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Smoky Paella with Asparagus and Prawns

Serves 8


    Smoky Paella with Asparagus and Prawns

    With its smoky paprika and subtle earthy flavours of saffron, anyone eating this paella will be looking for seconds. It’s a delightfully cozy dish and easy to make ahead for a crowd. Serve with crusty bread, a dish of roasted Spanish olives, and roasted peppers; finish with a drizzle of good quality olive oil.


    Beautiful bomba

    Paella can be made with most types of rice, but for best results, “bomba” rice is the ideal way to go. It has the ability to absorb plenty of liquid and will hold its shape after cooking. Otherwise, spring for arborio rice, which is typically used for making risotto but works well for paella too.

    Make-ahead tip

    When rice mixture is cooked, remove from heat and cool. Cover and refrigerate for up to a day or overnight. To finish cooking, transfer to oven-safe dish with tight-fitting lid. Heat in 350 F (175 C) oven for 30 minutes. Add chickpeas, asparagus, and prawns and continue to heat in oven, covered, until piping hot. Add more seasonings, to taste, and garnish before serving.  


    Smoky Paella with Asparagus and Prawns


      • 2 large fennel bulbs, trimmed and each cut into 8 wedges, fronds reserved
      • 6 to 8 small carrots, scrubbed and trimmed
      • 6 to 8 red-skinned baby potatoes, quartered
      • 6 Tbsp (90 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
      • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt, divided
      • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper, divided
      • 1/4 cup (60 mL) minced fresh parsley
      • 4 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed, and minced
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) smoked paprika
      • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) saffron threads, crushed
      • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
      • 14 oz (398 mL) can diced tomatoes, including juice
      • 2 1/4 cups (560 mL) bomba or arborio rice, thoroughly rinsed and drained
      • 4 cups (1 L) low-sodium vegetable stock
      • 12 oz (375 g) fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 in (2.5 cm) pieces
      • 14 oz (398 mL) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
      • 12 to 16 large raw prawns, peeled, tail on
      • Finely grated zest and juice from 1 lemon
      • Parsley sprigs and lemon wedges, for garnish


      Per serving:

      • calories512
      • protein16 g
      • fat12 g
        • sat. fat2 g
      • total carbohydrates88 g
        • sugars7 g
        • fibre10 g
      • sodium562 mg



      Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C).


      In large bowl, toss fennel wedges, carrots, potatoes, and 4 Tbsp (60 mL) oil. Season generously with half the salt and pepper. Spread out on large baking sheet. Roast until tender and brown around the edges, about 30 minutes.


      In small bowl, combine 1/4 cup (60 mL) parsley and garlic. Stir in paprika, saffron, and remaining salt and pepper. Set aside.


      In very large saucepan with tight-fitting lid, heat remaining 2 Tbsp (30 mL) oil. Add onion and sauté until soft. Add tomatoes, rice, and parsley mixture. Stir in stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in asparagus, chickpeas, and prawns. Cover and heat through until piping hot and prawns have just turned pink, about 5 more minutes. Fold in roasted vegetables. Season, to taste.


      Transfer to large platter. Sprinkle with zest and juice from lemon. Garnish with fennel fronds, parsley sprigs, and lemon wedges. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, if you wish.



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