On Sunday, while I was cleaning/organizing, my husband came over and said, "What were you thinking about for lunch?"
I answered, "Well, I just finished breakfast, so I wasn't. You want some soup?" as I pointed to the cans in the pantry.
"Can you make Paella?"
So my vegan paella, complete with optional seared chicken was born. I am sorry, it was a rush job so I did not write the recipe as I went. Here is what I remember:
1 c. brown rice
2 1/2 c. broth or water with a bouillon cube
6 shakes of turmeric (I didn't own any saffron)
half a large white onion, diced
a clove of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
a large handful of grape tomatoes, sliced
half a cup of sliced raw spinach
1 c. frozen peas, unthawed
optional if you are catering to your omni-brethren: three frozen chicken tenderloins (for one omni-serving)
Start the rice and broth/water and bouillon -- I just lazily put it all in together and stirred it a little as it came to a boil. Then I lowered the heat to low and covered. From here the rice took about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients. Add the onion, garlic, tomatoes and tomato paste. Cover and continue to cook. I found I needed to add some more warm water about 30 minutes in, as the rice was still too firm and the evaporation was happening too early. You could add half a cup here or just start out with 3 cups instead of the 2 1/2 that are on the rice package. In a separate pan, cook the frozen chicken in some olive oil over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Keep the pan covered since the melting ice will create spatters. Once the chicken is browned, turn the heat to low and leave covered so it can finish cooking through as the rice finishes. When the rice is finished, take off the heat and stir in the frozen peas and spinach. The heat will thaw and wilt everything together. Serve it up!
Obviously, with a little heads-up, I would have had the opportunity to make this much more spectacular and much more vegan -- sausages, gardein, but my husband loved it as it was, I thought it was pretty good and, as a bonus, my picky but sometimes veganly (could that be a word, please?) adventurous daughter loved it, and opted for it sans chicken (I only put the chicken in my husband's bowl - the rest stayed vegan). She even wolfed down the leftovers on her way to workout the next day after school! (they feed them lunch at school at 10:30 -- crazy, huh?) I warned her she might get a cramp during workout, but she was starving so I let her have the healthy leftovers. As luck would have it, she had a very good workout and was no worse for the eating schedule.
This "paella" was something I wasn't inspired to do, but I was proud to have been able to bring it all together spur-of-the-moment. I was also proud it was another healthy option for my little girl!