Rice, it's one of my favorite dishes. I eat it steamed, fried, and even baked, but when I realized that a serving constituted a meager 1/3 cup of rice, I was devastated. How could I get full off of THAT amound of rice? Add fresh veggies, of course as they have a huge fullness factor. Now when it comes to rice, I'm a bit of a purest. I prefer it plain; steamed to perfection. What I began to notice about rice, no matter how much I consumed, was it wasn't very filling. I found myself wanting to eat again just a short while after consuming it. I wondered what gave, and soon came to realize that the outer husk of whole grain rice (we know it as brown rice) had been removed, well that is exactly where all of the fiber was located, and by removing the fiber, its nutritional value decreased significantly. What was I going to do? White rice was a staple in my diet and all of the brown rice I remembered eating was somewhat tough and unpleasant to eat.
How could I spruce up this brown rice? What seasoning could be paired with it to bring out its nutty and earthy flavor? Paella is what came to mind. I remembered a seasoning I'd use when I used to make arroz con pollo, this was of course, before I converted to veganism :). The rice gets its vibrant color from a beautiful spice called saffron. I used to make this with Sazon Goya but a friend alerted me that it's full of MSG. It's cheaper, but definitely not worth the risk of consuming a known carcinogen.
Vegetable paella is the perfect compliment to a voracious appetite. It's also a really good way to effortlessly sneak in a couple of servings of vegetables during a meal. This dish wakes up your tastebuds, splashes of green olives gives it the perfect balance. Now I must admit, I'm not at ALL a fan of green olives, but in this dish I LOVED them, so if you're turning your nose up right now, all I ask is that you try it with these little gems at least once. I think you'll be surprised at the flavor they add. I call this dish a paella because it tastes like paella. However, it isn't prepared in the traditional method a paella made. Let's dive into what you came here for...the recipe. Enjoy!
2 cups brown rice
3 3/4 cups water or low sodium vegetable broth
1/2 tsp safron
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, separated
1 small red onion, sliced
1 small red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/4 cup black olives, sliced
1/2 cup green olives, halved
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch broccolini
In a large saucepan add brown rice, water, and saffron. Bring mixture to a boil, give a quick stir, then reduce heat and allow to simmer until rice is just tender. Remove cooked rice from pan and add 1 tbsp olive oil, onions, and bell pepper to pan and bring heat up to a medium to high heat. Add salt to onions and bell pepper and cook until onions begin to sweat (appr 3 minutes). Add cooked rice back to saucepan along with remaining 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, stir and cook for two minutes. Add in frozen peas, olives, cherry tomatoes, and broccolini, cover and allow to cook on low for 5-7 minutes or until broccolini is al dente. Add more salt to taste. Serve warm.