Vegetarian Paella

I remember the first time I tried paella, OMG, it was absolutely phenomenal. I couldn’t get enough of it. It was paella that introduced me to this wonderful spice Saffron:

The spice originates from a flower called crocus sativus—commonly known as the “saffron crocus.” It is believed that saffron originated and was first cultivated in Greece, but today the spice is primarily grown in Iran, Greece, Morocco, and India…

Saffron is extremely subtle and fragrant. The slightly sweet, luxurious taste is totally enigmatic—it’s tricky to describe but instantly recognizable in a dish. As annoying as it is to say, you know it when you taste it.

Each flower produces only three threads (stigmas) of saffron, and it blooms for only one week each year. The saffron must be harvested—by hand!—in the mid-morning, when the flowers are still closed in order to protect the delicate stigmas inside. It takes about 1,000 flowers to produce just one ounce of saffron. That’s why you’ll pay $10 to $13 per gram for the real deal. To make sure you’re getting the best stuff, take a sniff—you want saffron that smells a bit like sweet hay. It should also have all red stigmas, no yellow stamens.

Saffron is truly one of my loves. I have even added it to ice cream and topped it with roasted pistachios, inspired by my friends from Morocco. In my opinion paella is not paella without saffron. I love making this dish out home and decided to try a vegan version and it didn’t disappoint. The great thing about this dish is you can add your favorite vegetables and switch it up each time. Today, it’s asparagus and peas and maybe next time cauliflower and broccoli florets.

I am always looking for creative ways to add more vegetables into my family’s diet. I hope you will enjoy this version, but however you make your paella, always remember to Set the Table with Love.

Vegetable Paella


3 tablespoons olive oil

One onion, chopped

3 clove garlic, chopped

2 red bell peppers, deseeded and sliced

10 -12 asparagus spears

4 large, vine ripened tomatoes peeled and chopped

12 ounces short grain paella or risotto rice

4 cups of hot vegetable broth

8 ounces peas, frozen or fresh

A few threads of saffron crumbled ( I use about 8)

1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika

Sprigs of fresh rosemary

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

lemon wedges and fresh herbs( parsley or cilantro), to serve


Heat olive oil in a paella pan or large white fry pan. Add onion and garlic and cook for five minutes, stirring, over low heat until onions start to caramelize.

Add red bell peppers and asparagus and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for about 15 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes form a sauce.

Add rice to pan, stir to coat in the sauce, and cook for 5 minutes. Slowly add the hot vegetable stock along with the saffron, peas,rosemary, salt and pepper. Stir once, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes until stock is absorbed, stirring the dish as little possible. If you have too much liquid at the end of the dish, turn up the heat to boil down some of the water, but watch it, so it does burn at the bottom.

Serve with lemon wedges and chopped parsley or cilantro. Serve with crunchy bread.

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Hi Guys. A little bit about me: The Jewels first, then the Profession: THE JEWELS: I have been married to the love of her life and kidney transplant donor, Joseph for twenty-five years. We have two sons, Julian Bernard thirty -three years old, Tyler nineteen years old and two beautiful grandchildren Naleyla, nine years old and a six-year grandson, Michael Julian. My life mantra is, " No matter what life brings, live your dreams short or long." HERE'S WHAT I KNOW: I understand what life feels like, when you have no idea if you will see your children grow up or never see the face of your grandkids. I was born with kidney disease and battled for almost 40 years until my husband of now, 25 years donated his kidney to me. Living a balance life, physically, mentally and spiritually was never an option for me to entertain. My life depends on it. I wrote this blog to share my journey and maybe touch the lives of those around me. My husband's generosity and the power of the grace of God has given me a second chance at life. I have been in and out of the hospitals all my life, came out of a coma, had multiple surgeries. I understand the importance of a positive mind. I have lost two babies and my mom, brother and grandmother in just months of each other. I want to share inspiration what inspires me to live and enjoy life each day. I have been a devoted yoga and meditation practitioner and a nutrition wellness coach for over 25 years, this was my road to staying as healthy as possible with failing kidneys and all the complications that come with it. I am grateful to share my life with you, through my food, my yoga and meditation practice, and just good old positivity. I hope my posts will bring joy to your heart, soul and tummy. THE PROFESSION: I am the the CEO of B'Tyli Wellness and Beauty Co. I created this company after I finished my studies in Holistic Nutrition and Medicine from Clayton College of Natural Health. B'Tyli Wellness and Beauty Co. is a holistic wellness company specializing in body, mind and spirit alignment, through yoga, nutrition, meditation and organic skin and body care products. I am the author of three books, a healthy lifestyle cookbook, titled, Set the Table with Love, which was named after my blog page and two inspirational mediation books, titled, Living With The Silver Lining and Whispers of Silence. I am also a Health, Wellness and Beauty Expert and has had the honor to share my culinary perspective o Food Network's second season of All-Star Academy food competition for a two month. I have shared my approach to healthy living and eating in both medias of television and radio. She has been featured on Fox 5, Good Day Atlanta, 11 Alive, Atlanta and Company, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, as well as radio, V103 and 104.7 The Fish and several magazine publications

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