Tag Archives: Paella

Quinoa Vegetable Paella!

This weekend was SUPER rainy and wet… so rainy, in fact, that on Friday when I was driving home from SF, I sat in traffic for TWO HOURS! To put that in context, that’s two hours to travel 35 miles on the highway. Crazy huh? Needless to say, I was really annoyed when I got home and in no mood to cook. But – we had nothing to eat! And I was also in no mood to drive around in the rain to pick up food. So, I decided to suck it up and try out a recipe that I had all the ingredients for already at home – a recipe I found on Fat Free Vegan Kitchen for Quinoa Veggie Paella! I figured if I powered through and made the recipe, that I’d end up being really happy when I was eating it – and I was right 🙂 I made a few modifications to the original recipe – so my modified version is below. This was a great, warming, flavorful meal – the perfect cure to a cold, rainy night!


  • 1 onion, chopped (I used a red onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (I used about 4 cloves of garlic)
  • 1 1/2 cup quinoa (I only used 1 cup of quinoa and that was more than enough!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (I probably used closer to 1-1.5 tsp)
  • dash cayenne (I used at least 1/8 tsp, or maybe even 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted diced tomatoes for some extra flavor)
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 3/4 – 3 cups vegetable broth (I only needed about 2.5 cups)
  • 2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, rinsed and cut into quarters
  • 3 additional ingredients that I added: A few healthy splashes of lemon juice; salt to taste (you definitely need salt in this dish!), and sliced almonds. I felt like the dish was a little bland without the extra spices and salt. And I added the lemon juice to round out the Spanish flavor profile – which it totally did!

Getting the food prepped… first, the onions and garlic

Then the quinoa and saffron (both from Trader Joe’s – saffron can be a pricey ingredient but at Trader Joe’s it’s not that expensive)

Cutting up the remaining veggies – zucchini and a red pepper

And finally, the rest of the ingredients: veggie broth, artichoke hearts, kidney beans and the diced fire roasted tomatoes!

Now for the Directions

  1. Put the quinoa into a large bowl. Cover with water and stir well to wash the grain. Pour off the water and then repeat the washing process. You may also put the quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly.
  2. Sauté onion and garlic in a deep non-stick skillet with a little (2 tsp) extra virgin olive oil until soft.
  3. Add the quinoa and saffron and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add paprika, cumin, cayenne, tomatoes, peppers, beans, and 2 3/4 cups vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low, and cook covered for 15 minutes.
  5. Place the zucchini on top of the quinoa and re-cover. Cook for about 5 more minutes, until quinoa is done.
  6. Remove the cover, stir in the peas, and cook uncovered until peas are warm and all liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes (mine actually took about 15 minutes).
  7. Season with a few splashes of lemon juice, salt and stir in a few Tbsp of sliced almonds
  8. Arrange the artichoke hearts on the top and serve with a sprinkling of sliced almonds on top

Enjoy! This recipe makes about 6 servings and one serving only has about 290 calories, with 10g Fiber and 13g protein! And now for the pictures. First – toasting the quinoa with the onions and garlic…

Paella is almost done, just simmering away…

Time to eat! This recipe was so good that I’m actually going to have the leftovers tonight for dinner 🙂 Thanks Fat Free Vegan Kitchen for a really creative veggie paella recipe!


Filed under Picky Cooks (Favorite Recipes)

Vegetable Paella with Tofu!

Last night, I made a great vegetable paella – tasted just like it came out of a Spanish restaurant! The recipe I used came from Vegetarian Times but I modified it to make it healthier and more flavorful than the original recipe! My modified recipe is below, and you can find the original at this link. Enjoy!


  • 1 Tbs. olive oil (The original recipe calls for 2 Tbs, but I found that 1 Tbs was enough – saves fat and calories!)
  • 1  7-oz. pkg. spicy marinated tofu, finely diced (The original recipe calls for 2 pkgs, but I found that 1 was enough. I used Trader Joe’s baked savory tofu – tasted great!)
  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced (Note: The mushrooms cook down so much that if you’re a mushroom fan, you can add up to 10 oz)
  • 2 large carrots, diced (1 cup)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 14-oz. can chopped or diced tomatoes, drained
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (4 tsp.)
  • 1 cup short-grain brown rice (I actually used minute brown rice to make the recipe faster to make! The directions below assume that you’re using minute brown rice. If you’re using regular brown rice, use the vegetarian times version of the recipe.)
  • 1/8 tsp. saffron, crumbled
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish (If you’re a green onion fan, feel free to use up to 6 green onions)
  • Additional spices for flavor:
    • Salt & pepper – these are crucial – don’t forget them! Add them to taste, but I was pretty generous with my additions
    • Garlic salt – I think I used about 1/4-1/2 tsp
    • Cayenne pepper – I used about 1/8 tsp


  1. Heat oil in wok or a large pan over medium-high heat. Add tofu when oil is heated through, season with salt. Sauté 10 minutes, or until tofu is browned, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, and sauté 4 to 5 minutes, or until mushrooms release liquid and begin to brown.
  2. Meanwhile, if you’re using minute brown rice, cook according to package directions. Add in saffron at the same time you add the rice to the boiling water. Stir and cook on low – let sit until all water is absorbed.
  3. Back to the tofu/mushroom mixture: Stir in carrots, corn, tomatoes, and garlic, and sauté 2-5 minutes more.
  4. Stir in rice, and about ~1/4-1/2 cup of water (if you’re using minute rice). Cover with wok lid, and simmer 10-15 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed.
  5. Add peas on surface (do not stir yet), cover, and allow peas to steam 1 to 2 minutes. Remove wok from heat, and stir in lemon juice and green onions. Season with salt, garlic salt, pepper and cayenne.

Nutritional Info

  • Makes 6 servings, calories per serving: 375
  • Total fat: 12.5g (probably less if you use only 1 Tbsp oil)
  • Protein: 22g (probably about half if you use 1 7 oz package of tofu)
  • Fiber: 6g


Filed under Picky Cooks (Favorite Recipes)