Being good at planning meals and thinking about your ingredients is a significant first step toward maintaining a vegan diet, but there might be those evenings, especially at midweek, when you want something easy to make and packed full of that veggie goodness and taste.
You might want to branch out and try dishes inspired by other cultures, but where do you begin, and are there instances where you have to make substitutions?
After all, there are many ways that you can make vegan by adding twists that can add some sweetness to an otherwise savory dish.
Below we have provided a simple recipe on how to make a pepper and pea paella, so you can experience a dish that is a classic in Spanish cuisine.
You can also find how you can make changes to improve your dish by adding more flavor.
How To Make Paella With Peppers And Peas
What Ingredients You’ll Need
- 1 brown or red onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 75 ml of vegetable stock, or white wine if you prefer
- 4 tablespoons of unrefined olive oil
- 200g of basmati or jasmine rice
- 1 red bell pepper
- ½ tablespoon of saffron threads
- 500 ml of vegetable broth
- 100g of green beans and peas
- 1-2 sprigs of rosemary
- 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika or equivalent
- Ground cloves
- Lemon and parsley, for garnishing
Start by preparing your onion by peeling and chopping it, ideally by dicing, and then you can wash and chop your red pepper in the same way.
Now you can heat some olive oil in a medium-heavy sized frying pan or skillet and sautee your diced ingredients on low to medium heat for about 3 minutes.
Now you can get your rice and stir it in the frying pan, and sautee this as well, where you can glaze it with vegetable stock or white wine, then you can stir in the saffron threads and some cinnamon if you prefer.
You can add more wine or stock to deglaze it even more and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes back on low heat.
Now you can chop and prepare your beans, then stir these into the mixture, as well as your peas, and let this simmer for a further 10-15 minutes.
During this time, you can add your paprika powder, ground cloves, and rosemary or dill if you prefer.
Then you can season with some chili or herb salts or spices, and then you can add your lemon slices and parsley, and that’s it, your dish is ready to be served.
If You Want To Make This Recipe Even Better
It sounds simple enough, but you might be thinking there’s too much going on in this recipe, or maybe you want some plant-based meat alternatives where you might want a balance of this with your vegetables.
While this can come down to individual tastes, we’ve listed some additions or substitutions you could use to make your dish that much more delicious to you.
If you’re not a fan of the veg from this recipe, you could add a plethora of veggies, including mushrooms, artichokes, cherry tomatoes, and even capers which can add their own flavors.
When you let all of your ingredients sautee together, you’ll find that the flavor can reach the bottom, or with the stock, and it can all blend together quite wonderfully, and this might take some practice in timing your inclusion of all these ingredients into your cooking.
Then, of course, you don’t want to go too overboard with your veggies, as you already have your green beans and peas, which you might want to remove or maybe replace with kidney beans, which have an earthy but sweet flavor to them.
If You’re Looking For Meat Alternatives
You could try plant-based king prawns or maybe even some tofu, seitan, or tempeh, which can give you more grounded flavors like the mushroom or savory kind, which can be just as fulfilling as the meat equivalent, and taste just as enriching.
Tofu can be incredibly fulfilling as this ingredient can absorb a lot of the flavor (Check out How Long To Marinate Tofu), and if prepared right, it can be savory, sweet, crunchy, or even soft, so you have a ton of options if you want to make some substitutes.
What About Rice And Seasoning?
With a vegan diet, rice can be your best friend, and there are many kinds, such as white, wild, brown, jasmine, basmati, and some forms of fried rice.
Some can be easier to cook with than others, while some can bring their own potent flavors such as jasmine or even vegan varieties of pilau rice, so try out what you think tastes best and if you’re unsure, keep it simple.
In regards to seasoning, just with any kind of paella recipe, you may be tempted to use some chilis or spicier peppers to add more of a kick, but we think that this is going to overwhelm your dish, and there’s going to be too many conflicting flavors.
The number of herbs, garlic, and sweet paprika in this recipe can work fine on their own, or if you want something else, try some cumin, turmeric, or even coriander if you want to add some flavor that isn’t going to make it too spicy or overwhelming.
The Bottom Line
Depending on how many servings you make, this can take from 30-60 minutes, but you’ll find the time will fly by as you’re trying out different ingredients which you can use to your liking, so it’s made your way.
This recipe is an excellent opportunity to get creative in your cooking process, and trying out new ideas can be a fun experience.