I was in the mood for a paella-esque dish the other day but really didn't feel like taking the time to make it. My go-to recipe (from my favorite cookbook, The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen) is very time consuming and it uses arborio rice which dilly dallies and takes all day to soak up broth. I also wanted to add something with a little bit of crunch and flavor for a vegan chorizo substitute and I'm so glad I decided to try sun dried tomato polenta! All in all this dish was done in about 20 minutes but it tasted like I had spent hours slaving over a hot stove.
Ingredients for the rice:
1 bag frozen brown rice
1 c. vegetable broth
1/4 tsp. saffron threads
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, grated
4 tsp. minced garlic
1 small yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
2 c. frozen baby lima beans
1 c. frozen green peas
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. smoked paprika
Start out by microwaving your frozen rice according to the directions on the bag. Meanwhile, combine the saffron and vegetable stock in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile still, heat up the olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the onion and garlic until it's making your house smell AMAZING.
After the onion and garlic have softened, add the peppers (I specify a yellow pepper and a red pepper just for the sake of making the dish pretty - if you can only get one color it'll still taste the same!) and sauté until they're soft. Then add the cooked rice, the soy sauce, the paprika, and a little salt and pepper. Stir it all together to combine and then add the frozen lima beans and the saffron-infused broth. Let everything cook, stirring occasionally, until the broth is all gone. While it's cooking, you can whip up your sun dried tomato polenta:
Ingredients for the polenta:
1 package of sun dried tomato polenta
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. smoked paprika
In a small bowl, combine extra virgin olive oil with smoked paprika. Cut the polenta into round slices, as thin as you can get them, and then brush each side with the paprika olive oil marinade. Heat in a skillet over medium heat until they start to get crispy. Make sure to flip them over and cook both sides!
When everything is done, just squeeze a bit of lemon juice on top of the rice, top with polenta and some chopped up scallions, and enjoy! I love that this was still super flavorful and packed with so many good veggies, too! It's one of those meals where it feels like you're being indulgent but it's actually incredibly healthy :)