Monday, April 5, 2010

Vegetable Paella with Seitan Sausage

This is a dish that I have made for many years. In the past it would have included chicken, chorizo sausage, shrimp and mussels. It tastes just as good to me now without the meat or copious amounts of olive oil that I used to use in the dish. You can make this without the seitan sausage but I think that makes it a little more authentic. I used smoked paprika in this dish because I love the stuff but regular sweet paprika is also fine. Here is what I did:

Vegetable Paella with Seitan Sausage
Serves 4


1 red onion, peeled, cut into quarters and then ½ inch slices
5 cloves garlic, peeled and finally minced (be certain to let it sit for 10 minutes so the allicin can develop before adding it to the hot pan)
¼ cup water to sauté the aromatics
2 seitan sausages, cut into bite size pieces (Italian or Chorizo... I will try to post the chorizo recipe tomorrow)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (sweet is also fine)
1 large pinch saffron
1 ½ cups brown rice (I used sprouted short grain brown rice)
3 cups water
2 roasted red pepper, diced
2 cups artichoke hearts, quartered (either canned and drained or defrosted from frozen)
¼ cup olives, pitted and sliced
½ cup chickpeas, to add protein (can be omitted)
½ cup peas (I was out of frozen peas but usually include them)
¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 lemon, cut into wedges for garnish
Salt and pepper for serving


Water sauté the onion and garlic until soft. Add the seitan sausage, paprika, saffron, rice and water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Then add the peppers, artichoke hearts, olives and chickpeas and cook until rice is finished. Add the green peas, parsley, lemon zest and juice once the rice is done. Serve with lemon wedges on the side and season each serving individually.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 486.29
Calories From Fat (8%) - 37.97

Total Fat - 4.5g
Saturated Fat - 0.67g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 364.3mg
Potassium - 719.65mg
Total Carbohydrates - 89.22g
Fiber - 12.49g
Sugar - 2.8g
Protein - 26.56g


If you are looking for a one pan dinner this is a winner. It reheats beautifully. I suppose you all know what is going in Dan’s lunch tomorrow. I serve this with a green salad so we get our raw veggies too. Because this is a rice based dish it is very filling in a healthy “stick to your ribs” sort of way. You could also add mushrooms to this and that would be great. I have made it with either fresh or dried mushrooms. Even time I make I think I should try adding cubes of baked tofu but never have. I think that would be wonderful in the dish. I used short grain rice in this dish since reading that the authentic versions are made with medium grain rice that is similar to Arborio in terms of texture. Short grain was a close as I could get with brown rice. I think this would also be good with barley in place of rice but I haven’t tried it yet. The fresh lemon juice and zest is what makes this dish, in my opinion. But I am a lemon fiend so that may be why I think that.

Each serving of this dish contains approximately 3,500IU of vitamin A, 140mg of calcium, 4.8mg of iron, 110mcg of folate, 65mcg of vitamin K, 325mg of phosphorus, 125mg of magnesium, and 25mcg of selenium.

You may have noticed that I didn’t add salt to the dish while it was cooking. I have been trying to reduce our sodium intake so we are trying to add salt to our servings instead of during cooking. I will let you know it that results in more or less sodium in our diet.

Unrelated note:

The weather was glorious today. We had a bright sunny day with a record breaking temperature of 87 today. I am certain that spring is here to stay now. The birds are outside singing and the bees are buzzing. It is the perfect weather day. Our overnight low is supposed to be 63 this evening. I am in heaven!

My latest goal is to make meals that are easy to reheat, or are best served raw. Dan’s schedule has been so unpredictable lately that I never know when he is going to get home from the office. To keep us from eating at 10pm I have decided to get our dinner made earlier so that it can be reheated when he gets home. This is not how I prefer to cook but it looks like it is going to be necessary for a while. I wanted to let you know since it may change the recipes you will be seeing. Tonight’s dinner was planned based on this notion. I made it in a short enameled cast iron pan with a tight lid so I could keep the entire dish (except the peas and parsley) warm in a 150 degree oven until Dan arrived.

Tomorrow I am going to try to get some work done in my garden. I have quite a muddy mess outside but if I don’t get out there soon the weeds will overtake the garden with the warm weather we have been having. I have a tremendous herb garden that I love. Herbs work well for me since they thrive on neglect. In the perennial herb garden I have: chocolate mint, lavender, rosemary, chives, pineapple sage, variegated sage, French tarragon, Greek oregano, Mexican oregano, variegated thyme, lemon thyme, fennel and dill. Additionally I plant a lot of parsley and basil each year. Normally I grow a few different veggies, but the bulk of our garden is really herbs. Since we belong to an organic CSA I find that herbs make more sense for us. Are any of you gardeners? What do you like to grow?


  1. Oh yes, yours looks SO much better than mine did. that flavor addition. YUM. We have chocolate mint too - mmmm smells so good.

  2. Heather,

    Thanks! :-) I did have an advantage on you since I have made the omni version many times in the past. Olives are a requirement in this for me. Capers would also be good in here if you are making it for someone that doesn't like olives.

    I love mint! You will see that turn up in many of my desserts in the summer. I will need to check my garden tomorrow and see if it has started to come up. It is about time for the little shoots to make an appearance.


  3. chocolate mint...really? i have been trying to find a stevia plant. my mint plant is stil alive after five months or so, maybe MAYBE im ready to add basil...but i dont know:)food looked wonderful of course!

  4. Wow, 87 degrees...time to hit the beach! The paella sounds like a great combo.

  5. You're right, Alicia, that IS something I'd love! You got me with the seitan AND the artichoke hearts, yum yum yum!

    I haven't gotten my tax refund yet...waiting patiently. I'm trying to decide which Vitamix to get. I don't think that I need the "super" package right now, but I have a feeling I might eventually want it. Which do you have?


  6. Michelle,

    Mint is fairly indestructible. Some people find it to be too invasive. Basil is more tempermental.

    Stevia was easy to grow, it is an annual in our climate. Don't know about where you are.

    Dan raved tonight you may want to add this to your mom and dad list.


    I know, the weather divine!

    Thanks so much. Since you lived in Spain it means a lot that you approve. :-)


  7. LJ,

    I thought you would like this. It is easy and omni approved. You should give it a try. I think you will enjoy it.

    I am not certain what you mean by the packages but I have a wet container and a separate dry container. Is that what you mean? I don't use my dry container often, but I do use it. That is something you could wait and pick up after the fact.


  8. Yep, that's exactly what I comes as a package deal. But thanks, it's nice to know that I can get the dry container later if/when I DO need it.


  9. LJ,

    You are very welcome. I can't wait for you to get the machine so we can share recipes. It will be great!


  10. Alright, I'm interested to know if you have hard evidence against salt, or is it just the general category of bad, because it isn't good and can be bad?

    Everything I've heard shows that it can be bad for certain people with certain problems, but there's no evidence it has a negative effect on the general population--have you heard something different?

    You always have such great insight on these things, since you do SO much research!

  11. Jenn,

    Salt consumption has been linked to high blood pressure, blood clots, heart attacks and stomach cancer to name few things. Additionally, salt causes calcium and other trace minerals to leach from the body which contributes to osteoporosis. Hemorrhagic strokes are also linked to salt consumption. Sorry to be such a downer. These are all the reasons we are working to reduce our salt intake. This is actually harder for us that giving up oil. I love salt, and so does Dan.


  12. This looks and sounds delicious, Ali. And mushrooms sound like a wonderful addition, too! (Spoken by a true mushroom fiend). :-)

    As for salt, with the exception of baked goods we too learned to add salt to our individual portions, rather than to the ingredients while cooking. You taste it a lot more, and so need much less. Perhaps this interesting Dr. McDougall article might add a little ray of light for a fellow salt-lover, though! ;-) According to his research, bearing in mind any special health concerns he mentions near the end, eating a whole-foods, plant-based, (very) low-fat diet like yours makes salt far less of a health concern. The main thing is to get rid of the meat, cheese and processed foods, but it still makes good sense to salt your servings and not dump salt you won't even taste into your cooking food (and they advocate this at Camp McD, too).

    Happy gardening! (It's snowing here again today! We get more snow in spring than we do in winter!) Give your plants a little pat on their heads for me! :-)

  13. Lalo,

    I don't think mushrooms are traditional but I like them in this. But I am like you and will put shrooms in anything. ;-)

    Thanks for the link I will check it out. I always love reading about this sort of thing!

    Sorry to hear you are getting snow again. I hope it stops soon!


  14. Wow - I love paella - your version looks fantastic! I find that when spring rolls around, our meals become much simpler, which is great for vegans anyway. The sun is up later, and we are all out doing things later in the day, so meals need to be fast and easy. I love herb gardens for the same reason you do - I can't wreck them!

  15. Holla,

    Thanks! We liked it a lot. My husband thought it was my best vegan paella yet.

    When the weather is nice it hard for me to stay in too. The warmer weather just seems to call me outside.

    Nice to know I am not the only one with a somewhat brown thumb. Herbs seem to be the only things I can reliably grow. I need things that thrive on some neglect. ;-)


  16. Ah, it's no bad news. I know salt is linked to dangerous stuff. But everything I've read links it along with overeating, convenience foods, and a sedentary lifestyle. I find it hard to believe it's the salt that's the leading factor, when thrown in a lineup like that! Of course, I'm not as hardcore on my diet as you and I use it moderately, I've got plenty of other vices to worry about! ;-)

  17. Jenn,

    The fact that got me was that the over consumption of salt (anything over 2200mg which is most people) was linked to an increase in heart attacks when there were no other risk factors (like high blood pressure, overweight or sedentary lifestyle). That was what pushed me to try to make a change.



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