5 from 13 votes

Vegetable Paella

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Try this one-pot vegetable paella! It's low in price, high in flavour and packed full of veggies. Ideal for meal prep and sharing with the family/friends.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 4

This vegetable paella recipe is the answer to a budget paella. We’re using cheap and delicious, vibrant veggies to replace the meat/fish traditionally used in a Spanish paella.

Vegetable paella in a large pan garnished with lemon wedged

Why this recipe works

To make this vegetable paella I swapped the saffron (super expensive)! with a tiny dash of turmeric, to provide the gorgeous bright yellow colour that’s associated with paella. Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like turmeric. It all comes together in one pot, so we can spend less time cleaning and more time admiring our delicious vegetable paella.

To save on costs and still be able to make the delicious yellow rice, see 12 Best Substitutes for Saffron


Over head shot of ingredients to make paella laid out on a pale blue background and labelled.

Paella Rice
Short-grain rice contains more starch than long grain rice and ideal for this vegetable paella dish, as the grains are shorter and tend to stick together when cooked. If you are on a budget, I’ve used what ever rice I have in the cupboard as you can still enjoy this dish with all it’s flavours and added vegetables.

Peas, Onions, Garlic and Peppers
The essential combination of vegetables for this paella, don’t skip any of these!

Lemon and Parsley
A squeeze of lemon adds the citrous tanginess and a sprinkle of parsley peppery taste of parsley adds the final flavour to this comforting and satisfying dish.

See the recipe card for full information on all ingredients and quantities.

How to make this recipe

  1. Start by frying a finely chopped onion in large/deep non-stick frying pan with a tbsp of olive oil. Fry until translucent for around 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
    If you have a paella pan that will make the dish look more authentic, but my paella pan doesn’t work on my induction hob, so I used a non stick large frying pan which worked fine! (Image 1).
  2. Then add the minced garlic, paprika and turmeric to the onions and continue to fry until the spices bloom for a couple of minutes (Image 2).
2 step by step photos, the first with onions frying in a pan with a spatula, the second with onions frying in a pan with spices added.

3. Add half a tin of chopped tomatoes & sliced red peppers and bring to simmer, before adding the stock and green beans (Image 3).

4. Next add the rice and simmer for 30 minutes (Image 4). 

2 step by step photos, the first with green beans, peppers and tomatoey stock in the pan, the second with rice added to the same pan.

5. Keep adding an extra splash of water, if the stock has absorbed and the rice is still cooking. Add the peas in the last 5 minutes (Image 5).

6. Taste the rice and when the paella is ready, squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the pan. Before you serve, decorate the paella with lemon wedges around the edge and sprinkle some fresh parsley over the top. Enjoy! (Image 6).

2 step by step photos, the first with rice, peas, peppers and green beans cooked in a pan, the second with lemon wedges and parsley added.

Here are some other paella dishes to try: Chicken and Chorizo Paella and Loaded Vegetable Paella

Tips and Tricks

  • To make this vegetable paella, use short-grain rice like Arborio, Valencia rice or risotto rice as they absorb flavors well and have a nice creamy texture.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t have a traditional paella pan! You can use a large pan with a wide surface area. This allows the rice to cook evenly and helps to develop the crispy bottom layer.
  • Season generously: Paella is all about bold flavors, so vegetable stock to cook the rice and season it with salt and pepper.
  • Add lemon wedges and chopped parsley, they are the perfect pairing for this recipe.

Other recipes you’ll love with rice ; Easy Cajun Dirty Rice, Turkey Mince Recipe and Golden Vegetable Pilaf


What vegetables can I use in vegetable paella?

You can use a variety of vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, peas, artichokes, asparagus, courgettes and green beans. Feel free to use your favorite vegetables or whatever is in season

How long does the vegetable paella take to cook?

Allow the flavours to bloom and the rice to cook by adding a few ladles of stock at a time. Add your vegetables along the way so as not to overcook them. Try not to stir (maybe a couple of times) and once the rice is ready, leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving with the lemon and parsley.

Can I add other spices and seasonings to vegetable paella?

Yes, adding spices and seasonings is essential to flavour this vegetable paella. Some common seasonings include saffron (for traditional flavor and vibrant color) but to reduce costs, I used smoked paprika, turmeric and stock cubes. Add plenty of salt and pepper and adjust the seasonings according to your taste preferences.

Here are some sweet recipes to try after the paella: Chocolate Tiffin Cake, Chocolate Brownies and Lemon Drizzle Cake

If you tried this Vegetable Paella recipe, it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x

Vegetable Paella

5 from 13 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Try this one-pot vegetable paella! It's low in price, high in flavour and packed full of veggies. Ideal for meal prep and sharing with the family/friends.


  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced (£0.09)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced (£0.69/3)=(£0.23)
  • 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced (£0.48x2)=(£0.98)
  • ½ tin chopped tomatoes (£0.32)
  • 2 handfuls of frozen peas (£0.66/10)=(£0.07)
  • 350 g paella rice (£1.40)
  • 180 g trimmed green beans, sliced diagonally (£0.89)
  • Fresh parsley, torn (£0.50)
  • 2 lemons, ½ + wedges to garnish (£0.59)
  • 60 g wild rocket (£0.60)

Cupboard Essentials

  • 1 - 1.2 litre veggie stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Salt & Pepper


  • Add your finely chopped onion into a large/deep non-stick frying pan (or paella pan if you have one) along with a splash of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and fry until translucent on a medium heat, for approx 6 minutes.
  • Next, add the minced garlic, paprika and turmeric into the pan to fry for a further minute. Then add half the tin of chopped tomatoes & red peppers into the pan. Stir to combine and increase the heat to cook off the liquid.
  • Pop the stock, rice and green beans into the pan, simmering for around 20 minutes. For the remaining 5 minutes of cook time, add the peas and an extra splash of water if it needs it.
  • When the stock has absorbed and the paella is cooked and ready to eat, add the juice of half a lemon into the pan. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley. Serve with rocket side salad.


  • Use short-grain rice such as Arborio or Valencia rice for a creamy texture and enhanced flavor absorption.
  • A large pan with a wide surface area can be used if a traditional paella pan is not available, ensuring even cooking and a crispy bottom layer.
  • Season generously with vegetable stock, salt, and pepper to create bold flavors. Serve with lemon wedges and chopped parsley for a perfect finishing touch.


Servings: 4 servings
Fat: 5g
Calories: 438kcal
Carbohydrates: 86g
Protein: 12g

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