Cauliflower and Bean Paella

Life loves to send out curveballs. I have never had a phone just up and die on me. The fun times of living without a phone for a few days. Luckily, I know this is #firstworldproblems. I lived a good chunk of my life without a cell phone, or if I had one, it was use it only in an emergency under penalty of death. Maybe not that severe, but my parents were pretty strict about it. No doubt because you had to pay by the minute back in the 90’s. However, I do feel a little naked without it. I think that’s mostly because I have been in a 24/7 job since 2002. I do think that living without a cell phone for so long allows me to better adapt. Oh well.

On to the recipe. America’s Test Kitchen posted a recipe for a vegetable paella to YouTube recently. I had never heard of such a thing. Watching them make the dish, it was super easy. No meat to deal with. The final product looked really good. I decided that’s what this week’s recipe should be. Calculating the stats, the two issues are sodium an calories. The nutrition other than that is pretty good. I may add some additional protein too. Here are the original stats:

Here’s what I changed

  • I increased the servings from 4 to 8 to lower the calories.
  • I deleted the added salt to reduce the sodium.
  • I replaced the tomato paste with umeboshi paste to remove the tomato products.
  • I am swapping out the butter beans with garbanzo beans because I can get those in a low sodium form.
  • I added in some extra firm tofu to add in extra protein.
  • I swapped out the white rice with brown to increase the fiber.

Here are the final stats:

Here is the final recipe:

Cauliflower and Bean Paella

Serves 8

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2½ cups 2- to 2½-inch cauliflower florets
  • 6 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 2- to 2½-inch pieces
  • 3 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine
  • 2 blocks extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • 1 tablespoon umeboshi paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup short grain brown rice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can low sodium garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 3 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  1. Heat 1½ tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add in the tofu and brown on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Add cauliflower and cook, stirring frequently, until cauliflower is spotty brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add green beans and ¼ teaspoon salt. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until green beans are dark green, 2 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer vegetables to bowl.
  3. Heat remaining 1½ tablespoons oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add bell pepper and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until bell pepper starts to brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Add umeboshi paste and cook, stirring constantly, until bell pepper pieces are coated in umeboshi paste, about 1 minute. Add garlic, paprika, and saffron and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in sherry and cook, stirring frequently, until excess moisture has evaporated and bell pepper mixture forms large clumps, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add rice and stir until very well combined. Off heat, smooth into even layer. Scatter garbanzo beans evenly over rice. Scatter cauliflower and green beans evenly over the beans. Gently pour broth all over, making sure rice is fully submerged (it’s OK if parts of vegetables aren’t submerged).
  5. Bring to boil over high heat. Adjust heat to maintain gentle simmer and cook until broth is just below top of rice, 12 to 17 minutes. Cover and cook until rice is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until rice pops and sizzles and all excess moisture has evaporated


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