We’ve just got back from a trip to Pollenca in Mallorca and i’ve been inspired to make this vegan sausage paella. As regular readers will know we are frequent visitors to this beautiful Mediterranean island and this trip was just as glorious as the many previous visits. It’s the one place we go that we know we can truly relax. The sun is almost always shining, the sea is warm and blue and the food is forever good. Well mostly.
Now that we know the place so well we know the restaurants we like and we’ve figured out where we can eat quite inexpensively and then when we want something special we know where to go. We know about the divine pizzas and lovely staff at the little pizza restaurant on the calvari steps in town, we know about the traditional pa amb oli (and the free-flowing vodka) we can get at the Club Pollenca restaurant in the old town square and we know about the incredible salads and very naughty cheese-drenched nacho’s that can be found in our favourite chill-out bar in Es Mal Pas. We also know that if we make the effort to take the hour long drive over the mountains to Cala Tuent we will find what we consider the best restaurant on the island and indulge in a little luxury. Like many food lovers, we enjoy exploring and seeking out new places to discover new foods but very often we tend to stick to what we know because when you’re on holiday you only have a finite amount of days and if you get it wrong it can be frustrating.
When it comes to Spains’ most famous dish it’s very rare that I get the opportunity to eat it any more. I love a good Paella. All that rich seafood and sweet spices blended with wine and tomato. Like it’s Italian cousin risotto, there are as many recipes out there as there are chefs but in essence it’s a basic peasant dish that utilises the rice to soak up all the delicious flavours of various proteins… and proteins are my issue.
With The Viking being a vegetarian it is very rare to be offered the option of paella and most restaurants will only make the dish for a minimum of two people so when we discovered one of the fancier local restaurants offered a vegetable paella we jumped at the chance. It was such a disappointment. It had barely any flavour, lacking not only in the richness of a traditional flavour but also any flair in vegetables. I know that the local Sunday market has hundreds of food stalls, rich with choice, plus I know how easy it is to create a rich and tasty stock without relying on protein to add flavour so I was dumbfounded by the lack of innovation and taste.
With this in mind I have decided to make my own version and whilst making it realised that it is in fact fully plant-based and not just vegetarian so it’s a win-win for the Spanish food loving vegans! I’m starting with the classic paella ingredients and building from there…
- olive oil
- one medium white onion – finely chopped
- 1 carrots – finely chopped
- 1 stick of celery – finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic – crushed or grated
- 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika – I love the La Chinata stuff, particularly for its cute metal pot
- 6 vegan sausages – each one chopped into 4 pieces (I used the Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg Caramelised Onion Shroomdogs)
- 1 red peppers – sliced lengthways
- 1 courgette – thickly sliced on the diagonal and then halved
- 200g paella rice
- 1 teaspoon tomato puree
- 200g chopped tomatoes (half a regular tin)
- 1 glass white wine or Spanish sherry
- 1 ltr good quality vegetable stock
- 100g frozen peas
I’m using my 30cm cast iron pan with a lid but obviously a traditional paella pan would be best here.
Warm the pan on the heat and then add a generous glug of olive oil and once it has a good amount of heat to it add the onions, carrots and celery and stir. Turn down the heat by half and leave the vegetables to sweat for 5 minutes before adding the garlic, stirring in well and leave them to soften gently for another 5 minutes
Meanwhile, in a second smaller pan add some oil and fry the sausages until they’re golden brown, then stir them into the onion and garlic mix. Turn up the heat and add the paprika and let it sizzle and pop for a further 3 or 4 minutes
Using the same small pan, fry off the peppers and courgettes using plenty of salt and pepper then one they’re lovely and slightly browned, add them to the paella dish and stir in
Stir in the rice, then the tomato puree and chopped tomatoes and let it bubble for 2 mins, then pour in a glass of white wine or if you have it a small glass of spanish sherry. Stir in well, then pour over the stock and stir it in
Turn the heat down to very low, place a lid on and let it gently simmer for about 10 minutes, then stir in the peas and set aside with the lid on for a further 5 minutes before serving
eat and of course, enjoy!