Conscious Food Choices

For the love of delicious healthy food…

Suryalila Vegetarian Paella

Hola from the Suryalila Retreat Centre Kitchen! We are now officially up and running and we have just brought in Eduardo, an excellent new chef who will be running the kitchen while I am away.  (I am planning to head back to the States next week to apply for my Spanish visa). It is sad to leave now –  just when the retreat center kitchen is happily humming along, and the garden in starting to really take off, and we have all started to find our groove here running a brand new yoga retreat centre… but I also am looking forward to being home and enjoying Spring in NYC with Hannes.

In Suryalila, we have been gearing up for our first 3-week long yoga teachers training intensive with almost 30 people, which will start on Sunday.  Everything has gone incredibly well here since we opened our doors last month – we have had 3 smaller yoga retreats and a steady stream of regular guests, which has given me exactly 3 Sundays to perfect my Vegetarian Paella technique!

I am so much better at doing things than explaining them… so I am sorry but this recipe is going to sound really complicated. It really is not difficult, but there are a lot of elements to it, so I guess it goes into the “Labors of Love” recipes category… which I just made. (This was previously called the “Dedicate Your Saturday” category, so now the gnocchi recipes have company on the weekends.) Also, as with every recipe, obviously you should feel free to adapt to what is in season, what you have on hand, etc. In Southern Spain right now, the fava beans are just coming out, oyster mushrooms and artichokes are plentiful, and wild asparagus is growing in the fields and beside the roads everywhere…


Suryalila Vegetarian Paella for 10

roasted red pepper strips for paellaPrepare all ingredients and set aside…

  • 3 cups Bomba rice (similar to arborio rice, and traditionally used for Paella)
  • 6 cups good vegetable stock, warmed with
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron
  • 1 cup fresh fava beans, peeled, lightly poached in salted water or broth until their skins split.
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed into 5 -6 inch lengths, and lightly coated in olive oil and salt
  • 2 fire-roasted red peppers,  one cut into long decorative strips, and 1 diced finely
  • 8 -10 wedges of marinated artichoke hearts

Shredding oyster mushrooms for paellaMarinate the Tofu (optional)…

  • 1 pound of tofu, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t oregano
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3 T smoked paprika (or sweet)

Fry tofu in olive oil until slightly brown on some sides, add all seasonings and toast on low heat for a minute or two. Let marinade for up to a day at room temperature if possible.

sauteeing oyster mushrooms...Sauté the Oyster Mushrooms…

  • 1 pound oyster mushrooms, torn into pieces
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t crushed garlic
  • 1/2 t salt and pepper

Sauté oyster mushrooms slowly in a non-stick pan  with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic until browned and flavorful on all sides. If not using tofu, add paprika and oregano to mushrooms instead of tofu.

Make a Kick-Ass Sofrito…

  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 cup green peppers, diced
  • 1 T garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, diced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups cubed or crushed tomatoes, bottled or fresh
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper

Making sofrito for paella

In one medium-sized paella pan or large skillet, saute onions with olive oil and salt until soft. Add garlic, green peppers, finely diced roasted red pepper and saute for 5 or more minutes until soft and onions start to brown. Add chopped parsley and tomatoes to middle of pan and cook n medium flame for another 5 minutes or until the tomatoes start to caramelize slightly.

Add dry bomba rice and stir into sofrito until rice is thoroughly hot and just starting to stick to bottom of pan, (about 2 minutes).

Add hot saffron broth slowly to paella pan, allowing the broth to completely cover the rice.  Add mushrooms and tofu and push them gently into rice and broth, without stirring. Shake pan to even out rice level and make sure the liquid just covers everything, adding more if necessary.

Cover paella pan with foil and allow to cook over a medium flame for about 10 minutes. Remove foil and arrange red pepper strips, artichoke hearts, and asparagus spears decoratively on top of rice. Sprinkle fava beans over top, cover again with foil and simmer slowly for another 10 minutes*, or until water is completely absorbed and rice is cooked al dente. Don’t be afraid to add a bit more broth if your paella is starting to get crispy on the bottom but is still not cooked on the top or sides.

* If your paella pan is much larger than your burner, place it on 2 lit burners for the last 10 minutes, and rotate every minute, so the sides of the pan also get cooked.

Stick a fork into the middle of the pan and try the rice to test if it’s done. The bottom should be sticking to the pan a little, and the top should be al dente, but not actually crunchy.

Take off heat, remove foil, and serve with lemon wedges. Buon Provencho!

April 19, 2012 - Posted by | Labors of Love, Main Courses, Recipes, Vegan Recipes | , , ,


  1. Nice arrangement! Always great recipes…I love favabeans….every early Spring I am aware that I am missing the fava bean season in the mother peninsula. May be I will see you in NYC soon.

    Comment by Mafalda | April 19, 2012 | Reply

    • Would be great to see you Mafalda! My mom looooved fava beans, but I always thought they were too much trouble to peel. I thought they worked perfectly in the place of seafood though!�Jorin Hawley


      Comment by Jorin Hawley | April 19, 2012 | Reply

  2. This looks amazing Jorin – I am definitely going to try it! Thanks and love to you, Ali

    Comment by Ali MacArthur | April 20, 2012 | Reply

    • Great! Let me know how it comes out when you do! Much love, Jorin

      Comment by Jorin Hawley | April 22, 2012 | Reply

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