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Vegetable Paella

Vegetable Paella plated on table 2.jpeg

It’s harvest time for tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms and zucchini, among the full cornucopia of produce that we are blessed with. While some people treat themselves to new clothes and shoes, I go weak in the produce aisle! Brightly colored bell peppers, lush tomatoes and meaty mushrooms just call to me. Slowly simmered vegetables in olive oil and wine give off a heavenly scent. Paella is traditionally made with sausage and seafood but this vegetable version is delicious and economical. While I bought ingredients for this recipe, I often look through my refrigerator to use up vegetables in dishes like this. The seasonings brings out the best flavors of the veggies, creating a fabulous dinner that gets better with reheating!

Foodie Lit

In J.R. Ridgley's 16Wheeler, main character Carrie Marshall recently a widow, without a job and adrift in what was once an orderly and planned life, takes off spontaneously to visit her grandchildren. Stranded in a freezing snow storm, she hears her dead husband berating her judgment, as he so often did in life.

Trucker John Graham, a widower with grown children, escapes to the road after his beloved wife death. His life is in his rig and his friends are other truckers. His kind heart has him stopping for the stranded car on the side of the road. 

Like Noah’s Ark, the rig becomes the world for John and Carrie in this second chance romance. I will never look at an 18Wheeler in the same way again! 

Vegetable Paella


Serves 6  


1 cup quinoa 


Spice Mix

2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1 small fresh red cayenne pepper, minced



2-3 teaspoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

6 ounces mushrooms, patted dry and sliced 

1/4 teaspoon saffron 

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 yellow bell pepper, deseeded, cored and chopped

1/2 red bell pepper,  deseeded, cored and chopped

2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced 

3 roma tomatoes, diced

1/2 to 2 teaspoons red chili, jalapeño peppers, or your choice, minced, optional for additional heat

1-14 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 1/2 cups vegan broth

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice



1 can artichoke hearts, rinsed and cut into quarters (optional)

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

Olives, Kalamata or your choice

Fresh parsley sprigs or basil leaves, as garnish



  1. Rinse quinoa until the water runs clear. Cook according to package instructions. Set aside.

  2. Mix together paprika, cumin, cayenne and chili powder. Reserve.

  3. Sauté onion in a skillet with olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Add mushrooms. Sauté for 3-4 minutes or until mushrooms begin to lose their juices. 

  4. Add quinoa and saffron and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes. Add white wine. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.

  5. Stir spice mix into quinoa mixture until quinoa mix is coated.

  6. Add bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, chili pepper, beans, salt, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are fork-tender. Do not stir. 

  7. Before serving, season with 1 teaspoon lemon juice.  Taste and adjust spices and salt as needed. Add sliced almonds. Cover pan and let rest for 10 minutes. Serve in skillet or place on a platter.  Arrange artichoke hearts and olives on top. Garnish with parsley or basil.

  8. If you are not going to serve immediately, keep warm in oven until read to serve or place in refrigerator if you need to wait several hours or until the next day. Warm and add lemon juice and garnishes before serving. This recipe tastes even better the next day. 

  9. Freezing: Do not add garnishes. Bring to room temperature and place in a plastic freezer bag or freezer proof container. Freeze up to 3 months. Defrost and then warm in oven or microwave. Add garnishes before serving.


Expandthetable suggestions


Other grains: Try farro, brown rice, wild rice or black rice.

Other legumes: Use kidney or white beans, chickpeas, lentils.

Canned Tomatoes: Use 1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes in place of fresh tomatoes.

Sausage: Add sliced vegan/vegetarian sausage with vegetables in step 6.


#Vegan #main #gluten free  #kosher pareve 


Tip:  Freeze leftover wine in ice cube trays and then in a freezer bag. Pull out the cubes when you need them for cooking.

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