Coconut-Spice Paella

by | Updated: June 12th, 2017

What do you make for a backyard BBQ? Probably the same old burgers and potato salad. Let the snooze fest begin. When you want to keep the party alive, you feed them paella. This Spanish favorite is meant to be enjoyed by the masses. You literally pass around the pot with a spoon. Serving is that simple (if you want it to be). The flavors, however, are more complex. You’ll add saffron, turmeric, bell pepper, onion and, the most unique of all, coconut milk to nutritiously delicious brown rice. If that doesn’t get your guests moving and shaking, you may need a mariachi band.

Vegan Coconut-Spice Paella Recipe

Coconut-Spice Paella

 vegan * gluten-free

1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
8 spears asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 cups short grain brown rice
2 pinches saffron (about 1/2 tsp.)
1/2 tsp. Himalayan pink salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. turmeric
1 can unsweetened coconut milk, cream skimmed off and set aside
1-1/2 – 2 cups water


  1. In a large pan over medium heat, sauté asparagus and pepper in 1 tablespoon olive oil for a few minutes, or until veggies begin to soften.
  1. Add rice, coconut milk, half of the reserved coconut milk cream, ½ cup water and spices. Mix well and bring to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  1. Add another 1/2 cup water and remaining coconut milk cream. Stir together, cover again and simmer another 20 – 30 minutes.
  1. If rice is still not done (the gummy texture will give it away), add more water – a ½ cup at a time. Cover and continue to simmer on low for 5-10 minutes, or until rice is fully cooked.

Note: traditional paella features seafood, chorizo, chicken or a combination of these. You can certainly add any of the above proteins to your paella. I would recommend following the recipe as is and serving the paella as a side to the meat or seafood.