"I started on my paella journey after watching a chef make it with great flair by the beach. Usually made with a short-grain rice such as Spanish bomba, this paella is made with cauliflower rice, which absorbs the flavors surprisingly well. It is loosely based on the Valencia style, fragrant with saffron and rosemary. Whether indoors of outdoors, this is a great summer party dish that's easy to make and easy on the eyes."
Recipe reprinted with permission from THE VEGETARIAN RESET: 75 Low-Carb, Plant-Forward Recipes from Around the World, by Vasudha Viswanath (January 2023, The Collective Book Studio). Photography by Alexandra Shytsman.
1 Tbsp + I tsp olive oil, divided
1 lb/450g cauliflower rice
1 small onion (4 oz/110g), diced
1 small red bell pepper/capsicum (4 oz/110g), sliced lengthwise into thin strips
1 Tbsp minced garlic
20 green beans (4 oz/110g), ends trimmed and sliced in half
1 (14 ½ oz/400g) can chickpeas, drained
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp fine sea salt
½ tsp cracked black pepper
pinch of saffron
1 cup/260g canned diced tomatoes (two-thirds of a 14 ½ oz/400g can)
1 cup/240 ml vegetable broth or water
2 marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
½ cup/80g frozen green peas
6-8 large green or black olives, sliced
2-3 springs rosemary
1 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley, for garnish
4 lemon wedges, for garnish
In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the cauliflower rice and sauté until dry, 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the same pan, add the onions, bell pepper, and garlic, and sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the green beans, chickpeas, paprika, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and saffron, reduce the heat to medium-low, and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 more minutes.
Add the broth or water and bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower rice and stir to distribute evenly. Simmer, uncovered, without stirring, until the water has mostly evaporated, 10-15 minutes.
Scatter the artichokes, peas, olives and rosemary on top, gently pressing down to incorporate. Do not stir. Cook, uncovered, for a few more minutes until dry and you no longer see water bubbling to the surface a few more minutes, (you can press down gently with a spatula to help any water bubble up).
Optionally, turn up the heat to high for 1-2 minutes to char the bottom of the rice. This creates a crispy crust, called the soccarat, at the bottom. Remove the rosemary, garnish with parsley and lemon wedges, and serve.