There are no words. None. This dish was incredible, and making it was just as fun as consuming it at a recent potluck I hosted for framily. In these dying days of summer I am soaking up all I can of Carrboro and my North Carolina friends. What better way than through delicious vegan food like this?
3 cups jasmine rice, cooked in your favorite (or homemade) veggie broth and a pinch of saffron
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
heft pinch Spanish saffron (you can buy it at a very good price at Trader Joe’s)
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes plus a handful for garnish
1/2 block tofu, cubed
2 vegan sausages (I used Tofurky’s Italian style)
handful kalamata olives
handful fresh spinach
fresh parsley, mint, basil or any garden herb you like
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, grated
1/4 cup diced bell pepper
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
In a large wok or soup pot, heat a liberal dose of olive oil. Add onions, tofu, and sausage, and sauté until sausage begins to turn golden. Add saffron, peppers, and carrots, mix to incorporate. Add rice, mixing to fully incorporate sautéed goodies. Remove from heat, add tomatoes, spinach, turmeric, and herbs. This part makes paella a labor of love. Mix, and mix, and mix and get all the goodies incorporated into the rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add lemon juice gradually as you mix. (And mix, and mix.) Scoop into a grandiose bowl. Sprinkle reserved tomatoes, olives, and a pinch of saffron on top.
Serve with lemon wedges for an additional citrus kick. This is one of those great clean out the crisper recipes. You can really add just about any veggie you’ve got to it and it’ll turn out phenomenally. I’ve made a slightly different version of vegan paella before, but hands down this one has that classic flair that really makes paella well, paella. It’s all about that saffron.