Plant Paella by Chef Brenda Reed

Plant Paella, I love the way it just rolls off the tongue. I think of paella as a complex dish with inspiring flavors from Spain and Portugal. I imagine the recipes to be passed down from generation to generation with ample stories told during the preparation and eating of this dish. When I think about making a version that is completely whole foods, plant-based and oil free, I get excited knowing that bold flavors can be represented in a plant adaptation—and plant deserve to be the main star!

Don't be intimidated when you convert recipes! You can do this—it’s a rice dish! 

The new Plantstrong Spanish Style Sofrito Broth is the perfect base for this Plant Paella. The flavor of this savory broth carries through to the very end of the dish. Bold confession here: it's customary to include frozen peas in traditional paella dishes, but I cannot stand peas. Therefore, I have left them out of this recipe. If this goes against your Plant Paella heart, feel free to add a half cup of frozen peas towards the end of the dish right before you put the cover on it to rest. 

As with any recipe, this is just a guide to inspire you. If you want to adjust the seasonings or spices, please do! I always encourage people to taste the dish throughout and make something that you enjoy eating. 

Before you begin, gather the mise en place. Ideally, you should have all of the ingredients prepped and ready before you begin step One. 

Serves 4-6

1.5 cups short grain brown rice, rinsed/drained

4 cups Plantstrong Spanish Style Sofrito Broth

5 Garlic cloves sliced

1 Red Bell Pepper, stemmed, seeded, & diced (160 grams)

1 Large Yellow Onion, diced (260 grams)

1 Bunch Asparagus washed, ends trimmed, cut stalks into thirds (260 grams)

1 can (14.1 ounce) Artichoke Hearts, drained and rinsed

1 can (15.5 ounce) Garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

¼ cup Flat leaf parsley, rinsed/dried/stemmed/chopped

2 Large Vine Ripe Tomatoes (230 grams)

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon lemon juice, lemon wedges for garnish

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper

Pinch of saffron dissolved in 2 Tablespoons of water

Salt and pepper to taste

Sriracha or your favorite power packed chili sauce to taste

Pinch of saffron dissolved in 2 Tablespoons of water

Step 1

Using a large skillet with a lid or a Paella pan, heat it to medium high/high for a few minutes before adding the onions.  The pan should be really hot for a dry sauté. 

Step 2

Breathe and remember it’s a rice dish. Add the onion allowing it to caramelize but not burn, stirring frequently to prevent burning and cooking until it is translucent about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, & stir until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and reserved juices. Add the rice and saffron with liquid and stir to coat. The smell of the saffron will make you smile. 

Step 3 

Add 3 cups of the broth, the diced peppers, smoked paprika and crushed red pepper. Stir to incorporate.  Bring the mixture to a boil, cover  the pan and allow the rice to simmer for about 25-30 minutes watching it closely so the rice does not burn. You should be able to observe the steam from the dish rolling off of the lid and back down into the pan. 

Step 4

Add the garbanzo beans, artichoke hearts, asparagus, lemon juice and 1 cup of the remaining broth. Pour broth slowly around the pan to ensure it reaches all areas of the pan to distribute evenly throughout the rice. Jiggle it to disperse the broth and avoid stirring! Traditional paella recipes use oil to get a thin crispy bottom on the rice called "Socarrat." You should be able to get a nice bottom layer of broth and rice by watching it closely and jiggling the pan ever so often. Allow the veggies to simmer with the additional broth for 10 minutes. 

Step 5 

Check the vegetables for tenderness. At this point if your rice needs a longer cooking time add additional broth or water a quarter cup at a time until cooked and fluffy. Also if you want to add so now. 

Step 6

Once you have determined you have successfully cooked your rice, remove it from the stovetop, cover it with a lid and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. This might bring back memories of resting steak off the grill...and then you will rejoice that this meal is better for you!

Step 7

Allow the dish to cool slightly and garnish with the remaining parsley and  crushed red pepper. Serve with lemon wedges and have a dance party since your dish has made it to the table! I recommend seasoning with salt and pepper, Sriracha or your favorite chili sauce, and avocado slices. This will enhance the flavors in the dish. 



Culinary Team

Brenda has a Bachelors’ in journalism and a Masters in Exercise Sport Science and attended the Professional  Chef Training program in 2011 at the Natural Epicurean Academy of  Culinary Arts to pursue her love of food and health.

Brenda has  combined her leadership & facilitation skills with health supportive  cooking to create a collaborative and thoughtful experience while cooking for guests at health immersions, yoga, and meditation retreats.

Brenda works with Engine 2 Immersions  as the chef consultant and helps plan, prepare, and expedite the week-long health supportive program.  In her lifetime, she would like to  be involved with a significant food project that brings about change,  comfort, and support to humans, animals, and the environment.

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