I decided to have a go at making paella—a healthier paella—using RightRice which has less sodium and 40% less net carbs than regular white rice. It’s made 90% from vegetables so you’re getting more protein and fiber from the veggies when you choose it over regular rice. It's sold in a bunch of grocery stores and markets but reliably found at Whole Foods and on RIGHT HERE ON AMAZON.
For this dish, I did a bit of research in order to create the most authentic Spanish paella possible, starting with buying a proper caldero to cook it in which I got at Target for $21. If you prefer amazon, check out these gorgeous IMUSA CALDEROS (same brand as mine, just different style). You want to make sure your caldero is nonstick and has a glass lid because paella takes up to 1.5 hours to prepare and you really have to keep an eye on the status of things.
The paellas I grew up with are a combination of rice (the star ingredient) seafood, poultry, meat and vegetables. I bought fresh jumbo shrimp, squid tubes and marinated mussels from Whole Foods, where I also conveniently picked up a package of RightRice (Spanish seasoned). I used a recipe that I found on Pinterest to guide me and, of course, made my own tweaks to it.
I’ve never cooked with saffron before, so this was A MUST and I’ll warn you, it turns everything in your pot RED! The Spanish seasoned RightRice I used is also reddish in color. The grand finale is a blazing red dish that is incredibly savory and delicious because each bite has so many different flavors and texture. Watch my paella come to life below :)
For the full recipe, keep reading! Please leave a comment on this blog as I always like to hear what you think of the things I cook up.
Here’s my ingredient list of everything you’ll need: (serves 2-4 people)
- 1 package of Spanish seasoned RightRice
- 12 jumbo shrimp, cleaned and de-veined
- 2 cleaned squid tubes, cut into rings
- 1 package of marinated mussels in garlic and parsley (fresh is better though if you can get them)
- 1 chicken sausage (I didn’t use chorizo but I highly recommend you do) chopped up into bitable pieces
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 3 garlic gloves
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced up
- Spanish green olives (I used around 30 and halved them)
- chickpeas, half a can
- sundried tomatoes, a handful halved
- seafood stock (2.5 cups) and tomato puree (1/2 of a cup)
- Spanish saffron and paprika
- 1 lime cut in wedges and parsley leaves for plating
- Additional considerations for this recipe are using tumeric spice and bay leaves for plating
Instructions for cooking the paella:
- Make 1 package of “Spanish” seasoned RightRice using easy to follow instructions on packaging (or watch this tutorial) and then set pot aside keeping the lid on so that the rice remains hot during the rest of the prepping steps.
- Cut up all your ingredients, mince 3 cloves of garlic, dice 1/2 of an onion, dice 1 red bell pepper and cut 2 large cleaned tubes of squid up into rings, also prep 12 raw jumbo shrimp that have been peeled and deveined and either fresh cleaned mussels (8-10) or a package of marinated ones (use entire package). Halve the green olives and chop up the chicken sausage into quarters or bite-sized rounds.
- Heat your caldero or large frying pan with a medium-high heat and add 1/3 cup of extra virgin Spanish olive oil, once the oil get's hot season it with salt and add squid rings and cook for about 2 minutes, then remove the squid from the pan and set it aside, add the onions and garlic into the pan and mix with the oil. After about a 1 minute add the red bell pepper, sun dried tomatoes, chickpeas and green olives mix and cook for 3 minutes, then add 1/2 cup of tomato puree, season everything with a generous 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, a generous pinch of salt and black pepper, continue to cook for 2 minutes, then add the squid back into the pan along with chopped sausage pieces, add 2 1/2 cups of seafood stock, 1 teaspoon of paprika and then sprinkle the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of saffron in, gently mix everything together.
- Once the broth comes to a boil, add the RightRice to the pan and then gently distribute the rice throughout the pan with your mixing spoon, do not mix the rice, after 5 minutes of cooking add the shrimp and the mussels, cook for another 5 minutes and then lower the fire to a low-medium heat.
- After simmering for 10 minutes or until there is very little broth left, turn the fire back to a medium-high heat for 1 minute, this technique is to make the socarrat (burnt rice on the bottom of the pan), then turn off the heat, cover the paella pan completely and let it rest between 5-7 minutes.
- Uncover the paella, garnish with freshly chopped parsley, maybe some more saffron and a couple of lime wedges.
Some cooking tips: To make the time pass smoothly and swiftly, I highly recommend pouring some wine and cranking some good music like Sam Cooke on Spotify. This recipe does take a bit of time to finesse especially the prep time of all the ingredients. Don’t rush it. It’s so much fun moving through all the steps and I really hope you have a blast making the recipe. Plus, your spices collection will now include saffron, the most expensive spice sold at the supermarket (it’s OK to buy the cheapest option, I did).
Let me know how you like cooking with RightRice. I found that I was much more satiated instead of uncomfortably stuffed compared to when I use regular white rice. The 90% veggie makeup of RightRice makes all the difference and turns it into a healthier dish with added flavor. Enjoy!