Day 22: Vegan paella!

Today was meant to be pie day, but a suddenly rescheduled rehearsal means that we’re saving that for tomorrow. Cue a speedy rethink!

There are few things as satisfying as a pie, so the challenge was on to think of something warming and hearty to ease Jones and me through the disappointment. The solution? Vegan paella!

Now, you may say ‘but how can a dish that relies on seafood and chorizo and chicken be vegan?’ The trick was to get the flavours right, and then find a nice range of chewy savoury textures so you didn’t miss the meat. And you know what? The outcome wasn’t half bad.

To make this dish, I chopped a whole white onion and half a red one and let them gently soften in some oil in our biggest pan. Into this I next crushed three cloves of garlic and when everything was sticky and just catching on the bottom of the pan I added a little dash of vegetable stock and some diced peppers (a whole green one and half a red).

When the peppers were soft and the liquid mostly gone I added the rice (risotto rice as I couldn’t get paella rice) and let that get a little toasted and catchy and well mixed in – and after about 5 minutes I added a packet of paella seasoning (dried onion, garlic, smoked paprika, saffron, all that good stuff – quite a find, as I can’t afford saffron strands and had planned to mix paprika with just a tiny bit of turmeric for colour!) and gave it all a good stir.


When the rice was well coated I added some dehydrated dried shitake mushrooms (soaked in hot water for 20 mins till they were plump and chewy) plus the water they had soaked in, and a good splosh of vegetable stock until the rice was just covered.

Lid on! Heat down! Simmer for 15 mins and then the lid came off again and the heat went back up to bubble off some of the excess liquid. A few mins before serving I added some chunkily chopped green olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts. Stir stir, heat it through, and a quick mix-through of some finely chopped parsley to finish.

The result was thick and rich and a very pleasing colour – and the mix of chewy textures was brill. A convincing paella, methinks… and Jones says it’s the nicest thing I have made for him!

The only downside is it’s very sleepy-making for a pre-rehearsal meal…

Today I ate/drank:

  • Tea with soya milk
  • Peanut butter on toast
  • Lots of apple tea
  • Leftover pasta bake
  • Bag of ready salted crisps
  • Handful of peanuts
  • A sun-dried tomato, some olives, some artichoke while cooking.
  • Vegan paella
  • Orange squash
  • Chocolate oat milk
  • Some leftover paella

1 thought on “Day 22: Vegan paella!”

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