Vegetarian Vuelta a España: Paella!

September 01, 2011 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Vegetarian Vuelta a España

We’re entering into the long Labor Day weekend here in the States, so I’ll be disappearing a little bit for a few days. I’ve somehow gotten myself talked into heading down to the woods in North Carolina for some rustic camping and cycling. It seems innocent enough, but the many of the folks I’m going with are hoodlums from the cycling fan site Podium Cafe. So, wish me well on this adventure…I hope to come out alive on the other side.

Featured Recipes

In the meantime, I leave you with a classic Spanish recipe – Paella. The origins of this dish brings up images of Spanish workers in the fields, cooking over open fires and serving straight from a communal round flat pan called La Paella. Fortunately for us, the main ingredients have evolved from the 18th century staple in paella – the marsh rat.

This post originally appeared on Veggin’ in July 2009 during my Vegetarian Tour de France, but it’s so good, it bears repeating. Enjoy!

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It may be the Tour de France but some stages do dip into other countries…as shall I. I’ve been focusing on French dishes but today’s stage ended in beautiful Barcelona, Spain. That means, it’s time to whip up a Paella!

There are literally thousands of ways to make paella. I used a lot of the vegetables that I received in my weekly vegetable delivery (including a lot of the green onions!) Feel free to throw in whatever vegetables you may have on hand beyond what I have listed below – carrots, asparagus, peppers, capers, whatever. The key is throwing it in at the right times so you don’t end up with a squishy vegetable mess. The more delicate the vegetable, the later you throw it in. Be sure to let the cover sit on the pan to let everything steam and cook, but check to make sure the liquid isn’t burning off too quickly or the rice won’t be able to cook very well.

Paella is actually very easy to make and it becomes a really hearty dish with not a lot of added extra fat.  It’s a great dish to serve to a crowd and doesn’t require a lot of babysitting while it cooks. (And, if you ask nicely, perhaps someone will get up and check on the paella when it’s cooking so you don’t have to…)

Megabeth’s Paella

  • 4 green onions, white parts minced
  • ½ red onion, minced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 – 3 cups vegetable stock (Go here to learn how to make your own…)
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice (if you use brown, increase the cooking time
  • 3 corn cobs, cut into thirds
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon saffron, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper

In a small bowl, put crushed saffron in 1 Tablespoon of water and set aside.

In a large cast iron skillet, heat olive oil on medium. Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent and softened.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

Add white rice, stir to coat with the oil, and cook until beginning to brown.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

Add one cup of vegetable stock and tomatoes.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

Add saffron and the water it was soaked in, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

Turn heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to low. Add zuchinni, yellow squash and corn. Cover with a tight fitting lid and let simmer for 20 minutes on low.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

Life cover, stir, and add artichoke hearts, and more of the vegetable broth. Replace cover and continue simmering until rice is cooked through – another 20 – 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and add additional broth or water if rice begins to dry out in the cooking process.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Paella

July 09, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Culinary Tour de France, Main Dishes

It may be the Tour de France but some stages do dip into other countries…as shall I. I’ve been focusing on French dishes but today’s stage ended in beautiful Barcelona, Spain. That means, it’s time to whip up a Paella!

There are literally thousands of ways to make paella. I used a lot of the vegetables that I received in my weekly vegetable delivery (including a lot of the green onions!) Feel free to throw in whatever vegetables you may have on hand beyond what I have listed below – carrots, asparagus, peppers, capers, whatever. The key is throwing it in at the right times so you don’t end up with a squishy vegetable mess. The more delicate the vegetable, the later you throw it in. Be sure to let the cover sit on the pan to let everything steam and cook, but check to make sure the liquid isn’t burning off too quickly or the rice won’t be able to cook very well.

Paella is actually very easy to make and it becomes a really hearty dish with not a lot of added extra fat.  It’s a great dish to serve to a crowd and doesn’t require a lot of babysitting while it cooks. (And, if you ask nicely, perhaps someone will get up and check on the paella when it’s cooking so you don’t have to…)

Megabeth’s Paella

  • 4 green onions, white parts minced
  • ½ red onion, minced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 – 3 cups vegetable stock (Go here to learn how to make your own…)
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice (if you use brown, increase the cooking time
  • 3 corn cobs, cut into thirds
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon saffron, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper

In a small bowl, put crushed saffron in 1 Tablespoon of water and set aside.

In a large cast iron skillet, heat olive oil on medium. Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent and softened.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

Add white rice, stir to coat with the oil, and cook until beginning to brown.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

Add one cup of vegetable stock and tomatoes.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

Add saffron and the water it was soaked in, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

Turn heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to low. Add zuchinni, yellow squash and corn. Cover with a tight fitting lid and let simmer for 20 minutes on low.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

Life cover, stir, and add artichoke hearts, and more of the vegetable broth. Replace cover and continue simmering until rice is cooked through – another 20 – 30 minutes. Stir occasionally and add additional broth or water if rice begins to dry out in the cooking process.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Vegetarian Pallela

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Zucchini, Squash and Tomato Gratin

July 07, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Culinary Tour de France, Main Dishes, Side Dishes

Moving right along on this Vegetarian Culinary Tour de France, I’ve adapted this gratin from a 1999 recipe featured in Fine Cooking. How appropriate. Lance Armstrong won his first Tour de France the same year this recipe was published. Coincidence? Perhaps.

Either way, I have found a really good use for all the summer vegetables that are piling up in farmers markets and on my counter with this Zucchini, Squash and Tomato gratin. Spend some time cooking the onions slowly so they come out soft and not crisp. And, finally, if you don’t go overboard on the cheese, you can have a light dish with very intense flavors.

Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Tomato Gratin
Adapted From Fine Cooking
June 1, 1999

For the onions:

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced in circles, then cut in half
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

For the gratin:

  • 3 ripe red tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices, drain off any excess liquid
  • 3/4 lb. (about 2 small) zucchini or other green summer squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 3/4 lb. (about 2 small) yellow summer squash or golden zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons Herbs de Provence
  • 2 Tablespoons basil, freshly chopped
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1-1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesean
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet or pan. Add onions and cook until limp and browning – about 20 minutes. Stir frequently. (Turn down the heat if the onions cook too quickly.) Add garlic and saute for another 1 or 2 minutes. Spread the onion garlic mixture on the bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle some of the herbs and all the basil on top of the onion mixture.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Zucchini, Squash and Tomato Gratin

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss zucchini and squash slices with a drizzle of olive oil (about 1 1/2 Tablespoons), 2 Tablespoons herbs de provence, and 1/2 tsp salt.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Zucchini, Squash and Tomato Gratin

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Zucchini, Squash and Tomato Gratin

Beginning at one end of the baking dish, layer the tomatoes overlapping them slightly over the width of the dish. Then sprinkle with a little of the cheese. Then, lay a row of zucchini, overlapping the tomatoes, and sprinkle that row with a little cheese. Add an overlapping row of yellow squash, and sprinkle with the cheese. Then start over with the tomatoes. (I slid the tomatoes a little under the row of yellow squash so things didn’t topple over.)

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Zucchini, Squash and Tomato Gratin

Keep going with the layers until the pan is filled.

A Vegetarian Tour de France: Zucchini, Squash and Tomato Gratin

Grind some pepper, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt and then drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the top. Put about 3 teaspoons of herbs de provence in the remaining cheese. Stir to combine. Then sprinkle over the top of the entire pan. (I’ll let you decide how much cheese to throw on the top. Since this was already part of a creamy decadent meal, I used only a little bit of the remaining cheese.) Cook until the juices bubble and the top is well-browned – a little more than an hour. Let it cool a little bit before serving.

Broiled and Breaded Crookneck Squash

March 21, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Side Dishes

I’m a little slow in posting this week because of this recipe. You see, in the making of this recipe I was using a mandolin slicer and discovered there is a reason for the safety handle. I sliced one of my fingers pretty good on the blade.  After a few days of recovery, I finally pushed up my sleeves and headed back into the kitchen…and definitely remembered to use the safety handle.

This recipe is adapted from one that appears in my 1986 edition of “The Cookbook for People Who Like Animals”. (I always laugh when I use this cookbook because I think the title reads as if to say, “Ooh, yum! Animals!” ) It came out nicely. Paprika and tamari were two flavors I’d never think to put together but they complimented nicely on the squash.

Broiled and Breaded Crookneck Squash
Adapted from “The Cookbook for People Who Like Animals”
Serves 2 as a side dish

2 yellow crookneck squash
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup tamari
1/4 t garlic powder
1/4 t paprika
1/4 t onion powder
1/2 to 3/4 cup panko

Cut squash into 1/4 inch thick slices. (Note: mine were cut quite thin and had a tendency to soak up a bit too much of the oil mixture. Next time I’ll make them thicker.) Combine oil, tamari, and spices in a bowl.

Dip each squash slice into oil. (Note: The operative word is “dip”, I soaked some of the slices which made them come out a bit oily.)

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Preheat oven to broil. Place squash slices on baking sheet without overlapping.

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Sprinkle panko crumbs on top of each slice.

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Place under broiler for 3 to 5 minutes until soft and the panko is browned. (I used two baking sheets, while one was under the broiler, I set up the second pan.)

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