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A wonderful alternative to traditional paella!

Don't be put off by the length of the recipe - it is made in two stages: a simple rice pilaf then the paella ingredients are added to that.  So the paella can be prepared and measured while the pilaf is cooking, or else you can cook the pilaf rice in advance... The secret is to get all ingredients and equipment out that you need before starting - then go for it!
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60-70 minutes from scratch - less if rice pilaf is pre-cooked
Diabetic friendly
Gluten free
No nuts
Reduced fat
Reduced sugar

1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fennel seed
¼ tsp black pepper
½-1 tsp salt
450g/1lb/2 cups brown basmati rice OR long grain brown rice 
½ tsp saffron steeped in 4 tbsp warm water
840ml/30fl oz vegetable stock

25g/1oz dried arame (sea vegetable available from health stores), soaked in warm water for 10 minutes
2 medium onions, cut into 1cm/half inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 red peppers, seeded, white pith removed and cut into 1cm/half inch pieces
3 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp dried oregano
¾ tsp red chilli flakes
½ tsp grated orange zest (about one large orange’s worth)
¾ tsp cumin seeds
1 tin chopped tomatoes including juice
180g/6oz smoked tofu, cut into 1cm/half inch cubes - Taifun works well (health food shops or Waitrose)
2 courgettes, halved lengthways and cut into 1cm/half inch slices
2 tsp capers, drained
¼ cup pitted black olives, chopped
225g/8oz mushrooms, sliced if big, halved if small
4 cups Saffron Basmati Pilaf recipe (see above)
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (any variety)
1 tsp salt
Greens for 6, finely chopped - eg curly kale; green cabbage; purple sprouting
Aioli: mix 5 tbsp vegan mayo (bought or home-made) with 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed


1. Start with the Saffron Pilaf. (If you’ve made it in advance, go to number 9!)

2. In a medium-sized heavy saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic in oil over a medium heat until just softened.

3. Add the cumin, fennel seed, pepper and salt.

4. Sauté for 1 minute.

5. Add the rice and stir constantly for about 2 minutes or until the rice smells fragrant.

6. Add the saffron and water, bring rice to the boil and cover.

7. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.

8. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.

9. Meanwhile, prepare all vegetables and other ingredients.

10. Soak the arame in cold water.

11. Sauté the onions, garlic and peppers in the olive oil in a large heavy pan, until the onions have softened – about 5 minutes.

12. Add the oregano, chilli flakes, orange zest and cumin seeds.

13. Stir and sauté for 1 minute.

Drain and rinse the arame when it is ready, then set aside.

14. Add the tomatoes, smoked tofu, courgettes, arame, capers and black olives.

15. Put on greens to steam.

16. Reduce heat under paella to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes.

17. Add the mushrooms and sauté another minute or 2.

18. Stir in the pilaf, parsley and salt to taste.

19. Heat through.

20. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

21. Drain greens.

22. Mix mayo and garlic together to make aioli.

To serve: spoon paella in middle of large plate, arrange greens round edges and put a dab of aioli in the middle.

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