Monday, September 17, 2012

Vegetarian Tomato Paella - vegan & gluten free

Vegetarian Tomato Paella

It's a funny time of year. The sun is warm but the air is cool. I planted mums this weekend even as my peppers are putting forth a second harvest. In grocery stores, watermelons perch next to pumpkins, and at the farmers' market, tomatoes are in their final, uber-productive throes. 

A few of us realize it and also remember that prices always come down in September because so many people, and certainly the farmers, are sick and tired of tomatoes. They feel like the've been overrun and the end is a million miles bushels away. Good thing for us, eh? It means I bought a giant box and made a big batch (or two) of sauce to squirrel away in the freezer. 

Even so, I have left over tomatoes. A few went into this beauty of a dish. Mr Official Taster and I had company last night for dinner, and I served this rice. It got good reviews, and it was a great solution to the myriad of dietary restrictions among our small group. Of course, you could jazz it up with other late summer veggies, or even some early fall favorites. I'm thinking apples or even some roasted butternut squash.

After all, isn't the beginning and end merging together one of the best hallmarks of September?

Last year at this time: Rosemary Olive Oil Bread
Two years ago: Pesto Tomato Risotto
Vegetarian Tomato Paella - vegan & gluten free
adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

This works well as our main course or as a side. I paired it with a salad and fruit last night. If you're having a meat dish for dinner, the rich and smokey flavor means it can hold its own. 

I used some of my frozen homemade tomato paste I made the other week, and it worked beautifully.

As written, this recipe serves two as a main course. Simply double to make 4-6 servings.

1 C brown rice*
2 C vegetable stock or water
approximately 1 pound tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp tomato paste
Large pinch saffron threads (optional)
1 tsp smoked or other paprika
Minced parsley, basil, or other herbs for garnish (optional)

In a small pot, bring several cups of salted water to a boil. Stir in the brown rice. The water should return to a boil almost immediately; then turn the heat down so that the rice is boiling along nicely. Don't stir the rice again, and leave it to cook for 12ish minutes. Pour off the water and reserve the rice. You can do this step up to an hour before you're ready to make the paella- it doesn't matter if the rice is warm when you add it.

Preheat the oven to 450F. Warm the stock in a small pot. Dice the tomatoes, and lightly toss them and their juices in a bowl with a tablespoon or two of olive oil and salt+pepper.

Warm about 2 tablespoons olive oil in an oven-proof 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Depending on your stove, you may need to turn the heat down to medium so things don't brown or cook too fast. Stir in the tomato paste, saffron if you're using it, and paprika and cook for another minute or two. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until it's shiny. (I know this sounds strange, but it really does get shiny, trust me). Pour in the warm stock, turn off the heat, and stir until just combined.

Distribute the tomatoes evenly on top of the mixture and scrape out the bottom of the bowl to get all the juices. Put the pan in the oven, uncovered, and roast for 15 minutes. Check to see if the rice is dry and just tender. If yours is still somewhat wet like mine has been, cook for another 5-10 minutes. If it's dry but the rice is uncooked, add a small amount of stock, wine, or water. When the rice is ready, turn off the oven and let it sit for at least 5 minutes and up to 15 minutes.

Carefully (it's very hot! and heavy!) remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle with parsley, basil, green onion, or any other fresh herbs. If you like, put the pan over high heat on the stove for a few minutes to develop a bit of a bottom crust before serving.

*You can, of course, use white rice. If you do, you can skip the precooking step and add it directly to the pan.


  1. We made it with shrimp for dinner and it was delicious!!

    1. sounds yummy!! (sorry, I did respond earlier but my comment got eaten my the internet) Let's add this to the list of foods on the Yay Kate is Visiting! list :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...