Mark Bittman’s Favorite Vegetarian Paella

I’ve never really eaten a paella because I’m just not much of a seafood eater. But I just watched the latest Mark Bittman video over at the New York Times and I’ve just become a paella convert.

Bittman suggests a much simpler version of the famously extravagant meat and fish-laden rice dish. His is Paella with Tomatoes. I am already a huge fan of tomato-based rice dishes but this paella, rich with saffron and smoked paprika and topped with lightly seasoned fresh tomatoes, looks absolutely amazing.

The cooking process is identical to that used in any paella: soften some onion in oil, add seasonings (including saffron, if you have it), rice and liquid, and cook. Adding lightly seasoned tomatoes is the major difference in this recipe. —Mark Bittman, New York Times 09/05/2007

This seems like the perfect dish for those end-of-summer tomatoes and I will be making it as soon as I get my hands on some!

Bittman says you can substitute any paprika or chili powder for the Spanish smoked paprika (pimentón) but if you’ve never tried it, I highly suggest seeking out the smoked variety. I buy mine from The Spice House and find myself using it all the time in everything from barbecue rubs to compound butters. It’s especially good sprinkled on deviled eggs!

I’ll let you know how it turns out and if any of the rest of you make this dish, let me know!

Update: I knew I wasn’t the only one who fell in love with this paella! Luisa over at The Wednesday Chef just made a gorgeous Tomato Paella and blogged about it, complete with beautiful photos. Go check it out now!

  1. Ruby Berry

    The ingredients sounded familiar and when I linked over to glance at the picture of the dish, I did know it. Looks exactly like the spanish rice I make. It’s one of our favorite dishes, I cook it with almost everything. It’s quite yummy!
    Thanks Nicole

    3:59 pm  Sep 6th, 2007
  2. Nicole

    Ruby: It’s very similar to my standard rice dish too except I haven’t used the saffron and smoked paprika before. I usually use onions, garlic, canned tomatoes, some water, Sazon Goya, and some hot Sicilian pepper paste. And sometimes throw in some corn and/or peas or something. And I cook it covered on the stovetop rather than uncovered in the oven.

    4:09 pm  Sep 6th, 2007
  3. dani

    I’m a little behind the times here, but I just wanted to say that you’re new design is great…I’m lovin’ it!
    Thanks for the paella link, this makes paella seem very approachable!

    5:51 pm  Sep 6th, 2007
  4. Kalyn

    Hi Nicole,
    I noticed that Luisa at The Wednesday Chef made it and posted about it today, and it does look just amazing. Also, I agree, the new design is looking great.

    12:56 am  Sep 7th, 2007
  5. Nicole

    Dani: Thanks!

    Kalyn: Thank you, I’ll head over and check it out now!

    7:50 am  Sep 7th, 2007
  6. Steven

    I probably would peel the tomatoes because the skin sticks in my teeth, but maybe someone can tell me why that step isn’t used – I remember my grandmother always peeled tomatoes, but for some reason it seems like it’s not all that common anymore.

    2:38 pm  Sep 7th, 2007
  7. claudia

    i saw this too. i’m dying to make it…

    10:37 pm  Sep 26th, 2007
  8. Michael Natkin

    BIttman’s recipe looks great. I do a different version with fresh artichokes and green beans. I like to do it entirely on the stovetop so you don’t have to heat up the oven as well. I think adding the smoked paprika is a great idea!

    9:23 am  Jul 14th, 2008
  9. easy cooking recipies

    Another winner for our dinner. Good thing I have most of the ingredients at hand, except the chili powder. But my neighbor is such a sweet old lady, I’m sure she’ll let me borrow a pinch or two. I’m sure this will be really good. Very nice recipe.

    4:06 am  Jan 29th, 2013
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