General Question

GloPro's avatar

Can you help me fine tune my paella?

Asked by GloPro (8248 points ) May 28th, 2014 from iPhone

Calling all foodies! I have some friends coming into town. One of them is a gluten-free vegan who is also allergic to onion and garlic. I have decided to make a vegetarian paella.

What veggies would you recommend? What spices have you tried?

This is my first paella. Any advice or suggestions are most welcome. Thank you!

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28 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

While you listen to this by Donavan, consider that you are asking to alter a recipe to exclude most of its key ingredients.

You can sauté vegetables to be included, tomatoes, peas, maybe various fungi, maybe chunks of portabellas, in olive oil, then add it to the rice base with any juice or sauce left from the vegetables. And include parsley and bay leaf and of course saffron.

But seriously, consider making something else, because it won’t be paella. Paella is wonderful because of the contrast between chicken and fish highlighted by onions and garlic and the saffron.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@GloPro That is a pretty good stretch to try something like that for the first time for guests. Are you sure you want to try it? If you do I’ll see what I can find. I’ve never made it.

ibstubro's avatar

In all seriousness, I would ask the “gluten-free vegan who is also allergic to onion and garlic” if they would care to supervise the meal preparation. Telling them that if they care to send recipes/an ingredient list, I will have all the ingredients and plenty of wine on hand, and we can socialize as we prepare the meal.

Personally, from my viewpoint as a vegetarian who was once an excellent cook, I’d as soon eat boiled toilet paper as try to cook without anything but raw veggies and rice.

You have the opportunity to enlighten everyone present and build in the entertainment.

I know there’s gluten free vodka, too! BLOODY MARYS!!

gailcalled's avatar

Without onions, garlic, chicken and sea food, it is not paella.

I just had a wonderful meal but there is a little cheese. My hosts baked corn tortillas brushed with a little olive oil and a teeny amount of grated cheese, then filled them with plain old brown rice and black beans (cooked in separate pots on the stove). Sliced avocados as a side dish. Sliced cherry tomatoes and organic cukes with the skins on, vinaegrette (and feta cheese as an add-on for those who like it).

JLeslie's avatar

In my paella I put roasted red pepper and peas. I actually like the Lucerne canned peas for it, but I use frozen sometimes too. The red and green look nice in the Saffron yellow rice. Maybe asparagus would work with it? And, mini corn on the cobs.

GloPro's avatar

I’ve had vegan paella before and it was incredible. That’s why it came to mind.

Rice is gluten free, and I purchased specialty short grained Spanish rice. Saffron, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Crushed fire-roasted tomatoes and vegetable broth. That’s basically the base.

The veggies I chose include asparagus, poblano pepper, and artichoke in the rice, and roasted cauliflower, broccoli an red bell peppers layed on top to finish it.

I’ll let you know how it turns out. Hopefully it will compare somewhat to the vegan paella I had a year ago. I didn’t realize making a veggie paella would be so unusual.

If she doesn’t like it she can forage for her own dinner.

downtide's avatar

I don’t think you can do even a vegan paella without at least garlic. But, call it a “risotto” and add other things instead. I was vegetarian for many years and I would often make a veggie “paella” using Quorn to substitute for the chicken and wakame (seaweed) to substitute for the fish. Wakame is awesome. You could also use smoked tofu to substitute the meat.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

This “gluten-free vegan,” by definition, has eliminated anything resembling paella from their diet. The sad, sad truth is: some things just can’t be done. No onions? No garlic? They can’t even have the arroz amarillo, which must be cooked in chicken broth with garlic or it will taste no different than Uncle Ben’s. If this diet is voluntary, they are out of their minds. They need to move to Minnesota and eat boiled potatoes and cauliflower like everybody else up there where life isn’t really longer, it just seems longer. But hold the lutefisk. Can’t have lutfisk.

JLeslie's avatar

I never put garlic in my paella and my Mexican MIL thinks mine is delicious. I make chicken broth from scratch so the salt is perfect, and then use that for the rice with saffron of course. The other flavors from the meats and seafood add to the flavor of the rice. The sausage I guess has some garlic in it, so that contributes, but I don’t add any extra. Without the meat the flavor of the paella will be different, but it still can be good. Instead of chicken broth use a veggie broth and just make sure the salt and saffron are to taste and add garlic if you want to.

There is nothing stopping a vegan from adding garlic anyway, unless they are like my husband and I who use as little garlic as possible or none in basically everything we cook.

GloPro's avatar

Apparently she gets a rash and bloats. I personally think she’s full of crap, but it’s her boyfriend I’m good friends with, and they are traveling all the way from South Africa to say hello, so I’ll do my best to accommodate.

@downtide I was considering garbanzo beans to up the protein, but tofu sounds like a great idea. At what point would I add it so that it wouldn’t disintegrate into the dish?

JLeslie's avatar

You could used shelled edamame for protein. I know it is from a different cuisine, but it will add to the color. Garbanzo beans sound good too. Also, pink kidney beans might work.

GloPro's avatar

I do like the idea of a more firm bean vs. tofu because the rice I bought absorbs 3 times the liquid of long grain rice. It will be creamy, so the crunch would be a nice texture compliment.

JLeslie's avatar

A creamy rice will be like risotto. Maybe just call it a risotto? Possibly make it a first course or a side dish?

GloPro's avatar

If I make it a first course or side dish what in the heck do I make as a main course for a gluten free vegan allergic to onion and garlic? I picked that cause it’s pretty filling. I figured I’d pair it with an artichoke, grape tomato, and arugula or romaine salad.

JLeslie's avatar

LOL. With the salad I think you are all set. You could do the salad first or last and then a dessert, if you want to do it in courses, but it isn’t necessary. Put out some appetizers when they first arrive, which will take some of the stress off of serving a large meal. Nuts to nosh on, gluten free pita and humus, potato chips with veggie dip made with fake sour cream, are just a few suggestions.

There are many gluten free vegan cookies in most grocery stores now. Babycakes is the ultimate for gluten free vegan. Their regular brownies are unbelievable. They have a cookbook too. You might think about it as a gift for them if you are interested in giving them something. Although, that would be not expected at all. If anything they will bring you something.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@GloPro, looks like you’ve got it covered for now. Sounds like a great meal, and I am an omnivore!

But just for sheets and greens, I have a recipe I’ve used a couple times, and it came out great.

This is my variation on a recipe I found on-line some time ago by one Professor Jose Martinez, from Cornell University He states that ”... paella is a no-garlic, no-onion, no-pea, no-bell-pepper, no-mussel, no-sausage, no-chorizo course.” That being said, I have substituted red and green bell peppers for the beans in his original version, and have added optional peas and mushrooms. This is the link to his original recipe, and what follows below is my variation:

Ingredients
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil;
4 oz tofu, firm, finely diced or crumbled
1 cube vegetable boullion (or 8 oz broth)
1 ea red and green bell peppers, diced
½ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
4 oz peas (optional)
Mushrooms, chopped (optional)
2 cp pearl rice (or short grain white…brown rice may also be substituted, adjust water and cooking time as needed. Avoid aromatics such as Basmati)
1 tsp (to taste) sweet paprika (pimentón dulce) (make sure that it is not hot paprika!)
½ tsp saffron (or substitute 1 tsp turmeric to still get the yellow color on the rice)
1–2 sprigs Fresh rosemary
3½ cp Water or veggie broth (enough to add to broth used to marinate tofu for a total of 4 cp liquid)
Salt (to taste)

In advance
Marinate tofu in broth (refrigerated) for at least 4 hours. Save liquid

Procedure
In a heavy saucepan, heat enough olive oil to barely cover bottom of pan to medium heat.
Add bell peppers, saute for a couple minutes; add peas, mushrooms (if using) and tomatoes; crumble or cube tofu, save broth; add tofu then paprika, saffron, rosemary and salt. cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add rice, mix thoroughly to coat rice, then add broth and/or water. Bring to boil, lower heat to simmer, and cook per rice directions.

Serves 4

ibstubro's avatar

You might get great results from @Yetanotheruser‘s recipe if, when it comes time to simmer, you pour it in a pan, cover tightly, and bake at, say, 350°. More even and more attention to your guests.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@ibstubro Thanks. I just might try that next time. It’s the old Jambalya trick.

gailcalled's avatar

Every time I see this question, I think it is asking about a patella. Now, that I am an expert on.

ibstubro's avatar

That’s how we made the rice at the Cajun restaurant I worked at, @Yetanotheruser. Saute the veggies, then dump the rice and broth into a pan and bake. Very consistent and trouble free. If you get the oven temp and time right, it’s much easier than setting the stove top, IMO.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Let her eat watermelon.

GloPro's avatar

Well, regardless of what I would call it, it came out great and I will definitely do it again.

I roasted asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli with olive oil and garam masala spice. I sautéed the poblano, then added fire roasted tomatoes and a box of frozen artichoke hearts. Once the hearts were thawed I added a tablespoon of tomato paste, the calrose rice, and cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. I sautéed that for like 5 minutes and added vegetable broth I had warmed in the microwave with the saffron to infuse it.

I mixed in the roasted veggies and baked the whole thing for about 40 minutes.

Next time I will maybe add sun dried tomatoes. I like the idea of chick peas or soybeans to up the protein.

It was easy, tasty, and filling.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m trying to imagine…If I had some sort of allergy I would let them know (so that they perhaps could avoid putting garlic in the potatoes or something,) but I would NOT expect them to make an entire meal to suit just me. I would just eat whatever I could out of whatever was offered.

I admire you for going to all of that work @GloPro. Sounds delish!

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@GloPro Sounds delicious! Did you like it as well?

GloPro's avatar

@Dutchess_III I love to cook, and I haven’t found it to be difficult to fine tune a meal so that everyone can enjoy it equally. I’ve accommodated low sodium, kosher, vegan, allergies, etc. for a number of friends in the past. This friend was pretty easy to accommodate, too. The next night we went out to a pizza place and the host of our dinner ordered for everyone. She ordered my friend a gluten free margarita pizza but forgot to mention no garlic. I literally watched my friend rash and bloat up. She was miserable.

@Yetanotheruser I really did like it. I will add the garlic and onions next time, assuming I won’t have to deal with allergies. I think it would complete an already good dish.

downtide's avatar

@GloPro that sounds really nice! I will have a go at something similar for myself (with garlic though!)

JLeslie's avatar

No garlic is so difficult at restaurants. My husband and I order no garlic often, and they screw it up a lot. If I had a severe allergy to it I would be dead. There have been times I have bitten into my entree thinking it was mushrooms, that’s how much garlic was in the dish, and how easy it would have been to omit it.

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