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Paella 'Ella 'Ella

Paella is a warm Spanish rice dish that is traditionally made with seafood, chicken and/or sausage, and a seasoning base of saffron and tomato. Since there are so many flavours in the dish it's easy to play around with meat, seafood or veggies. This meal is made in one pan so there is less mess and a little easier to make!

I used a cast iron skillet, it was deep enough to hold all the ingredients and being an female endurance athlete I always look for natural ways to increase my iron level. In this dish I added beans and grains to make a complete protein - meaning that they contain all the essential amino acids.

Complete proteins are good for athletes because they are easier to metabolize, they help build muscle, provides energy and helps stabilize sugar levels.


1 cup short-grain jasmine white rice or brown rice A pinch saffron (about 8 strands) 5 cups vegetable broth 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 large yellow onion, diced 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced 1 red bell pepper, sliced 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes, fresh or canned 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1/2 tablespoon paprika 1 cup green beans, trimmed and halved 3 artichoke hearts, sliced (fresh, frozen, or canned) 1 cup cooked chickpeas or bean of choice 1/4 cup peas, fresh or frozen 1/4 cup chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

10-15 large uncooked shrimp

2 cups spinach leaves Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place a pinch of saffron and 3 tablespoons of warm water in a small bowl and set aside.

  2. Bring the broth to a simmer, then reduce the heat and keep at a low simmer until needed.

  3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet, and sauté the onions until soft and translucent. Add the slices of garlic and peppers and cook until soft, about 7 minutes.

  4. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, hot paprika, saffron threads with water and season generously with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Cook for five to ten minutes.

  5. Make sure to have your vegetable broth simmering nearby. Fold in the green beans, artichoke slices, and chickpeas. Then stir in the rice. Ladle the simmering broth over the rice. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has evaporated. A few minutes before the rice is fully cooked, stir in the peas and spinach.

  6. Add raw shrimp and let simmer for another 3-4 minutes or until the shrimp is cooked through.

  7. Sprinkle with parsley just before serving.


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