I’ve cooked up yet another vegetarian recipe from Marie Simmons, Fresh & Fast Vegetarian cookbook published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade. I love seafood paella, and never thought to make a vegetarian version. When I saw this recipe (which just so happens to be pictured on the front cover of the cookbook) I knew I wanted to give it a try. I made this after work one evening, and within an hour we were eating a flavorful meal. This vegetarian version was just as filling as its seafood counterpart. If the meat-eaters in your house demand meat I guess you could always serve grilled chicken on the side of sliced on top. But to be honest. They won’t miss the meat in this hearty dinner!
Source: Fresh + Fast Vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
5 tbsp olive oil
8 multicolored mini bell peppers, left whole
6 oz shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, caps halved
2 tsps fresh thyme, chopped
2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
1-1/2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup green beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups chopped onion
1 garlic clove, grated
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1-1/2 tsps smoked paprika
1-1/4 cups medium-grain rice
6 cups water
lemon wedges and sprigs of thyme for garnish
1. In a small saucepan, bring 6 cups water to a boil; cover and keep hot over low heat.
2. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pepper and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until the peppers are blistered and browned and the mushrooms are golden, 6-8 minutes. Sprinkle with one teaspoon of the chopped thyme, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and a grinding of black pepper. Remove the peppers and mushrooms from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
3. Add one tablespoon of the olive oil and the cauliflower and green beans to the pan and cook, stirring, over medium-high head until the cauliflower begins to brown and is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining one teaspoon of chopped thyme, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and a dash of black pepper. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl, keeping them separate form the peppers and mushrooms.
4. Add the remaining two tablespoons oil to the hot pan. Add the onions and cook, stirring, over medium-low heat until softened and golden, 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the tomatoes and boil over high heat, stirring, until all the tomato juice evaporates. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the paprika. Add the rice and stir until coated with the tomato mixture, about 1 minute. Add 4 cups of the hot water and the remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, at a gentle simmer over medium-low heat, without stirring, until most of the liquid is evaporated and the rice is almost tender, about 15 minutes.
5. Spoon the mushrooms and peppers onto the center of the rice. Spoon the cauliflower and green beans around the edges. Pour 1 cup of the hot water on top and cook, uncovered, on medium-low until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Do not stir. (If the rice is still slightly firm, add about 1/2 cup more hot water and cook for another 5 minutes.)
6. Turn the heat to high for 1 to 2 minutes until the rice forms a browned crust on the bottom of the pan. Push the tip of a spoon into the rice to take a peek. Let the paella stand, uncovered, for 5 minutes before sreving. Garnish with lemon wedges and thyme.
Disclaimer: The opinions of this post are solely mine and do not reflect the publisher and/or author. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt sent me the cookbook to cook and blog from.