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Vegetarian Paella with Seasonal Vine Vegetables

Ross Dobson is a chef, food stylist and cookbook author with 14 books to his name. His no-fuss recipes in his latest book, Market Vegetarian, proves that vegetarian food doesn’t have to be labour intensive or dull.

This Paella of ‘Summer Vine Vegetables and Almonds’ recipe is Dobson’s vegetarian take on the classic Spanish rice dish paella. It’s colourful, delicious and bursting with fresh, young vegetables grown on the vine and enhanced with the subtle flavour of saffron – ideal for making in bulk and showing off at summer garden parties. This straightforward dish is easy to make and tastes delicious.

To prepare: 10 minutes

To make: 35 minutes

Serves 4


• large pinch of saffron threads

• 80ml olive oil

• 200g red or yellow cherry tomatoes

100g green beans

• 4 baby courgettes, halved

• 80g freshly shelled peas

• 2 garlic cloves, chopped

• 2 fresh rosemary sprigs

• 320g Arborio risotto rice

• 800ml vegetable stock

• 30g flaked almonds, lightly toasted


• Put the saffron in a bowl with 65 ml hot water and set aside to infuse. Heat half of the oil in a heavy-based frying pan set over high heat and add the tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes, shaking the pan so that the tomatoes soften and start to split. Use a slotted spoon to remove the tomatoes from the pan and set aside. Add the beans, courgettes and peas and stir-fry over high heat for 2–3 minutes. Set aside with the tomatoes until needed.

• Add the remaining oil to the pan with the garlic and rosemary and cook gently for 1 minute to flavour the oil. Add the rice to the pan and cook, stirring constantly – for 2 minutes – until the rice is shiny and opaque. Add the stock and saffron water to the pan. Stir just once or twice, then increase the heat and let the liquid reach the boil. When the stock is rapidly boiling and little holes have formed in the rice, reduce the heat to medium and let simmer gently for about 20 minutes, until almost all the stock has been absorbed.

• Scatter the cooked tomatoes, beans, courgettes and peas over the rice, cover lightly with some foil and cook over low heat for 5 minutes so that the vegetables are just heated through.

• Sprinkle the almonds on top to serve.