Vegan Spanish Paella

Vegan Spanish Paella

Lockdown can be a time of uncertainty, isolation, and boredom; but it can also be an opportunity to have fun, experiment, and practice self-care. It’s important to get involved in activities that help boost your mood and make you feel good.

This January, we’re teaming up with Student Support and Wellbeing to provide you with some tasty #KentWellbeingIdeas. We’ll be bringing you some delicious vegan recipes to get you through lockdown and Veganuary.

Cooking can have a great impact on your wellbeing. The actual act of making sustenance for yourself and taking the time to feed your body is significant. It not only nourishes you, but it sends yourself a message that you are important. If you’re cooking good food for yourself, cooking can be very nourishing to yourself, and that’s very important!

Now, before we anger some Spaniards, this dish is not an authentic paella. Instead, it’s an easy, healthy, budget-friendly version of the popular rice dish – no big paella pans, no expensive saffron, and no fiddly seafood. This dish is not only suitable for vegans but, if you use gluten free stock, it’s gluten free too!

Vegan Spanish Paella

Serves: 4

• 1 tbsp of olive oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 red pepper, chopped into roughly 1.5cm squares
• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 1 tbsp smoked paprika
• 2 tsps dried marjoram
• 200g arborio (risotto) rice
• 850ml vegetable stock
• 125g frozen peas
• Salt and pepper to season

1. Prepare all the ingredients and have them ready in front of you – it always makes cooking much easier.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. When quite hot, sauté the onion and peppers for about 5 minutes until softened.
3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Keep moving the ingredients around the pan so the garlic doesn’t stick and burn.
4. Add the spices, marjoram and rice. Cook for 1 minute. Again, keep moving the ingredients around the pan so the spices don’t stick and burn.
5. Pour in all the stock and bring to the boil, stirring well. It will look very wet, but don’t worry – risotto rice absorbs a lot of liquid. Add seasoning to taste and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover and cook gently for about 15 minutes. Halfway through cooking, stir of shake the pan only once.
6. Add the frozen peas and return to cook for another 3 minutes.
7. Allow to stand, covered and off the heat, for 5 minutes.
8. Dish up and serve with lemon wedges, a sprinkle of flat leaf parsley, and some crusty bread if desired.

Top tip: For an extra hit of protein, why not add some vegan “chicken” pieces, or some slices of vegan “chorizo”.

Did you have a go at this recipe? If yes, high five! Well done you! Why not share your attempt on Instagram and tag us @unikentfood?

And finally, if you’re finding these uncertain times particularly challenging, please know that you are not alone and there are people to help you. The Student Support and Wellbeing team are on hand to support students with mental health issues, long term or temporary disabilities, and specific learning difficulties. Visit the Student Support and Wellbeing homepage for more information and advice. Alternatively, follow @UniKentSSW on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for bitesize guidance and information to help you keep calm during lockdown.