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Veggie Paella w/ Saffron & Orange

March 31, 2011

Veggie Paella w/ Saffron & Orange

Seems I’ve been inspired by seafood recipes lately, first a vegetarian salt & pepper squid and now a vegetarian recipe for the classic dish paella. My brother and Rhi quite often talk of the amazing paella they ate while on holiday in Spain and I’m never able to stop myself from drooling thinking of how delicious it must have been.

I would love to travel to Spain, the scenery, the culture, history and of course the food all holds a fascination for me that maybe one day I will get a chance to experience. Until then I will have to settle with attempting to recreate Spanish style dishes here at home.

For this vegetarian paella recipe I used roasted pumpkin with sugar snap peas and then added roasted orange segments, saffron and dry roasted pistachio nuts for a truly aromatic finish, yum! Cooking paella is reasonably simple providing you have a large heavy based frying pan. If you only have a smallish one you could always halve the recipe if cooking for two people.

Use a good quality homemade or store brought stock to get the best flavor and a nice sweet pumpkin like kent or butternut (squash). Try serving this wonderful healthy vegetable paella with a little aioli(ish) mayo or aioli if you enjoy eggs and a good squeeze of fresh orange or lemon, so good!!

Veggie Paella w/ Saffron & Orange

Veggie Paella w/ Saffron & Orange

Preparation Time: 55mins // Serves: 4

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  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • ½ tbs Greek (spice) seasoning
  • 1 kg (2lb) piece of pumpkin, peeled and diced into 2½cm (1 inch) pieces
  • 1 large orange, skinned and cut into segments
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • ¼ tsp saffron treads
  • ¼ cup hot water
  • 1½ cups Arborio (risotto) rice
  • 1 lt vegetable stock
  • 120g (4 oz) sugar snap peas
  • 30g (1 oz) pistachio nuts, dry roasted in a hot pan for a few minutes

Pre-heat the oven to around 200°C/392°F

Combine the saffron with the ¼ cup of hot water, set aside.

Toss the pumpkin pieces in a large bowl with about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the greek seasoning until well coated. Arrange the pumpkin pieces on a roasting tray, spreading evenly and roast in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes.

Remove the pumpkin from the oven, give the tray a shake and toss the pumpkin pieces around. Scatter over the orange segments and return to the oven for 5 more minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Meanwhile bring the stock to boil in a saucepan, turn off the heat cover with a lid and set aside.

In a large heavy based frying pan heat the remaining olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) over a medium heat, add the onion and fry for a few minutes until soft. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute.

Add the tomato paste and saffron mixture stirring over a medium heat until combined. Add the rice and toss to coat well.

Add about half the stock shaking the pan occasionally to make sure the rice is evenly spread across the bottom. Cook the paella over a medium/high heat allowing the rice to absorb all the liquid and a crust to begin to form on the bottom.

Add the remaining stock and the sugar snap peas, do not stir the paella and turning down the heat a little allow the rice to absorb the liquid, this should take around 10-15 minutes.

Keeping an eye on the paella add the roasted pumpkin and orange towards the end when there is still a little liquid to be absorbed, tucking the pumpkin and orange in carefully with a wooden spoon being careful not to disturb the crust forming on the bottom.

Once all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice tender, toss over the dry roasted pistachio nuts and again tuck them in carefully. Remove the paella from the heat and allow to sit covered for 10 minutes to allow the crust to crisp up.

Serve the paella with wedges of orange and/or lemon and a little aioli(ish) mayo or aioli.

A delicious vegetarian meal full of wonderful flavor and texture that everyone will enjoy; perfect for a family meal or when entertaining.

Veggie Paella w/ Saffron & Orange

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  • Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul March 31, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    I have to make this soon. The orange, squash and saffron make an interesting combination in paella. Oh, and the pictures are so pretty!

  • Sally - My Custard Pie March 31, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Another one of your wonderful recipes that I am printing out right now. The colour of this alone just cheers you up.

  • Laura Cooke March 31, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    This looks delicious – is there anything one could use instead of saffron though? Or could you just leave it out?

  • Roxan April 1, 2011 at 1:16 am

    Trudy this looks delicious and filling! I really love that you used pumpkin in here, I think it adds a nice twist! Like you, I’d love to go to spain someday – last year I wanted to go but decided to go with the less-expensive version in Argentina. Still, would really love to go there someday.

  • Jennifer (Delicieux) April 1, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Oooh this looks so delicious! The orange is an interesting addition but a lovely fragrant one.

    I’d love to travel to Spain too. Along with a long list of other places. Luckily we can explore new countries in our kitchens!

  • Trudy ~ Veggie num num April 1, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Hi Jenne :) it is rather an interesting combination for a paella but I hope you do try it soon and thank you!!

    He-he thanks Sally, i love all the burnt orange colours in this too, hope you enjoy the paella :)

    Hi Laura, saffron has a rather unique flavour that I really love in this dish but you could leave it out or maybe substitute with a little turmeric and/or maybe even a little cinnamon, let me know if you try it, I’d be interested to see what you use and how it tastes 😀

    Argentina sounds pretty good too Roxan :) so happy you like the look of this dish!!

    It’s true Jennifer we are lucky that our taste-buds at least can travel without even leaving home 😀

  • AZ April 1, 2011 at 12:08 pm


    I don’t think I’ve ever seen Greek seasoning here in the states, what would be a good substitute?

    Thank you!

    P.S. I love your dishes

  • Trudy ~ Veggie num num April 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Hi AZ the Greek seasoning I used was a combination of paprika, salt, garlic, thyme, oregano, pepper and cayenne pepper so you could whip up something similar or use your own combination of spices. A simple sprinkle of paprika and maybe a little oregano would be perfect. Hope this is helpful and super glad to hear you’re loving Veggie num num 😀

  • Reka April 3, 2011 at 8:19 am

    I love vegetarian recipes! Thanks for posting this! :)

  • chow vegan April 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Such a beautiful color! I’ve only had paella a couple of times and I would love to try making it at home. Thanks so much for the recipe! :-)

  • K April 3, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    I think I’d come across your blog before but hadn’t realised that it was an aussie blog, going to add it to the list of aussie veg blogs on our blog.

    Btw, we are making the lentil bolognese right now, will write a review once we have sampled it.

  • Mahli April 5, 2011 at 8:27 am

    I’ve always wanted to make paella but never came across a decent looking vegan version. I made this on the weekend and it was just so so yum! Everything about this dish worked i really recommend it to everyone!

  • janet April 7, 2011 at 11:43 am

    This looks like an incredibly flavourful dish. I like the combination of sweet orange in your savoury dish. Thanks for letting us know what’s in your Greek seasoning, since I have never heard of it either.

  • Trudy ~ Veggie num num April 8, 2011 at 11:30 am

    My pleasure Reka and Chow Vegan, hope you try the paella soon!

    Thanks K!! hope the bolognese turned out delish!!

    Yay Mahli!! Super happy to hear it!! Thanks so much for dropping in and for the lovely feedback!!

    I love the sweetness of fruit in savoury dishes, so glad you like the look of the paella Janet and I hope you try it soon!!

  • Kirsty April 16, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Absolutely fantastic!! I made this last week and loved it. I didn’t end up with a crust on the bottom because I was scared of burning it – I won’t be so worried next time.

  • Trudy ~ Veggie num num May 20, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Hi Kirsty!! Thanks for dropping by, so glad you loved this paella!! I’m looking forward to making it again soon too 😀

  • With Style and Grace August 4, 2011 at 3:22 am

    So happy to have discovered your site and can’t wait to try some of your recipes, especially this veggie Paella!!