It turns out I had nothing to worry about but because this dish completely exceeded any expectation I had on what a grain free paella would taste like. The flavours are spot on, exactly like traditional paella and the texture is similar to the Spanish rice dish, but a whole lot lighter due to the substitution of cauliflower. I was even able to get the cauliflower rice to caramelize and stick to the bottom of the pan, my favourite part about traditional paella.
This dish is very easy to make and incredibly versatile. In this recipe I used pancetta, chorizo, chicken and prawns but you can really use a combination of any meat or seafood you have on hand including pork, beef, fish, mussels, shrimp or squid. To keep the texture of this dish as similar to rice based paella as possible, be sure to only pulse the cauliflower for a few seconds in the food processor so the rice is quite coarse (not fine and powdery like cauliflower couscous).
This is a terrific mid week dinner (the left overs are great to take for lunch the next day) but is equally as impressive as a dish to serve to guests. I hope you enjoy!
If you make this recipe let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear what you think or take a photo and tag me (@everylastbite_) on Instagram, I love seeing your photos!
- 1 small head cauliflower (3 cups cauliflower rice)
- 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into small pieces
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped pancetta
- 3/4 cup chopped spicy chorizo
- 6 prawns heads removed by shells still on
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 red pepper chopped
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp saffron threads
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup frozen peas (omit for whole30)
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- lemon wedges
Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a frying pan on medium high heat. Place the cubed chicken in the frying pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to ensure nothing burns. Add in the chopped pancetta and chorizo and cook until the chorizo has began to brown and the pancetta has become crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken, chorizo and pancetta from the pan and set aside in a bowl.
Place the prawns in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until pink, and then place in the bowl with the other cooked meats.
Add in the diced onion, red peppers, garlic and sprinkle with salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the onions and peppers begin to soften and then add in the paprika and saffron, white wine vinegar, chicken stock and tomatoes. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Increase the heat to hight and add the cauliflower rice, peas (if not Whole30), chicken, pancetta and chorizo in the pan with the sauce, stir and then cover to allow the cauliflower to cook for approximately 10 minutes until the rice becomes tender but not mushy and begins to stick to the bottom of the pan.
Before serving arrange the prawns on top of the paella and sprinkle with the chopped parsley. Serve with slices of lemon.