saffron & samphire spanish paella

Paella de verduras. That’s “paella of vegetables”, which translates to an absolutely delicious vegetarian rice dish packed with flavour and hearty goodness.

Paella as we know it originated Valencia, Spain. It’s perhaps one of the most recognisable and famous Spanish dishes, famed for it’s use of golden saffron, ground peppers, and tasty rice – the most important ingredient. The original method of preparing paella traditionally utilises meats or popularly seafood – we are going to put a spin on the classic; preparing it with scrumptious green vegetables and adding samphire across the top which will give it a distinctive taste of the sea, thereby echoing and giving ode to the classic roots.


The samphire not only adds a touch of refinement, uniqueness and a refreshing salty taste to the dish, but also gives a nice crunch. Paella rice should be cooked until perfectly soft and each grain has soaked up the broth, coating it in flavour, the base should be perfectly crisped, and all textures should work in harmony. With a little lemon squeezed over your portion .. perfection.

In my opinion paella is best served outside on a nice sunny spring day, still in it’s pan so everyone can help themselves, talk about life and laugh over a meal that just tastes like the sun and summer and all things good.

Vegetarian Paella with Samphire

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

A vegetable paella with a taste of the sea


  • Olive Oil
  • 200g Paella Rice
  • Handle of samphire
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Bell Pepper
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 tin of tomatoes, or fresh tomatoes
  • 3 mushrooms or more, as required
  • Homemade vegetable stock (mild), or water
  • 4 Garlic cloves
  • Pinch saffron
  • 2 tbsp Smoked Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Few sprigs of thyme


  1. Boil a little water and set it aside in a small bowl. Take the pinch of saffron and leave it to soak until instructed to use.
  2. Prepare your vegetables. Chop the onion, garlic, bell pepper, fennel and tomatoes, if using, finely. Slice the mushrooms. Remove the ends for the asparagus and slice into rounds, leaving the tips intact.
  3. In a wide and deep frying pan, add a splash of olive oil and sauté the onion until translucent, stirring with a wooden spoon. When cooked, add the garlic, bell pepper, and fennel, frying until aromatic. If you are using fresh tomatoes, add these at this stage and ½ cup water.
  4. If using tinned tomatoes, add them now and stir.
  5. Tip in the paella rice – water should partly cover.
  6. Now add saffron (and water), smoked paprika, and the thyme leaves & sprigs. Leave it to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  7. Now add the remaining water to the paella and leave it to cook for about 15 minutes, covered. It’s imperative that you don’t stir, but do check regularly to make sure the rice is not cooking completely dry. The crispy later on the bottom is known as “socarrat” and an essential part of the paella, so don’t scrape it away.
  8. While paella is cooking, gently fry the chopped mushrooms until cooked but not browned.
  9. For the last 5 minutes, add the chopped asparagus and mushrooms, and then cover again.
  10. Serve in the pan and garnish with sliced lemon for everyone to tuck into.




22 Comments Add yours

  1. jyo says:

    Very interesting recipe…love to try sometime 👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I love rice dishes …


  2. Oh what a delicious recipe! I have never tasted a vegetarian paella! I am definitely going to try this recipe as soon as possible!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Please do .. I can guarantee you will definitely love a vegetarian paella!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sandhya says:

    Ellanor, what a great idea to have a vegetarian paella. Great party dish! Your paella photos are awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Shreya says:

    Superb Dish 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It sounds delicious Ellanor! I love rice and your paella looks amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! 💓 I’m a bit obsessed with rice 🍚, whatever kind it is!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gorgeous recipe! Paella is one of my favorites. Just letting you know that I have nominated you for that Blogger Recognition Award. Feel free to check it out:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for thinking of me Nick. I am honoured and I really appreciate it, will definitely check it out and also some of the other blogs you nominated! And yes, paella is a favourite for sure. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Gracias Megala 😉 . Have you tried paella before?


      1. Megala says:

        Never! But we make something similar here in India with Basmati rice!!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Have never had paella but have heard, read and seen so much about it on telly. This looks amazing! Gotta try soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mallika! The best thing is, you can substitute whichever vegetables you like and it will still be just as tasty! Let me know what you think when you try 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Will surely do! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Hamdzinski says:

    Great dish !!😍

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s