Vegetarian Paella is without a doubt the easiest way to cook for a crowd and keep things veggie based (and inexpensive!) Trust me, you need this and you can thank me later!
This stunned of a vegetarian paella popped up in the Paella Party menu that I put together! It's the perfect way to feed a bunch of vegetarians AND meat lovers and it also happens to be dairy free / nut free / vegan etc! Check out the Paella Party details here for the full menu and lots of inspiration!
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 1 large red onion diced
- 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 orange bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 small fennel bulb thinly sliced
- 1 large Japanese eggplant cut into 2-inch pieces
- 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms stemmed and halved or quartered
- Kosher salt
- 6 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika
- ½ cup dry sherry
- 3 cups short-grain rice
- 6-8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- ½ teaspoon saffron threads
- 8 green onions both ends trimmed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 lemons quartered
- Heat the olive in a 15-inch paella pan over medium-high. Add onion, bell peppers and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and mushrooms and cook caramelized, about 8 minutes more. Add garlic and paprikas and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Carefully add sherry, bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring constantly, until pan is almost dry, about 3 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is coated and starting to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in 6 cups of broth and saffron and season with salt. Bring broth to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until rice is nearly full cooked. If the rice is still al dente, add an extra cup of broth and continue to cook. Remove from heat (cover with foil) and let rice steam 10 minutes.
- While paella cooks, heat a grill pan or skillet over medium-high. Separately, toss green onions with 1 tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. Char the green onions, turning occasionally, until greens are charred and bulbs are tender, about 5 minutes. Char or grill lemons until charred, about 1 minute per side.
- Tuck the green onions into the paella. Squeeze lemon juice on top. Place remaining lemons alongside the paella and serve.