Home   Food and Drink   Article

Good Cooking: Cambridge chef shares the perfect plant paella

Passionate about food which is as full of goodness as flavour, Cambridge nutritionist and plant-based chef Melanie Hanspall shares a monthly recipe with Velvet. On the menu for October: vegetable paella

lovenutritioncambridge October 23 recipe
lovenutritioncambridge October 23 recipe

A filling rice and vegetable dish that's full of flavour, vibrant colours and incredibly nutrient-dense too, this is my version of the Spanish paella, only a lot quicker and in my opinion just as tasty!

The cooked tomatoes contain an antioxidant called lycopene, a great addition to any meal. The jackfruit gives texture and is a fantastic replacement for meat and fish. Peas contain Vitamin C and lots of fibre, as well as a healthy dose of plant protein.

Olives and olive oil provide fabulous healthy fats which are important to help the body absorb Vitamins A, D, E and K. Turmeric, garlic and bay all have a plethora of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiviral properties. Black pepper will help the body absorb the turmeric.

Ingredients (to serve two):

150g any rice

1 cup frozen peas, defrosted

1 can young tender jackfruit (or 1 pack artichoke hearts from deli section of supermarket)

4 fresh tomatoes, quartered

200g tinned tomatoes

2 cloves garlic chopped (optional)

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 fresh or dried bay leaves (optional)

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons vegan or veg bouillon powder

Handful olives (any - I used Kalamata)

Handful fresh parsley chopped

Black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

Olive oil


Cook the rice, adding the turmeric into the water and set aside.

In a large frying pan or wok, add three tablespoons of olive oil and heat on medium. Add the garlic if using and stir until softened.

Add the can of drained jackfruit and stir for a few minutes, keeping heat low to medium.

Add the smoked paprika and 200g tinned tomatoes, bay leaves if using and then the stock powder. Simmer on medium heat until the jackfruit is tender (if using artichokes this should take less time).

Stir into the mixture the cooked rice, peas, fresh tomatoes, olives until combined. Top with the fresh chopped parsley, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, season with black pepper and enjoy!

For more information about Melanie’s work as a nutritionist, plus more plant-based recipe inspiration, see lovenutritioncambridge.co.uk

Read more

More by this author