This healthy paella recipe is ready in just 30 minutes! Chorizo and fire roasted tomatoes give it tons of flavor, and everything cooks together in one pan for easy cleanup.
I always thought that I didn’t like paella, but that was only because I never had a good one. The versions I’d tasted were always dried out and flavorless. Then, a few years ago, I attended an event called the Big Summer Potluck where Pam from Three Many Cooks made the most delicious paella I’ve ever tasted. And I fell in love.
Despite being simpler than most paellas (no seafood!) it was full of flavor. The bottom layer of rice was crisp, but it wasn’t dried out at all. Weeks later, I found myself craving it and I knew that I would have to learn to make it in my own kitchen.
Since I loved Pam’s version so much, I used the recipe from her book Perfect One Dish Dinners as a starting off point for my own healthy paella recipe. The result was exactly what I was looking for, and it couldn’t have been easier to make. Since this summer, paella has become a weeknight staple in my house and, for once, we’re both happy with it.
How to make healthy paella
Traditionally, paella is made with calasparra or bomba rice because of their ability to absorb lots of liquid but arborio rice, which is easier to find, does the job just as well. Short grain brown rice can also be used to add more fiber and a nuttier flavor, but you’ll need to adjust the cooking time.
I add chorizo to the pot while the rice cooks to infuse tons of flavor into every last bite. Chorizo is full of flavor, so a little bit goes a long way! A pinch of smoked paprika and some saffron round out the traditional flavor profile. Saffron can be pricey, so I seek out at Trader Joe’s. Badia also sells a more affordable version that can be found in more traditional grocery stores.
I used fire roasted tomatoes to add another dimension of smokey flavor to this healthy paella recipe. Finishing it off with lemon juice brightens the dish up and prevents the flavors from feeling heavy or muddy.
I kept this paella recipe simple with red bell peppers and peas, but you can bulk it up with all sorts of vegetables. I love adding a can of quartered artichoke hearts and chopped fresh green beans, but you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand. This is a great recipe to help clean out the fridge!
- 1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 ounces dried chorizo, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1-1/2 cups arborio rice, or other short grain rice
- 3 cups chicken stock or seafood stock
- 1 can (15.5 ounces) fire roasted tomatoes, drained
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 generous pinch saffron
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Set a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Toss the chicken with the olive oil, paprika, and oregano. When the pan is hot, add the chicken. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through - about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
- Add the sausage, onion, pepper, and garlic to the pan. Cook until sausage has browned and vegetables have softened - about 5 minutes. Add the rice, stock, tomatoes, crushed red pepper and saffron.
- Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has absorbed and the rice is soft. Stir in the cooked chicken and peas. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, to bring to warm the peas. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand for another minute or two before serving.
Amount Per Serving Calories 630Total Fat 19gSaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 72mgSodium 1310mgFiber 6gSugar 10gProtein 33g