Spicy Vegetarian Paella Recipe

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This thing called life, it’s nothing if not completely crazy and unpredictable. In the past 3 days, I’ve found out two people I knew way back when (2006, oh the stories I’ll tell you) passed away. Although it had been some time since we talked, it still rattles me to my core. When you lose people who are young, vibrant and full of life, well, you can’t help but question your own life and truly see your own mortality. So friends, do me a favor. Just seize the day and hug the people you love. Okay? Now, let’s chat about something I made for you today, a little something I like to call spicy vegetarian paella.

This is another first for me. And with the incredible smells wafting through my kitchen this morning, it’s certainly not going to be the last. Whenever I hear the word paella, I can’t help but laugh and think of George Constanza’s mother on Seinfeld. “What are we going to do with all this paella, GEOORGGE?” hahaha. It’s really the little things in life.

This stuff is really as spicy as it looks, too. The soyrizo (aka, vegetarian chorizo) is spicy as heck on its own, then you add in crushed red pepper and chili powder and well…then you’re just kinda stupid. But not stupid in your mouth will burn off and you’ll need an icepack to the tongue, stupid in you might sweat a little while you eat it. The spice is perfectly offset by the rice and quinoa mixture I decided to throw in.

I’ll be honest, the soyrizo freaked me out a bit. It was jiggly and squishy like tofu but smelled like spicy sausage. Which I totally get is the point. You can very visibly tell it’s not real chorizo, but it tastes just like it. If you love chorizo because you love the hearty texture of sausage (which she does, ha!), you’re not going to love this. However, if you just love the flavor of the sausage and couldn’t care less about texture, you’ll love it.

I actually just ate some of this for breakfast since I made it at 7:30 am. At least it’s not hot soup, I’m making some progress.

Spicy vegetarian paella


Serves about 6.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: About 30 minutes


  • 12 ounces of soyrizo
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 large bell pepper
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Liberal dashes of salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • Cilantro for garnish


  1. Heat oil in a large pan (or wok) over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and pepper, cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Crumble in soyrizo and heat about 2 minutes.
  2. Add in broth, quinoa, rice, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and chili powder. Bring mixture to a boil. Stir it up a bit then cover. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until rice and quinoa is soft, stirring every 3 – 5 minutes.
  3. Serve warm with cilantro  and a dash of salt and pepper.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories: 238.5
Fat: 7.3 grams
Carbohydrates: 34 grams
Fiber: 6.5 grams
Protein: 10.5 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 6

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  1. Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
    This sounds amazing! So sorry to hear the sad news...those kinds of things are so hard but you are right - a definite reminder to live fully! 
  2. Posted by Jessica Trimble on
    Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
    So sorry for your losses :(
  3. Posted by The Beeroness on
    Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
    Claire I'm so sorry! it just puts all those worries we have into perspective. All those things we think we NEED just seem so stupid. 
    Good food, good people, and good memories keep us all centered! 
  4. Posted by amy donovan on
    Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
    Sorry your last few days have been difficult. =/ on a brighter note, this paella looks amazing! i love anything spicy, the spicier the better, to i know i'd adore this!
  5. Posted by justonecookbook on
    Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
    I'm sorry to hear you lost someone you know.  :-(  My grandpa actually passed away last week and I was so sad too.  I couldn't go back to Japan in time, but I met him last April so I guess it's not that bad... Things happen when you are not expecting it.  I love your paella!  I haven't made paella for a long long time.  I always eat too much because I simply can't stop eating.  Your vegetarian version looks yum!
  6. Posted by Jamie on
    Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
    This looks so awesome!  Sorry for the sad news.  
  7. Posted by Lan | angry asian on
    Friday, August 3rd, 2012
    i really like the combination of the quinoa + rice. 
  8. Posted by Savory Simple on
    Friday, August 3rd, 2012
    The paella looks wonderful.  I'm really sorry for your loss.  There's no worse feeling.
  9. Posted by Parsley Sage on
    Sunday, August 5th, 2012
    Sorry to hear about those friends.  I've had that happen this year too and you're right, makes you think about how you spend the time you've got.  Sobering thoughts.  Lovely paella though.  I can't do shellfish and I've always looked longingly at paella...now I can make some myself! 
  10. Posted by Kristi Rimkus on
    Sunday, August 5th, 2012
    I can't say I've seen soyrizo. I'll have to see if I can find it. Do you have suggestions for an alternative?
  11. Posted by Bree on
    Tuesday, August 7th, 2012
    I think I would have been freaked out by soyrizo today but this sounds absolutely amazing!