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Vegetarian Paella is a delicious flavorful classic Spanish rice dish that is hearty and filling — perfectly cooked rice with saffron and vegetables. |

Vegetarian Paella

  • Author: Sam Hu | Ahead of Thyme
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Vegetarian Paella is a delicious and flavorful classic Spanish rice dish that is savory, hearty, and filling. Perfectly cooked rice gets dressed up with saffron, smoked paprika, and a variety of tender vegetables. 


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup canned quartered artichokes, drained
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 cup Paella rice (Bomba rice)
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon chives or green onions


  1. Heat oil in a 10-inch paella pan or large skillet over medium-high heat until the hot oil is sizzling hot, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add cherry tomatoes and sauté until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add onion, garlic, bell pepper and zucchini and cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Stir in paprika and tomato paste. Mix well until evenly distributed.
  5. Add artichokes, olives and rice, and mix evenly. Slowly pour the vegetable stock into the pan and sprinkle in the crushed saffron. Stir gently until the rice is evenly distributed (The ideal liquid to rice ratio is 3:1). Then, season with salt and pepper. 
  6. Cook uncovered on medium-high heat until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, about 20-22 minutes.
  7. Turn off the heat and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Let it rest for 6-8 minutes until the rice is al dente. The rice should be tender yet firm.
  8. Sprinkle with chives and serve warm.


How to store: Transfer leftover paella into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4-5 days. 

How to reheat: Reheat on the stovetop over medium heat until warmed through. You can also reheat in the microwave in 30 second increments until warm.

How to freeze: Store the cooled paella in a freezer safe container or freezer bag or divide it into portions and place the portions in freezer safe meal prep containers. Freeze for up to 2 months. Allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating on the stovetop.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Rice
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Spanish

Keywords: vegetarian paella, vegetarian spanish rice, vegan paella, vegetable rice