Vegetable Paella

Katie Button

Cúrate and Nightbell, Asheville, NC

Chef Katie Button tracks the seasons through this vegetable paella recipe, which shifts with the harvest in summer, fall, winter, and spring. This flexible main dish makes use of whatever’s hiding in your crisper drawer, letting the vegetables ground the dish, and using scraps to build a stock for the rice.


Vegetable scrap stock:

  • 3 cups mushroom stems
  • 3 cups onion scraps (not the paper)
  • 1 1/2 cups carrot scraps
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable scraps (celery ends, bell pepper tops)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups of water
  • 8 parsley stems


  • 1 large egg
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup blended oil or olive oil


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 artichoke, cleaned, choke removed, stem intact, and cut into quarters (see note)
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 green bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • Handful of mushrooms (any variety), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon onion, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh tomato
  • 2 pinches pimento
  • 4 cups vegetable scrap stock (If using Arborio, Calasparra, or another short grain rice instead, the amount of stock needed can be reduced to 3 cups)
  • 1 cup paella rice, preferably Bomba
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 12-inch paella pan (or a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan)



Make stock: preheat oven to 450°F. Toss mushroom, onion, carrot, garlic, and vegetable scraps in 1/4 cup oil and spread on a baking sheet. Roast, stirring every 5 minutes, until they have taken on color, about 30 minutes.

In a saucepot, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the tomato paste and stir continuously until caramelized, about 2 minutes. Add the roasted vegetable scraps and the white wine. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add the water and parsley stems. Bring the stock to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour, then strain through a fine mesh sieve.

Make the aïoli: combine the egg, garlic, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor. Turn the machine on and pour a little of the oil through the feed tube. Slowly add the remaining oil and process until it’s all emulsified into the mixture. (Alternatively, to make the aioli by hand, push the garlic through a garlic press, then whisk with the egg, lemon juice, and salt. Whisk in the oil, a drop at a time, to ensure an emulsification that won’t break.) The aioli can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Make the paella: heat the paella pan over medium-high heat with a little bit of oil. Sauté the artichokes, peppers, and mushrooms so that they get a little color on them, about 5 minutes. Remove vegetables from the pan. Set aside. Add more oil and cook onion and garlic until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add grated tomato and cook until tomato has caramelized and liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the pimento and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, add rice, and stir. Bring liquid to a boil again and reduce heat to a simmer. Taste and season with salt. Add artichokes and reduce, about 10 minutes. Place remaining vegetables on top of the rice and continue to cook paella until the liquid has cooked out of the pan and it begins to stick to the bottom of the pan, about 15 minutes. Raise heat to high for the last 5 minutes to create the crust. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve with aioli.

Note: to clean and trim artichokes, using a serrated knife, cut off the top half of the artichoke and half of the stem. Carefully pull off the outer leaves, making your way into the center of the artichoke. Using a paring knife, clean the remaining tough remnants of leaves until you have a pale green heart. Halve, remove hairy center with a knife, and submerge in lemon water until ready to cook.


From Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food by The James Beard Foundation/Rizzoli Publishing.



2 entrée servings