The summer I became vegan (back in 2008, before my senior year in college), I had no idea what to make at first. I wasn’t cooking at that point, so everything was new for me. I started with almond butter and banana sandwiches, then switched to tofu teriyaki stir fries, and ate a lot of fruit for breakfast.
That winter, when I was home for winter break, I decided to experiment with vegan foods and realized very quickly that eating vegan opens up your mind to different types of foods, very quickly.
By being “restricted” to certain foods, you’re forced to think outside of the box and discover other types of eating.
That’s when I discovered that paella could be made vegan (I was used to chorizo and seafood stuffed paella), by flipping through a vegan cookbook at Barnes & Noble one day.
The paella called for a millet grain and loads of veggies. It was INCREDIBLE! The millet was okay, but it was really the veggies that were amazing.
Ever since we got back from Bali, Lu has really been trying to eat more mindfully by eating less meat and dairy products. SO, I’ve had to flex my former-vegan muscles and get creative in the kitchen. Also, I’m making a real effort to cook recipes for the blog that can be made into dinner for the night, because Lu likes to taste my meals I make for the blog. Sometimes he’ll text me and say, “Please tell me you saved that in the fridge!”
This paella lasted us a few days in the refrigerator (we kept snacking on it!) and it’s so filling, stuffed with fibrous veggies like broccoli. The veggies absorb the seasonings of the paella and the liquid from the tomatoes fluffs up the carrot rice.
You absolutely won’t miss the rice – and you won’t second guess going back for seconds!
Nutritional Information & Recipe
Weight Watchers SmartPoints*: 5 points
*These points were calculated using the official Weight Watchers SmartPoints calculator. We are in no way affiliated with Weight Watchers, we are providing this information based on popular demand.
- 3 large carrots, peeled, Blade D
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1.5 teaspoons paprika
- 1.5 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads
- salt, to taste
- 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips (or spiralized with Blade A and noodles trimmed)
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes (if you like tomatoes, use a 28oz can of tomatoes and omit the vegetable broth later)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro
- 1 (14.5oz) can quartered artichoke hearts
- pepper, to taste
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- ½ cup pitted green olives
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley, for garnish
- 4 – 6 lemon wedges, to serve
- Pulse the carrot noodles in a food processor until rice-like. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil heats, add in the garlic and onions and let cook for 3 minutes or until softened. Then, add in the cayenne, paprika, and saffron. Season with salt.
- Add in the broccoli and bell peppers and cook for 3 minutes or until they begin to soften. Then, using tongs, remove the bell peppers and set aside on a plate. Add in the tomatoes and stir well. Then, add in peas, carrot rice, cilantro, artichokes, salt and pepper, and vegetable broth. Stir to combine and then decoratively add in the bell peppers. Add in the olives, pressing them into the carrot rice, submerging.
- Let the mixture cook undisturbed, for 10 minutes or until the carrot rice is softened to your preference (taste to tell.)
- Garnish with parsley and serve immediately with lemon wedges.