Vegetarian Paella (Paella Vegetariana)

Vegetarian paella

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Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Soak Dried Beans: 8 hrs
Total: 9 hrs 30 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Valencia is a region on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, where paella originated. Paella Vegetariana is a vegetarian version of Valencia’s signature rice dish. Instead of meat or seafood, vegetables fill in and create a tasty and satisfying vegetarian rice dish.

Because many paella pans are large round pans, they are not suitable for cooking on top of a standard size burner. So, we recommend cooking paella on a round charcoal barbecue or gas paella burner. If that is not an option, cook on your stove using an electric skillet. Scroll down for more tips on preparing paellas.


  • 9 ounces white flageolet beans (see note*)
  • 9 ounces white beans
  • 2 medium tomatoes (diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 large eggplant (cut into large cubes)
  • 1 large bell pepper (green, diced)
  • 2 artichokes (or 1 16-ounce can artichokes, see note)
  • 4 to 6 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)

Steps to Make It

  1. Soak the white beans overnight and drain the liquid before cooking.

  2. Before you can start cooking, gather all the equipment and start preparing all the ingredients.

  3. Chop the garlic finely. Chop the tomatoes in half, then cut each half into four pieces. Cut the eggplant into cubes 3/4 inch to 1 inch in size. Dice the bell pepper. Set all vegetables aside.

  4. If you are using fresh artichokes, trim tops of leaves and cut off bottom stem. Cut artichokes in quarters, length-wise. If you are using canned artichokes, open and drain the artichokes. Set all vegetables aside.

  5. If you are preparing the ingredients ahead of time, you can do everything up until this point and refrigerate the ingredients until you are ready to cook them.

  6. Now that you have cleaned and chopped the ingredients, it's time to light the BBQ. When the coals on the BBQ are covered in white ash, cooking can begin. Assemble all the ingredients on a table near the BBQ, so that you can stay in the area and monitor the cooking.

  7. Place the pan on the grate and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom and allow the pan to heat. When hot, sauté the garlic, pepper, and tomatoes in the olive oil. Add olive oil as needed to prevent sticking. Add the eggplant. Cook, stirring often – about 10 minutes.

  8. Add the beans and stir.

  9. Add the rice in the form of a cross. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes to thoroughly coat the rice with oil and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well. Add saffron to the saucepan of broth and stir. Slowly pour broth into the pan until contents are covered. Spread ingredients evenly over pan. Allow to simmer, cooking rice and beans. Add more broth if necessary.

  10. When rice is cooked, remove from heat and cover with aluminum foil, allowing paella to “rest” for 5 to 10 minutes before serving paella.


  • If artichokes are not in season or you cannot buy them fresh, use a 16 oz can of artichokes, drained.
  • Flageolet beans are immature kidney beans and can be difficult to find in the U.S. You may substitute canned for the fresh beans, in which case you do not need to soak them. If you cannot find them in stores, use any similar white bean.
  • You'll need a 17-inch paella pan, a sauce pan, a sharp knife and a wooden spoon or paddle with a long handle.