Vegetable Quinoa Paella

Definitely not aiming for authenticity here; it’s cooked in my wok. But the paella concept is great for leftover vegetables and not much energy to cook fancy.

I’ve had authentic paella, cooked for me by the generous and motherly mother of a Spanish friend, in her 800-year-old family farmhouse in the Basque Country of Spain, in the late 1990s.

This recipe is the Frankenstein’s monster of paella, bits sourced from lots of recipes and a vague memory, and a continual refinement of ingredients until I get a finished product that works (for me).

On a low-carb high-fat recipe blog, this carb-laden meal still has its place. On hard training days, with 2 hard hours or 3 or 4 long hours on the bike, carbohydrates are restorative. And, so I’ve read, for a female athlete in particular, too few carbs can contribute to hormone problems. But, when you review the ingredients, the majority of the dish is vegetables anyway.

This recipe makes four servings, one each for us for dinner and one each for leftovers the next day (his being a bigger serve than mine).


2 tbsp olive oil (not extra virgin, just ordinary)
1 medium red onion, diced
1 large red capsicum, diced
2 cups small whole mushrooms (or 2 cups diced mushrooms)
3 shallots, white and green parts, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 1/4 cup of paella rice (or basmati or arborio, if handier)
4 cups hot vegetable stock (2 cubes worth)
1 cup hot water
2 small bay leaves
1 large head of broccoli (or 2 small heads) chopped into 2-3cm florets
1 cup frozen peas (or peas & corn mix)
Any other chopped vegetables you might want: carrots, zucchini, green beans.


Lightly fry the mushrooms, onions, and capsicum until bronzed and softened. Add the shallots and keep frying for a few minutes.

Add the garlic, paprika, turmeric and rice, and toss for a minute or so until the rice is oil-slicked and combined with the vegetables.

Poor in the vegetable stock and water, and add the bay leaves. Clamp on a lid and let it simmer for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, add the broccoli and peas (and corn and other chopped vegetables, if using). Put the lid back on and let it simmer another 10 mins.

Then turn off the heat, and let it continue to steam itself with the lid on, for 10 to 20 minutes.

Like I said, not an authentic paella, but certainly inspired by one. Easy, tasty, restoring.

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