Spring Vegetable Paella – Zenwise Spring Vegetable Paella – Zenwise
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Spring Vegetable Paella

Paella is a traditional dish hailing from the port city of Valencia, on the east coast of Spain. It often contains rice cooked with vegetables, meat, and seafood served in a wide, shallow pan called a paellera -- the Valencian word for frying pan. 

Paella is a great way to use up random seasonal vegetables in your fridge. For example, carrots, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, baby artichokes—vegetables that can handle a longer cooking time—all work well.

 This springtime version of the Spanish favorite is filled with seasonal vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, peas and spinach. A final topping of fresh radicchio and lemon brightens up all the all the flavors.

This paella is cooked in the oven, so you can enjoy friends and family while dinner simmers away.  It’s a great dish for entertaining, since you serve it fright from the pan.  It’s an affordable, healthy way to feed a lot of people and perfect for your next spring [or summer] get-together.


Why We Love These Ingredients

Cremini mushrooms, also known as “baby bellas” contain fiber, enzymes and good bacteria which help improve digestion and boost the body’s immune response. They’re also a good source of B vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, and Vitamins B5 and B6 which can improve your body’s metabolism. 

Radicchio, also known as Italian Chicory, is an oblong-shaped lettuce with reddish-purple leaves and white veins. Although it’s sometimes mistaken for red cabbage, radicchio is a much healthier option with twice the amounts of zinc and copper.

This Italian staple also contains anthocyanins, compounds that improve your heart, blood sugar and intestinal health.

Peas contain protein and lots of gut-friendly fiber. They’re also good for your eyes, thanks to their high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin which can help protect your eyes from cataracts and vision loss. Finally, peas contain antioxidants that also strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation.


Do I Need a Paella Pan to Make Paella?

Even though a paella pan is designed specifically for making paella (obviously), you don't need one to make a great paella. But if you don't have the special pan, any wide and shallow skillet will do. The skillet goes directly into the oven for most of the cooking process, then you finish the cooking on the stovetop.


What Are Preserved Lemons?

Preserved lemons are lemons that are pickled in salt and lemon juice and popular in North African, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisines. They have a mellow, tart flavor and both the pulp and peel are edible.

Preserved lemons add a big punch of flavor and complexity to any dish. You can find them at most supermarkets as well as Middle Eastern or South Asian grocery stores [check the pickle aisle.] However, you can swap out the preserved lemons for 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice [about the juice of one lemon], and garnish with extra lemon wedges.


Two Last Pro Tips…

At the end of the cooking process when you finish up the paella over the stove, don’t stir the rice. You want the rice to form a “soccarat”, a golden layer of crust at the bottom of the pan. It’s considered the best part of the paella.

Make the dish vegetarian by omitting the sausage, adding more mushrooms, and swapping out the chicken broth for vegetable broth.

Let’s get cooking!


Spring Vegetable Paella


  • 3 TBSP olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces sausage links (pork, chorizo, chicken, or turkey)
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces fresh cremini “baby bella” mushrooms (about 6 mushrooms), washed and quartered
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice (such as Spanish bomba or Italian arborio)
  • 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 TBSP finely chopped preserved lemon [or 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice]
  • 8 ounces fresh pencil-thin asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces (1 1/4 cups)
  • 2 medium zucchinis, halved lengthwise and sliced into half moons
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach 
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh sweet peas
  • 1/2 cup chopped radicchio (from 1 small radicchio)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley



  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium. Add sausage; cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove sausage from skillet and let cool for 5 minutes. Cut into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Do not wipe the skillet clean.
  1. In the same skillet, add onion, mushrooms, zucchini and salt to skillet; cook over medium heat, stirring often, until onion is translucent and mushrooms and zucchini are soft, 4-5 minutes.
  1. Using a wooden spoon, push onion and mushrooms to skillet edges; add 1 tablespoon of the oil to center of skillet. Add garlic to center of skillet; cook, until garlic is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes and then push back to skillet edges with the other veggies.
  1. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to center of skillet and add rice; stir to coat in oil. Stir in stock and preserved lemon [or the juice of 1 fresh lemon] into mixture in skillet, stir to combine all ingredients, then add reserved sausage. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to medium-low; cook, uncovered and undisturbed, until rice is almost tender and liquid is almost fully absorbed, about 18 minutes.
  1. Stir in spinach and peas to combine, then transfer skillet to preheated oven. Bake until rice and vegetables are tender, 12 to 14 minutes.
  1. Carefully remove skillet from oven and return to stovetop. Cook over medium-high, undisturbed, until a soccarat (crust) forms on bottom of paella, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in radicchio, making sure to not break up the soccarat on the bottom of the paella. Top with parsley and lemon wedges. Enjoy! 


Source: https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/spring-vegetable-paella

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