Kalamata olive & chickpea paella

This vegan-friendly paella is great if you’re having friends round for dinner or for a midweek meal that also leaves enough for a leftover lunch the next day.


4-6 strands saffron threads
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
250g mushrooms, sliced
450ml vegetable stock
1 lemon, juice and zest
200ml cup water
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
Small bunch of parsley, chopped (leave a pinch to the side for serving)
100g frozen green peas
100g kalamata olives
400g tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
200g paella rice


In a large cast iron pan, first toast the saffron threads.

Do this by placing the saffron in between two small sheets of aluminium foil and folding over the edges to make a little packet. Place the foil in the pan for about 1 minute. Then remove the foil from the pan and open the packet.

In the same pan, brown the mushrooms and onion in olive oil for about 5 minutes.

Add vegetable stock, lemon juice and water and bring to the boil.

Add the remaining ingredients (including toasted saffron threads) to the pan and stir well. Bring to the boil again and then lower the heat and simmer for around 30-35 minutes – do not stir!

Cook until rice is desired tenderness and liquid has evaporated. Ideally, you want the bottom of the pan to get slightly burnt as this brings out the flavour of all of the ingredients.

Remove from heat and cover for about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with a remaining parsley and serve with a wedge of lemon and a side salad.