Vegetarian Paella with Artichokes and Olives

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This Spanish vegetarian paella recipe is really easy and straightforward to make, and is packed with veggies! A great summery vegan dinner.

A frying pan full of vegetarian paella topped with artichoke hearts and green olives.

You know when you look at a word for too long, and it suddenly stops making any sense? I’ve totally done that with the word ‘paella’. It’s obviously not an English word in the first place so I think I should let myself off, but for a while there I was genuinely concerned that I’d invented the word myself. Paella. Vegetarian paella. Vegan paella. Pie-ell-aaaa. It means nothing to me any more.

Anyway, when James Villas challenged me to recreate one of my favourite holiday recipes as part of their My Holiday Dish series, my mind went straight for paella. I’ve been to Spain a few times, and it’s one of my favourite countries (it’s hard to argue with all that sunshine) – but I’ve had mixed luck eating paella in Spain. Some places are really vegetarian-friendly, offering the most amazing vegetarian paella you can imagine, piled high with veggies, beans, fresh herbs, drizzled with olive oil – a vegetarian’s heaven. Other places… not so much. I can think of one time in particular where I had to plump for a very non-Spanish margherita pizza while the rest of my family tucked into paella, because there wasn’t a vegetarian version on the menu. It’s rare that pizza is ever accompanied by disappointment, but on this occasion it definitely was.

A pan of vegan paella with artichokes, olives and wedges of lemon.

Homemade vegetarian paella

So rather than having to search all across Spain for a suitable paella (not to mention spending 2 or 3 hours on a plane, snore), I thought I’d just make my own instead. And not to blow my own trumpet or anything (except I totally am), but it was almost as delicious as any paella I’ve ever had in Spain. For me, the stars of this vegetarian paella are the marinated artichokes and olives – both give so much flavour! Finish everything off with a squeeze of lemon and some fresh parsley, and you’ve got a comforting, but still fresh and summery, dinner.

By the way, don’t be tempted to stir your paella while it’s cooking – we’re not making risotto here. Just keep the heat low, cover the pan, and let the rice slowly absorb that rich and flavourful spiced stock. Hopefully, you’ll get some nice crispy bits around the bottom – so go and be lazy, and let your dinner cook itself.

A pan of vegetable paella with olives and artichokes.

What’s your ultimate holiday recipe – the thing you always look forward to eating when you go abroad? Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like me to attempt! And you can check out more holiday recipes on the James Villas website – including these simple pepper and goat’s cheese tarts, which look like the sort of thing I’d happily eat seven of – or using the hashtag #MyHolidayDish.

A spoon taking a scoop of vegan paella from a pan.

Vegetarian Paella with Artichokes and Olives

This Spanish vegetarian paella recipe is really easy and straightforward to make, and is packed with veggies! A great summery vegan dinner.

If you’ve cooked this recipe, don’t forget to leave a star rating!

5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 3
Calories: 434kcal
Author: Becca Heyes


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced or diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 120 g green beans, trimmed and halved (~ 1 cup)
  • 150 g cooked cannellini beans (~ 3/4 cup) – I used tinned
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 200 g short-grain white rice, e.g. arborio (~ 1 cup)
  • 500 ml vegetable stock (~ 2 cups)
  • Black pepper
  • 160 g marinated artichoke hearts (~ 1 cup)
  • 50 g green olives (~ 1/2 cup)
  • tbsp To serve: 2 extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, fresh parsley


  • Heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the onion and pepper. Cook over a medium heat for a couple of minutes, until slightly soft. Add the garlic and green beans, and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Next add the cannellini beans, smoked paprika and turmeric, and mix to coat. Turn the heat down to low. Pour in the rice, vegetable stock, and plenty of black pepper. Mix carefully once to make sure everything is evenly distributed, then stop stirring. Arrange the artichoke hearts and olives on top of the paella, and cover with a lid. Leave to cook over a low heat for around 25-30 minutes, or until the rice is fully cooked. Serve topped with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and some fresh parsley.


Don’t be tempted to stir the paella as it’s cooking – you’re not making risotto. Just leave it to cook and you’ll hopefully end up with some nice crispy bits on the bottom.


Nutrition Facts
Vegetarian Paella with Artichokes and Olives
Amount Per Serving (1 portion)
Calories 434 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 2.6g13%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 798mg33%
Potassium 1251mg36%
Carbohydrates 59g20%
Fiber 17.7g71%
Sugar 6.2g7%
Protein 16.7g33%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.

Tried this Recipe? Leave a Comment!Comments and star ratings really help support the site – thank you!

Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/3 of the recipe.

You know what you need to serve alongside paella? Sangria!! Try my peach and basil white sangria recipe:

Peach and basil white sangria

5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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  1. My tummy is crying out for this! But I am also starting to wonder if this is a candidate for a bit of slow cooker experimentation??? Am I wrong? I love using my slow cooker in this heat as it doesn’t make the kitchen thermonuclear, and I can just set it & forget it!

  2. So many of our favourite ingredients in your Vegetarian paella, artichokes, olives and green beans, a great selection.
    Thank you for talking part in #MyHolidayDish

  3. This looks amazing! What is in it that doesn’t make it vegan? I can’t seem to spot anything in the ingredients.

  4. This looks amazing! What is in it that doesn’t make it vegan? I can’t seem to spot anything in the ingredients x

  5. This looks absolutely delicious! So fresh and clean and inviting. I love Paella (and risotto and any other rice dish too) so I know this will be a knockout meal! Thank you nx