Recipes for a taste of Spain

1 May 2020

Recreate the taste of Spain in your own home with our nutritious paella recipes, including a vegan version, so no-one misses out!

Easy paella

This is a simple recipe to follow and a great meal to feed the family.

Nutritional highlights

Like most Mediterranean dishes, this paella is a great choice for boosting our good cholesterol, known as HDL cholesterol. The seafood mix provides us with omega 3 which is great at keeping our hearts healthy. Using tomatoes in this recipe gives us a good dose of vitamin C and iron. Vitamin C is used by the body to protect our cells and keep our skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage healthy, whilst iron is needed to create red blood cells and deliver oxygen around the body.

Ingredients

(Makes 4 servings)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Allergen advice: chicken stock (wheat), seafood mix (crustacean)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 tsp dried thyme
300g paella or risotto rice
3 tbsp dry sherry or white wine (optional)
400g can chopped tomatoes
900ml chicken stock
400g bag frozen seafood mix
Juice ½ lemon, other half cut into wedges
Handful parsley, roughly chopped

Directions

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add the chopped onion and soften for 5 mins.

Stir in 1 tsp hot smoked paprika, 1 tsp dried thyme and 300g paella or risotto rice. Stir for 1 minute, then splash in 3 tbsp sherry or white wine, if using.

Once the alcohol has evaporated, stir in a 400g can of chopped tomatoes and 900ml chicken stock. Season and cook, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently until rice is almost tender and still surrounded with some liquid.

Stir 400g frozen seafood mix into the pan and cover with a lid. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the seafood is cooked through and the rice is tender.

Squeeze over the juice of ½ lemon, scatter with a handful of flat-leaf parsley and serve with wedges from the remaining ½ lemon.

Top tips/healthy swaps

Swap the chicken stock for a gluten free version to make this dish gluten free.

You can swap the seafood for chicken and chorizo to make it a meat paella.

Adding in peas is a great way to provide extra colour and fibre.

Vegan paella

This vegan paella is low in fat but high in taste - a real crowd pleaser!

Nutritional highlights

While this dish is light on protein it helps provides us with the energy we need to keep us going, and an abundance of fibre, which helps balance out cholesterol. One ingredient to note is the garlic, which is packed with a range of nutrients such as manganese and vitamin B6. Manganese is essential for our bodies and helps our metabolism control our blood sugar levels. Vitamin B6, also known as biotin, is used to produce serotonin, which may even help reduce symptoms of depression. Garlic also supplies us with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients making it great for reducing cancer and heart disease risk.

Ingredients

(Makes 5 servings)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Allergen advice: vegetable stock (wheat and may contain celery)

1 litre vegetable stock
1 tsp saffron threads
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, diced
1 pepper, cut into strips
5 cloves of garlic, chopped, minced or crushed
1 large tomato, diced
300g paella or risotto rice
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp sweet paprika
Pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme
200g peas

Directions

Add vegetable stock to a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat. Break up the saffron and add it to the stock. When it begins to simmer, leave for 1 minute for the saffron to infuse, then lower the heat just to keep it warm.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a 12-inch paella pan (or frying pan) over a medium heat. Once heated, and the onion and pepper. Sauté until softened and lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes.

Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Now add the tomatoes, smoked paprika, and sweet paprika. Sauté for 1-2 minutes.

Add the rice and remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and stir to coat well. Cook for 1 minute to lightly toast the rice and incorporate flavours, moving the contents of the pan around occasionally to prevent sticking.

Add the fresh thyme and slowly pour in stock mix. Do not stir after this point.

Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the stock to a heavy simmer for 1-2 minutes. Now turn the heat down to a mild simmer. You want to see movement in the pan while the stock is cooking down.

Simmer for 15-20 minutes until rice is al dente. Rotate the pan on the burner 1-2 times during cooking for even heat distribution.

Once the stock is nearly cooked off, you'll need to pay close attention to the socarrat forming on the bottom of the pan - this is he golden rice crust that's key to achieving an authentic result!

You'll start to hear a snap, crackle, and pop, and smell a nutty aroma. This should take 1-2 minutes to form. Stick a fork or spoon straight to the bottom to test there's a crust but don't let it burn (it can take a little practice to get this just right but it's worth it!)

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the peas to the top of the rice. Cover the pan with foil and let the paella rest for 5-8 minutes.

Top with fresh-cut parsley, cracked pepper and lemon wedges to serve.

Top tips/healthy swaps

Add meat or your preferred meat substitute to increase the protein content and add some bulk to the meal – chicken works great but don't forget to change the name of the dish!

To make it gluten free, swap out the vegetable stock for a gluten free alternative.

Further information

You can find lots more expert-led information on diet and nutrition, plus recipes that pack a healthy punch, in our diet and nutrition hub.

Or why not try some more classic dishes from some of our favourite Europpean holiday destinations:

A taste of France

A taste of Greece