Late Summer Cooking: Vegetable Paella

Late Summer’s bounty is something to be admired. During these few weeks, the earth gives one last burst of Qi to produce fruits, vegetables and herbs that are ripe for the picking. Turn those foods–and others you may have on hand–into this mouthwatering, one-pot paella. Don’t feel the need to follow this recipe too closely. Let your intuition guide you!


Vegetable Paella

3 Tablespoons olive oil

4 large carrots, chopped

1 bunch scallions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, diced

2 cups short-grain (paella) or medium-grain (sushi) rice

4 1/2 cups hot water mixed with 1/2 teaspoon mushroom seasoning

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon celery salt

2 teaspoons taco seasoning

2 teaspoons saffron threads, crushed

Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste

3 cups of chopped vegetables, such as fresh zucchini, frozen peas and artichoke hearts

1/2 cup fresh chopped basil



Heat a flat-bottomed cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and after a few seconds, add the carrots and scallions. Saute 2-3 minutes and then mix in the garlic. Season with salt.

Add the rice to the skillet, mixing well so the rice is coated. Lower the heat slightly and cook 2-3 minutes longer. Stir in 1 cup of hot water and the tomato paste. Mix to loosen the rice from the bottom of the pan.

Add celery salt, taco seasoning, crushed saffron, salt and pepper to the skillet. Then mix in the chopped vegetables, making sure all of the rice and vegetables are evenly incorporated.

Slowly pour the rest of the seasoned water into the skillet. Bring to a simmer and cook (uncovered) until the rice is al dente, about 20 minutes.

Top your finished dish with fresh basil and serve immediately.

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