Quinoa Vegetable Paella

I absolutely love paella (a Spanish, slow-cooking rice dish traditionally made with seafood and flavored with saffron). This quinoa paella offers extra nutritional benefits that the original white rice version doesn’t, and cooks a great deal faster. Plus, made with vegetable stock and without any meat or seafood, this recipe is both vegan and gluten-free. I was very happy with the way this dish turned out and I’m excited to eat the leftovers tomorrow.

Quinoa Vegetable Paella (taken from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen and altered slightly)

Serves 6-8

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1/4 tsp saffron, crushed
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • dash cayenne
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, rinsed and cut into quarters

Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a mesh strainer and set aside.

Sauté onion and garlic in a deep non-stick skillet with a little water until soft. Add the quinoa and saffron and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes. Add paprika, cumin, cayenne, tomatoes, peppers, beans, and 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth. After this point, don’t stir the mixture; the ultimate goal is to create a crust as the grain lightly browns along the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to very low, and cook covered for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, check to see if more broth is needed. If it looks dry, add the remaining vegetable broth. Place the zucchini on top of the quinoa and re-cover.

Cook for about 5 more minutes, until quinoa is done. Remove the cover, stir in the peas, and cook uncovered until peas are warm and all liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Arrange the artichoke hearts on the top and serve.

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