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Overhead shot of a vegan paella cooked in a wide skillet with "seafood" tofu and parsley
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5 from 7 votes

Vegan Paella

A fresh, flavorful Spanish vegan paella packed with veggies like leeks, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes with tofu standing in for the seafood. It's a vibrant pop of nutrition and flavor, all in one dish--and one pot.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Spanish
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Vegan Paella
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 343kcal


For the "seafood" tofu

  • 14 oz extra firm tofu (or super firm tofu. Press out water if using extra firm, then cube into ½-inch pieces)
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (optional)
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

For the paella rice

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 small onion (finely diced)
  • 1 leek (cleaned of all grit, then white and green parts chopped. Optional)
  • 2 medium bell peppers (any color, finely diced)
  • 8 oz crimini mushrooms (sliced. Button mushrooms or portobello mushrooms are fine too)
  • ¼ cup white wine (optional)
  • 2 medium tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
  • 16 oz lima beans (frozen or canned. Drain if using canned. Optional)
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • cups vegetable stock (or water)
  • A generous pinch saffron
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 bunch parsley (chopped)


Make the tofu

  • Toss the tofu with the garlic, paprika, Old Bay seasoning, if using, and salt and black pepper.
  • Heat 2 tsp oil in a paella pan or any wide skillet. Add the tofu in a single layer and cook, stirring so all sides come in contact with the pan and get lightly golden brown. This is much better done in the air fryer. If using the air fryer, toss the tofu in the oil along with the other spices, place in the air fryer basket and air fry 16 minutes at 400 degrees. Toss the cubes around halfway through to ensure they all cook and crisp up evenly.

Make the paella rice

  • Heat the oil. Add the garlic, onions, leeks and bell peppers. Season with salt and ground black pepper and saute until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Add the mushrooms and the wine, if using. Cook until most of the moisture in the pot has evaporated, then add the tomatoes, tomato paste and lima beans, if using.
  • Mix well, add the oregano, smoked paprika and cayenne and stir in. Then add the rice and stir it in until it's merged in with the veggies and spices.
  • Add the rice to the skillet and cook, stirring, until the grains appear translucent, a couple of minutes. Add the vegetable stock or water to the pot, add salt to taste (the water should taste saltier than you want your rice to be) and mix well. Let the rice cook, uncovered, until the stock or water boils. Add the saffron strands and stir them in lightly.
  • Cover the pot and let the rice cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Uncover the pot, place the tofu on top, cover again, and let the rice cook another 10 minutes. If you want the layer of burnt rice, socarrat, at the bottom, turn up the heat in the last five minutes of cooking.
  • Let the rice stand, covered, for 10 minutes, then open, fluff gently with a fork, and serve, garnished with parsley.


Calories: 343kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Potassium: 1003mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 3096IU | Vitamin C: 73mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 6mg