The Spanish Super Food

Paella de Verduras, the Spanish Super Food

by Dr. Steve Hoody of Healthier2gether

Paella was created by farmers working the fields of Valencia, Spain. They mixed rice and whatever they could find. The healthy vegetables and proteins from the Spanish countryside resulted in a dish that is delicious and healthy. It is truly a super food. Use at least 5 of the following ingredients or all of them.

Olive oil contains 73% monounsaturated fat, vitamin C and antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Onions are high in Vitamin C and fiber with prebiotic fibers that reduce inflammation and cut your risk of colon cancer. Red bell peppers contain vitamin C, B6, K, potassium, E, A and folate. Green peppers improve aging eyes and can prevent cataracts.

Cloves have manganese, antioxidants, and can help prevent cancer, kill bacteria, and reduce stomach ulcers.  Garlic can help regulate blood pressure, manage constipation, depression, infections, intestinal parasites, and muscle pain.

Artichokes contain enough fiber that one can have 25% of your daily fiber recommendation. They are high in protein, antioxidant rich and help with cholesterol, blood pressure, liver, and blood sugar. Whole grain rice decreases cholesterol levels, the risk of heart disease, stroke, type two diabetes, and obesity.

The dish normally contains chicken, chorizo sausage, and shrimp. While this is a vegetarian version, add protein like omega-3 fish such as shrimp and lobster.

Paella represents the powerful influence of the Spanish culture. Creativity and passion make this a meal that fills the senses. It is Delicious and Healthy. Dive In, take each bite slowly and enjoy!

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READY IN: 2hrs 5mins


  • 1 ⁄ cups vegetable broth
  • crumbled saffron thread (a pinch)
  • kosher salt or sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 4 ounces snap peas or 4 ounces snow peas, strings removed
  • 4 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces (preferably broad flat beans)
  • 8 baby carrots, finely chopped
  • 8 shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed and caps coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch scallion, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup chopped tomato
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, preferably Spanish smoked
  • 1 ½ cups valencian short-grain rice or 1 1/2 cups arborio rice


  • Preheat the oven to 400° (if using a gas oven), 450° if using an electric oven.
  • Heat the vegetable broth, 1 cup water, the saffron, and a pinch of salt in a medium
  • saucepan over medium heat, then keep hot over low heat.
  • In a paella pan that measures 13 inches across the top, heat the oil over high heat.
  • Add in the red peppers, zucchini, peas, beans, carrots, mushrooms, and scallions; stir/saute for 10 minutes until vegetables start to soften.
  • Add in the garlic; saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add in the tomatoes and paprika; cook for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the rice; pour in the hot broth, then bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Season generously with salt to taste; boil for 5 minutes stirring occasionally, until the rice is no longer soupy but sufficient liquid remains to continue cooking the rice.
  • Transfer the pan to the oven; bake, uncovered, until the rice is almost al dente, 10-12 minutes in a gas oven, 15-20 minutes in an electric oven.
  • Remove the pan from the oven, cover with foil, and let stand in a warm place for 5-10 minutes until the rice is cooked to taste.
  • To make the socarrat, uncover the pan, place over burner, cook over med-high heat, without stirring for about 2 minutes until a crust of rice forms on the bottom of the pan (be careful not to let it burn); serve straight from the pan.


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