Un cousin éloigné de la paella végétarienne – Riz brun au saffran et méli mélo de petits légumes

It’s time for some rice…rice and potatoes are two ingredients I rarely use, French people eat a LOT of potatoes, at my parents my mom rarely made them, Italians are more pasta eaters than potato eaters. A while ago, I started buying all the different kinds of rices I ran into, from black rice, to bamboo rice, any shape and color rice I saw. It seems like the excitement faded away, but I don’t want to leave rice aside, because I love it. It’s nutritious, healthy and can make wonderful side dishes.

The world of food has so many items to explore than sometimes, you get caught trying out new ingredients, and leaving aside the ones you know too well.

This rice has a rich and deep yellow color you get with combining saffron and paprika or pimenton as they say in Spain but I found Spanish pimenton to have a more smokey flavor.

Basically the rice is steamed in a vegetable broth with saffron and paprika, so it comes out almost orange. Such a vibrant color to have in ones plate.

Plain white rice is great with spicy dishes, it enables to decrease the powerful and strong flavors of the spices and balances everything perfectly. Sometimes I enjoy some more intricate rice dishes like this one, you can just eat it as a main dish and as is, because it’s a whole meal in itself and full of fragrant flavors. I certainly don’t want to call this vegetarian paella, which would be so wrong, but it has some similarities in some of the spices and cooking method, even though I did not use a paella tray, nor used Spanish rice.

Ingredients for 2-3

  • 5.29 0z (or 150 g) brown rice
  • one dose saffron
  • 1/4 tsp Spanish pimenton
  • vegetable broth (rice x 2)
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbs mixed oregano, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut in very small cubes (1/4 inch)
  • 1 cup fresh peas (or frozen)
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, cut in small chunks (1/2 inch)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper


In a rice cooker or regular pot, mix broth, rice, saffron, pimenton and salt. Let it sit for a few minutes until the saffron has dissolved.  For broth quantities, I use about twice the amount of rice, in this case, since it’s brown rice, which takes harder to cook, I use about 3 times its quantity. If using rice cooker, broth needs to be at 2 cm above the level of the rice.

Heat olive oil in a pan, add shallots and let them soften. Add all the mixed vegetables and stir well. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked but still firm, add garlic and oregano and cook for a few additional minutes to get the flavors out.

Mix in the rice, stir well until all the vegetables are well incorporated into the rice.