Poor Woman’s Paella (Vegetarian)

Poor Woman's Paella (Vegetarian)
Poor Woman’s Paella (Vegetarian)

I have been thinking about paella quite a bit lately.  It’s warm, comforting…colorful…and I love the beautiful golden color that surrounds the array of different items within the starch.   Since ringing in the new year…I’ve been trying to take a healthier approach to what I eat, so I’ve been on quite a quinoa kick.  Also, there are some seafood items that I am allergic too… (not all kinds thank goodness)..so I thought, why not experiment with every colorful vegetable I can imagine, mix it with a healthy carb…and put everything together in a colorful burst!

I actually always have saffron available in my pantry, because I use so little of it.  If the cost isn’t in your budget…try using the Sazon Goya con Azafran flavor packets, which will give it the golden color, in addition to adding salt and pepper to taste.  I still call it Poor Woman’s Paella because there is no seafood in it and it is completely vegetarian.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!  The saffron lends a indescribable complexity to any dish.  It colors it to yellow…some say it sweetens it a bit and other say it is similar to a tumeric flavor.

As far as the vegetables…the more colorful, the better.  I added greens, oranges, yellows and even some pales (artichokes & fennel).  It’s so easy to make this a flavorful dish….salt and pepper..that’s it!  Don’t go crazy…and make this simple!  After all…we are poor women!!!  If you have the extra cash..spring for the saffron…but if not..the packets of flavor is a perfect substitute.

Poor Woman’s Paella

2 cups quinoa (cooked)

1 tsp saffron ( substitute: Sazon Goya Con Azafran flavor packet)

1 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne

4 cups chicken broth

1 large purple onion (chopped)

5 cloves of garlic (minced)

1/2 cup frozen artichokes (quartered)

1 bunch broccoli rabe (chopped)

1 fennel bulb (chopped)

1 cup kale (chopped)

1 red bell pepper (chopped)

1 yellow bell pepper (chopped)

1 orange bell pepper (chopped)

1 cup sliced multicolored cherry tomatoes (seeded and sliced)

1/2 cup green beans (cut into 1 inch long pieces)

15 shiitake mushrooms (sliced and discard stems)

3 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

     In a rice cooker, place quinoa, chicken broth, saffron (or flavor packet) and salt and pepper.  Let it cook for 20 minutes, then set aside. Reserve 3/4 cup of chicken broth aside.

     In a saute pan, place olive oil onions and garlic and sizzle until golden brown. Add the rest of the chicken broth and mix until nothing sticks to the pan.  Add the rest of the vegetables and cook until tender (but still has “bite”).  Mix in the paprika and cayenne thoroughly.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

     In a serving bowl, mix the golden quinoa and vegetables thoroughly.  Enjoy!!!

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