After living in Spain for the last 11 years, this is my vegan contribution to Spain’s beloved national dish. It’s a jam-packed delicious version that converts the weary.
Multi-Vegetable Vegan Paella and Avo Aioli
- For the topping
- (200 g / 7 oz) green beans or asparagus
- 1 small sweet potato, sliced
- 1/2 red (bell) pepper, sliced
- 1 bunch of cherry tomatoes on the vine
- olive oil, for cooking For the paella
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 4 sundried tomatoes, chopped
- 250 g (9 oz / 1 cup) aborio rice or other risotto rice
- 150 g (5 oz / 1 cup) frozen peas
- 750 ml (25 fl oz / 3 cups) boiling water, slightly more if needed
- pink Himalayan salt and black pepper, to taste For the avo-aioli
- 2 avocados, peeled and stoned
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely grated
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped To serve
- lemon or lime wedges
- chopped parsley and basil
- Preheat the oven to 220oC (430oF/Gas 7).
- Coat all the topping vegetables with oil, then scatter over a baking tray (baking sheet) lined with greaseproof paper (wax paper) and cook for 15 minutes in the oven.
- After 15 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 200oC (400oF/Gas 6) and cook for another 15–20 minutes until the vegetables are soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. Paella:
- In the meantime, in a big, deep pan start frying the onion with a good amount of olive oil.
- Add all the spices along with the fresh and sundried tomatoes and give it a good stir for 5–10 minutes.
- Add the rice and gently fry for 5 minutes until it is well coated with all the spices. Add the frozen peas and boiling water to the pan.
- Put the heat on medium to low, cover with a lid and cook for 20 minutes. If you see that the water evaporates quickly and the rice is still not cooked, just add a bit more water. Go steady. Avo-aioli:
- To make the avo-aioli, add all the ingredients except for the parsley into a blender and blitz until you have a nice smooth, creamy texture.
- Finally add the parsley and give it a good mix. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
- After 20 minutes check on the paella. Make sure that the rice is cooked and there is no liquid left. Arrange the roasted veggies on top in a beautiful pattern. Serve straight from the pan with lime or lemon wedges, sprinkles of parsley and basil with dollops of avo-aioli.
Tip This dish can definitely be pre-prepared and just heated in the oven before serving. It’s a showstopper and an amazing dish to serve to friends on a weekend, and a fantastic alternative to Easter lunch!