite the same. You can use a pinch of saffron in place of the turmeric to be fully authentic, but we found using turmeric didn’t lose too much for the flavor (as long as pimentón is used!). We also developed the recipe using a cast iron skillet; a paella pan would likely work as well, but the amount of liquid or ingredients may need to be adapted.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Spanish

Keywords: Paella, Vegetarian Paella, Veggie Paella, Paella Recipe, Spanish, Gluten Free