My housemate Mike has had a paella dish that he’s been meaning to use for ages, so when his girlfriend Dally came over for dinner we decided it was time to put it to good use. Paella is a traditional Spanish rice dish, made with lots of vegetables, and often other ingredients such as seafood or meat.
We added some Quorn chicken style pieces to this dish for some protein, but you could leave these out if you wanted. Mike and Dally also cooked some prawns and chorizo separately, but if you’re a vegetarian I’m pretty sure you’ll be omitting those too.
This recipe uses several strands of saffron – most of you will know that saffron is more expensive than gold, gram for gram. Personally I probably wouldn’t have bothered with this ingredient since I’m a bit of a cheapskate, but Mike likes to do things properly, so we included them this time. They also help to give this paella its incredible yellow colour.
This dish seems to have a lot of ingredients, but really you just shove them all in a pan and stir it for a while – it couldn’t really be easier.

I’ve tagged this entry ‘vegan’, but remember that if you are a vegan, you’ll need to omit the Quorn since it contains egg, or use a vegan alternative.

Vegetable paella
Serves 4
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2 onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 peppers (I used red and yellow), sliced
1 cup frozen peas
300g chicken-style Quorn pieces (optional)
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp cayenne pepper
A pinch of saffron threads (optional)
1 vegetable stock cube, made up with 500ml of boiling water
300g short grain rice
Handful of parsley, chopped
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently cook the onion and garlic for a few minutes. Add the peppers, peas and Quorn pieces (if using), and continue to cook gently. Add the paprika, cayenne pepper and tomatoes.
If using, dissolve the saffron strands in the stock, then pour over the vegetables. Add the rice and stir well.
You will eventually need to add more water – once the stock has been absorbed by the rice, taste it, and if it needs more cooking, add more water. Repeat this until the rice is cooked (around 40 minutes, but this will differ every time).
Stir in the parsley and serve.