This easy vegan version of the popular Spanish Paella recipe is bursting with spices, filled with stunning colors, and is mouthwateringly fragrant! It is a meat-less and fish-free one-pan dish that captures all the comforting, robust, and warm flavors of the traditional Valencian rice dish.
Easy Vegan Paella Recipe
If you are looking for a dish designed for feeding a crowd but can be made in just 30 minutes, then you are in for a treat! Make this delicious vegan Paella for your family and friends and watch as everyone – vegan, vegetarian or not – scramble for a heaping of this Spanish dish on their plates. It is made of tender, fluffy rice and veggies coated with aromatic and earthy spices made more substantial with artichoke hearts and crispy tofu cubes.
What is Paella?
Traditional Paella originated from Valencia. It is a rice-based dish intensely flavored with different herbs and spices then simmered in broth until they are nice and tender. It is usually made with meat, sausages, fish and seafood. In this version, I used tofu seasoned with turmeric and tamari sauce as plant-based protein source. In addition, the leeks, artichoke hearts, and Kalamata olives make it super flavorful, satisfying and belly-filling too.
What you need to make a Vegan Paella
- Paella Rice: if you want to make your dish as authentic as possible, use high quality Bomba Rice, or Arroz Bomba as the locals call it. This type of rice is ideal for the dish because it absorbs way better than other types of rice without getting mushy or sticky. This means you will have a super flavorful yet fluffy dish. The nearest type of rice with almost the same superior quality is Calasparra rice. These may not be as easy to purchase as other rice types, but they are available to order online.
- Sofrito: this is the term for the typical sauce base when cooking Spanish dishes. It is a mixture of tomatoes, olive oil, onions, garlic, and bell peppers.
- Other Veggies: I used leeks, peas, artichoke hearts, and Kalamata olives. However, you can add other veggies as you please.
- Tofu: for other plant protein options, you can also use meaty mushrooms, seitan, or tempeh.
- Liquids: vegetable broth and white wine. I deglazed the pan with white wine to release the caramelized bits stuck on the pan after sautéing. This will ensure every bit of flavor goes into the dish! If you do not want to use wine, you can use more broth to deglaze the pan instead.
- Spices and Seasonings: This recipe calls for paprika powder, turmeric, saffron powder, tamari sauce, salt, and pepper. These warm, peppery and sweet spices also give the signature golden color of the dish.
- Garnishes: I use parsley, lemon slices, and sesame seeds but feel free to use your favorites!
How to make Vegan Paella
As always, I recommend checking out the recipe video and this step-by-step instruction first. Then you can find the full recipe with exact measurements in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Sauté the veggies and cook the paella
Start by sautéing the onions and garlic for 1-2 minutes. Then add leeks, bell peppers and rice and cook for further 2-3 minutes. Next, add spices and rice and sauté for a few seconds. Then deglaze with the white wine and let it cook for 1 minute. Now add the vegetable broth and the tomatoes, and let it simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, stirring occasionally.
Step 2: Make crispy tofu
Meanwhile, press the tofu dry, cut into small cubes and fry in the remaining oil for about 3 minutes on all sides. Then season with a bit of turmeric and deglaze with Tamari sauce. Stir a few times until the tofu is golden brown and crispy.
Step 3: Assemble and serve!
Finally, add the tofu, peas, artichoke hearts and olives into the paella. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with lemon sliced and fresh parsley. Cover the paella and let it rest for another 5 minutes to allow the flavors to develop. Done!
What pan to use?
Any paella-loving person may already have a paella pan in their kitchen. Yes, this dish has its own pan! It deliberately has a wide and flat bottom so that rice touches the hot surface as much as possible. This helps creates a crunchy, golden crust at the bottom called Socarrat, the most favored part of the dish! However, if you do not have one, but want to try this dish out, you can use any flat-bottomed wide pan preferably a non-stick type.
How to store leftovers
Leftover vegan paella can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days making it perfect for meal prepping. Make sure to place it in a sealed container to keep it as fresh and moist as possible. Reheat using either a microwave or a stovetop. You may need adding a little water or veggie broth.
You will love this Vegan Paella because it is:
- A quick and easy one-pan dish
- Highly customizable
- Seriously filling
- Great for sharing with family and friends!
- Ideal for potlucks and parties
- Perfect for lunch oder dinner!
More easy vegan recipes with rice to try
- Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
- Yaki Onigiri (Crispy Rice Balls)
- Japanese Tofu Katsu
- Chinese Eggplant with Chili Garlic Sauce
- General Tso’s Tofu with Sweet-Sour Sauce
- Vegan Chili sin Carne
- Crispy Sesame Tofu with Tahini Peanut Sauce
- Vegan Sushi
- Korean Bibimbap with crispy Tofu
- Kimchi Fried Rice
- Creamy Mushroom Risotto
- Vegan Tomato Risotto
If you try this easy vegan Spanish paella recipe, feel free to leave a comment and a star rating! And if you take a picture of your Spanish rice dish and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Enjoy!
Vegan Spanish PaellaAuthor:
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 small stick leek
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 7 oz paella rice
- ½ cup (120 ml) vegan white wine or more vegetable broth
- 1 ½ cups (360 ml) vegetable broth
- 2 tomatoes chopped
- 7 oz (200 g) tofu
- 1 cup (150 g) peas
- 1 jar (165 g) artichoke hearts 5.8 oz drained weight
- 10 Kalamata olives
- 1 bunch parsley
- 1 organic lemon sliced or quartered
- sesame seeds optional
*Note: Check out the recipe video + step-by-step instructions in the blog post above!
- Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and sauté the onions and garlic for 1-2 minutes.
- Now add the leeks, bell peppers and rice and cook for further 2-3 minutes. Then add saffron, 1 tsp turmeric and paprika powder and sauté for a few seconds. Then deglaze with the white wine and let it cook for 1 minute.
- Now add the vegetable broth and the tomatoes, cover the pan with a lid and let everything simmer for about 20 minutes until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, press the tofu dry, cut into small cubes and fry in the remaining oil for about 3 minutes on all sides. Then season with the remaining ½ tsp turmeric and deglaze with the tamari sauce. Stir a few times until the tofu is golden brown and crispy.
- Then stir the tofu, peas, artichoke hearts and olives into the paella. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with lemon sliced and fresh parsley. Cover the paella and let it rest for another 5 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
- Finally, sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired and serve. Enjoy your meal!
- Please read my blog post for more information about ingredients, storing, freezing, and helpful tips!
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