kitchen sink paella

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I’m struggling with this title… it almost seems disrespectful to this exotic, traditional Spanish dish. Especially considering paella and I were only introduced a few days ago when I met some friends for dinner at Barlata, a chic new tapas restaurant in Austin. I had to go home and Google what exactly comprises a paella.

To my delight, it turned out to be a versatile, vegetable-friendly, free-style type dish with a couple of key ingredients: rice and saffron (which I also had to Google). Saffron is essential to give the characteristic, rich golden color and unique flavor. After some brief research, I decided this dish was just my style, simple and open to interpretation.

While potentially degrading, “kitchen sink” is appropriate based on my strategy for collecting ingredients (saffron being the only item I had to purchase). Apparently it’s the most expensive spice on the planet, I could have easily dropped fifteen for a bottle. Luckily I found a smaller amount for about five bucks, good enough. It’s too bad I now love the stuff… looks like my staple seasoning collection is about to get a lot more expensive.

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I’m leaving in two days for a solo hiking trip to Denver (first time!) so I had to clear out the fridge, thus the paella recipe was born. Please take that into consideration when you see I used 6 cloves of garlic and two types of onion (I hate to waste anything). But as a side, I always use a TON of anything that gives flavor, and I habitually triple amounts of seasonings and spices in a recipe (excluding salt and oil). As long as it tastes balanced, why not? It’s good!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups organic broccoli florets, steamed
  • 1 cup organic edamame, shelled and steamed
  • 2 Tbsp. avocado oil
  • 1 package organic tempeh, chopped into bite size
  • 6 cloves organic garlic, diced
  • ½ organic red onion, diced
  • Bragg liquid aminos all-purpose seasoning
  • 8 whole baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 bunch organic green onion, chopped
  • 3 cups organic, low sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbsp. saffron, crushed
  • 1 cup organic white jasmine rice
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced

Steps:

Steam broccoli and edamame and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. avocado oil over medium-high heat in non-stick skillet, add chopped tempeh, 3 garlic cloves and red onion, sauté 5-7 minutes or until tempeh starts to brown. Add Bragg liquid amino liberally and stir, continue to sauté another 5 minutes to brown tempeh.

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Remove tempeh mixture from heat and set aside.

Heat 1 Tbsp. avocado oil over medium-high heat, add mushrooms, green onions; cook 5 minute. Stir in remaining garlic, broth and saffron; bring to a boil. Sprinkle rice over ingredients, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered for 10 minutes.

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Sprinkle broccoli, edamame, tomatoes, and tempeh over rice. Cover and cook paella 8 more minutes, or until rice is tender. Remove from heat and let rest, covered for about 3-5 minutes.

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Spoon into bowls, garnish with green onions, season with salt and pepper (optional).

This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and low fat. The addition of tempeh makes it a high protein, nutrient packed meal that tastes amazing. I’ve only been meat-free for a little over a year and just recently started using tempeh. Not so much to add protein, I believe we get plenty from plant sources alone, but more for the hearty texture and nutty flavor it provides. It’s less processed than tofu, and undergoes fermentation which makes it easier to digest, and makes the nutrients more absorbable and usable by your body.

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I also LOVE adding it to salads…

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But back to paella, I highly recommend it as a quick and easy, healthy, delicious meal that keeps well and makes great leftovers! Enjoy.

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