Chickpea and Caramelized Onion Paella Recipe

Chickpea and Caramelized Onion Paella

Serves 4 to 6

We combine rice, chickpeas, and flavorful vegetables for a scrumptious plant-based version of this beloved dish from Spain.


  • 1 (14 ounce) can quartered artichokes, drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups short grain rice (See Cook’s Tips)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste (See Cook’s Tips)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 large carrot, small diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen peas
  • 2 teaspoons pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika), dulce or picante
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced (about 1 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Lemon wedges
  • 2 tablespoons Italian parsley leaves, chopped fresh


  1. Make sofrito: Heat a large, cast-iron pan or heavy-bottom skillet over medium low heat. Add olive oil, onion, and pimentón. Sauté 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, carrot, garlic, tomato paste, miso, and 1 teaspoon salt. Continue to cook 10 to 12 minutes until everything is soft and paste-like. This low and slow process develops the sofrito, which is the fundamental flavor base to this dish.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring vegetable stock and white wine to a simmer. Add turmeric and stir. Reduce heat to low and keep warm.
  3. To the sofrito, add rice, chickpeas, 2 teaspoons salt, and 3 cups warm liquid mixture. Stir and evenly distribute contents of pan.
  4. Over the top of the rice, scatter bell pepper and artichokes. Do not stir. Bring to a simmer. Cover with foil or lid. Reduce heat to low, and allow to cook, undisturbed 20 minutes. If rice seems too dry after 20 minutes, slowly drizzle a little more of the reserved, warm liquid around sides of pan. Taste rice and adjust seasoning, as necessary.
  5. After 20 minutes of cooking, add peas. Replace foil cover and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until everything is warmed through.
  6. Top paella with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and chopped parsley.
  7. Cook’s Tips:
  8. Umami-rich miso paste adds depth of flavor to many dishes besides this one. It keeps a long time in the fridge so don’t shy away from buying a tub. Add it to marinades, stir-fry dishes, soups, and salad dressings. You can even bake with it!
  9. When finished, don’t forget to scrape off the crispy rice at the bottom of the skillet. It will be caramelized, nutty, toasty, and have all the concentrated flavors of your paella. This is known as “socarrat” and is considered by many to be the best part!
  10. Traditional paella is made with short grain, Spanish, bomba rice due to its ability to absorb a lot of liquid and not get sticky.


Amount Per Serving (based on 6 servings)
Added Sugars: 1 g
Calories: 460
Carbohydrates: 70 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Fiber: 10 g
Protein: 13 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Sodium: 1750 mg
Total Fat: 14 g
Total Sugar: 13 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
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