Vegetable paella

A saffron-infused vegetarian supper that's rich in fibre
Our vegetarian paella recipe is great for people living with cancer
1 rating
Recipe by: Sarah Drabble | Healthy You Editor

This fragrant recipe is as tasty as a normal paella, and, by using brown rice, it can really help people who are experiencing constipation, a common cancer side-effect. See all our recipes for people living with cancer.

This recipe has been designed by Sarah Drabble. It is taken from Eat Well During Cancer, our booklet helping you to cope with the side-effects of cancer. 

Recipe for people with cancer



  • 2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 240g brown basmati rice
  • 1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained (butterbeans make a tasty alternative)
  • 1 reduced-salt vegetable stock cube, dissolved into 750ml hot water
  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads (alternatively, use ¼ teaspoon turmeric or smoked paprika)
  • 300g green vegetables such as peas, green beans, broad beans, asparagus or courgette, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 red pepper (orange or yellow also work), cut into thin strips
  • ½ lemon, cut into 4 wedges
55 minutes

Nutrition information (per serving)

5 A DAY:
  1. Warm the oil in a large frying pan or paella dish over a medium heat. Then add the cumin seeds to flavour the oil.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and stir for about 1 minute.
  3. Add the rice and chickpeas to the pan, and then add the stock and saffron (or turmeric or paprika). Mix thoroughly. Make sure all the rice and chickpeas are covered with stock.
  4. Bring the mixture to the boil, and then reduce the heat and cover. Allow to simmer for 30–35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if required.
  5. Add the green vegetables and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Add the pepper, mix thoroughly, replace the cover and cook for a further 3–4 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
  7. Serve with a wedge of lemon.
Try adding diced lean meat, poultry or prawns. If raw, add with the green vegetables. If already cooked, add at step 5.