Vegetarian Paella

by Anne Bennett on July 14, 2010

After posting the preceding paella recipe I got several comments asking about how to make it lower in fat. Rather than tinker with that recipe, which is pretty awesome as is, here’s another paella that comes from the “Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites” cookbook.

Moosewood Restaurant is a famous vegetarian restaurant in Ithaca, New York. They’ve been publishing cookbooks, many of them award-winning, almost since they opened their doors in 1973.

No, my version isn’t completely vegetarian–I added shrimp. Can’t leave well-enough alone.

I added shrimp and sugar snap peas at the last minute.

Rice

1 14-oz. can artichoke hearts
1 1/2 cups brown rice
1 t. salt
1/2 t. saffron, crumbled

Vegetables

2 cups finely chopped onions
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 t. dried thyme (I used fresh)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 lb. asparagus, cut into 2″ pieces
1 1/2 cups frozen green peas
1 14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

First make the rice: drain the artichoke hearts, reserving the brine from the can. Quarter the artichoke hearts and set aside. Add water to the brine to make 2 1/2 cups liquid and combine it with the rice, salt and saffron in a heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and very gently simmer until rice is tender, about 40 to 45 minutes. You may have to add a bit more water if the rice is too dry. (I cooked my rice in a Japanese rice cooker. Easy and foolproof.)

When the rice has simmered for about 25 minutes, start the vegetables. Saute the onions, celery and garlic in the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the thyme, bell pepper and asparagus; cover and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the peas, tomatoes and reserved artichoke hearts. Stir gently, cover and continue to simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. I added a good splash of Frank’s Original Hot Sauce. You could also sprinkle on some crushed red pepper flakes.

To serve the paella, spread the rice on a large platter or bowl and top with the vegetables and their juices.

As pictured, you can add about 1/2 lb. of shrimp to this. Lay the shrimp atop the vegetables during the last few minutes of cooking time to steam them.

Serves: 6

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