Mushroom Paella

There are few dishes as flavor-packed, satisfying, and vibrant as paella. This vegan mushroom paella packs a tasty punch of flavor thanks to a sofrito base, hearty mushrooms, and artichoke hearts. It’s cooked with lots of tender rice and that delectable golden-brown paella crust.

There are few dishes as flavor-packed, satisfying, and vibrant as paella. Searching for “paella” or even “vegan paella” recipes reveals thousands of results, each with a slightly different technique. However, there seem to be a few elements that most consider fundamental.

Paella Fundamentals

1. The type of pan matters and yes, there is such a thing as a “paella pan”, but a cast-iron skillet works well too.

2. All paellas start with a sofrito or flavor base of julienned or chopped vegetables cooked in oil. The vegetables caramelize as they cook, taking on deeper, richer flavors. Hence, the sofrito serves as an essential flavor building block in paella. A basic sofrito almost always includes garlic and tomatoes, but red bell peppers and onions are sometimes added.

3. Unlike stirring-intensive, one-pan rice dishes, such as Risotto, for paella, once you add the rice and the broth to the pan, you stir it once and leave it alone. If Risotto is the “stir it like it’s hot” version, then paella is the “forget it exists” equivalent.

4. Speaking of rice, the highly-absorbent short-grain rice is vital to achieving the right texture. If you use a different type of rice, you risk creating a mushy, gummy paella that no one wants. The best options are Bomba, which is often the go-to paella rice in Spain, or Arborio, which also works well.

5. The Socarrat. Considered by many the most delicious part of paella, socarrat is the golden-brown rice crust that forms along the bottom and the sides of the pan as the rice cooks. Depending on the type of pan and heat, the socarrat will either naturally develop throughout cooking or gently caramelizes and toasts at the bottom of the pan due to the heat being turned up for the last 60 seconds of cooking.

6. Saffron. The thread-like spice infuses and flavors the dish with that beloved golden hue. Given its steep price tag, it’s all too appropriate that saffron is considered the “gold standard” paella spice. Feel free to omit or substitute the saffron with ground turmeric.

How to Make This Mushroom Paella

I had mushroom paella on my to-cook list for nearly a year but always felt intimated by the recipe. After a prolonged period of dilly-dallying, a wave of determination washed over me, and I decided that it was time to finally tackle it.

Now that I’m on the flip side of my paella woes, I realize that there’s nothing to fear (except maybe the sudden desire to devour an entire skillet of the stuff).

To make this vegan mushroom paella, you start by dry cooking the mushrooms. I used a combination of baby bella or cremini, button, and porcini mushrooms, but feel free to mix and match as you like.

Dry cooking the mushrooms intensifies their flavor, ensures they have a hearty, meaty texture, and seasons the pan. Once the mushrooms are just about done, season them with parsley and olive oil, then scoop them out of the pan and set them aside for later.

Next, you’ll get to work on that delicious sofrito.

I made the sofrito with julienned red onion and red bell pepper, diced tomatoes, and lots of garlic to aromatize the paella with as much flavor as possible.

Cook those vegetables until they’re tender and caramelized.

Next, stir in the quartered artichoke hearts and cook them for just a minute or two more before adding the rice. Gently stir-fry the rice until it begins to turn translucent. Then, add an abundance of vegetable broth, a bit of water, and a generous pinch of saffron or ground turmeric. Stir once and let it cook.

The rice will begin to puff up after about 10 minutes into cooking. At that point, add the mushrooms back to the pan, stir gently and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Once done, remove the skillet from the heat, cover it with foil loosely, and allow the paella to rest for 10 minutes.

And for the last step, uncover that delicious paella and season it to taste with fresh parsley, sea salt, and a generous spritz of fresh lemon juice. Perfection!

More Gluten Free Dishes

Mushroom Paella

Recipe by therecipestack

6 to 8

Prep time


Cooking time


Total time





There are few dishes as flavor-packed, satisfying, and vibrant as paella. This vegan mushroom paella packs a tasty punch of flavor thanks to a sofrito base, hearty mushrooms, and artichoke hearts. It’s cooked with lots of tender rice and that delectable golden-brown paella crust.


  • 1 ½ pounds of button or baby bella mushrooms, cremini, or a mix of both, stemmed and quartered or left whole (depending on size)

  • 1 ounce of dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted and drained

  • 1 medium red onion, julienned

  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienned

  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnishing

  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt, plus more to taste

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 (14-ounce) can of artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

  • 1 (14-ounce) can of diced tomatoes, undrained

  • 2 cups uncooked Arborio rice

  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

  • 1 cup of filtered water

  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads (optional but recommended)

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, depending on desired smokiness

  • 2 lemons, halved (for spritzing)


  • Heat a large (12-inch diameter), well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the button and cremini mushrooms only and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring as needed to prevent burning. At first, it will look like the mushrooms will burn, but then they will release their liquid. Continue until just the tiniest amount of mushroom liquid remains in the pan and the mushrooms have a deep golden-brown shine to them. 
  • Reduce the heat to low, and add the porcini mushrooms, the parsley and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook for another 2 minutes, or until the parsley wilts, stirring frequently. 
  • Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • Make the sofrito
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the pan over medium heat, and add the red bell pepper with 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until the pepper starts to become tender, stirring occasionally. 
  • Add the onion and cook for another 3 minutes. 
  • After that, add the garlic and paprika and cook for about 1 minute to caramelize the garlic. 
  • Then, stir in the diced tomatoes and cook for another 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the artichokes and cook for an additional 2 minutes to soften slightly. 
  • Add the arborio rice and cook for 1 minute, or until it begins turning translucent, stirring constantly. 
  • Reduce the heat to low, and add the vegetable broth, water, and saffron threads or ground turmeric. Carefully stir to distribute the broth, and let the rice simmer, uncovered and untouched, for approximately 10 minutes, or until it begins to absorb the broth.
  • Add the cooked mushrooms and stir gently to mix nicely. Level out the rice and continue cooking for 10-12 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is fluffy and tender.
  • If the rice hasn’t formed a crust (along the bottom and sides of the skillet) by the time it’s done cooking, turn the heat to high for 30-60 seconds or until you begin to smell the rice toasting.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, cover it with foil loosely, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  • Season to taste with parsley, sea salt and lemon juice.
  • Serve immediately, making sure that each serving gets a bit of rice from both the top and center of the pan and a bit of that flavorful, golden-brown crust from the bottom and sides. 
  • Refrigerate leftovers.


  • While tempting to stir throughout cooking, don’t do it! You want the rice at the bottom and sides of the skillet to form a crust -this is the best part.

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