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Quinoa Seafood Paella

Paella is a quintessential dish of Spain. A feast for all the senses- from the rich saffron color to the mind-blowing flavor profile of a fresh sofrito, this dish is naturally a well balanced meal. A typical paella combines your grains (typically rice), simmered with some protein (usually a blend of seafood or meat), and a variety of colorful vegetables in a hearty summer dish. Here I'll reintroduce you to the authentic Spanish ingredients that make paella so savory and satisfying. The signature flavor base of a paella is called sofrito, but depending on the region in Spain and personal tastes, sofritos can vary.

Varieties of sofritos are known by many cultures- Latin America is no stranger to salsas, and Southeast Asia, for example, has a variety of chutneys. The more variety of these flavor bases you familiarize yourself with, the more creative your paellas can become.

Plus, I'll show you how to create the perfect paella accompaniment—a fresh summer salad with homemade citrus vinaigrette.

Here I substituted typical rice for quinoa for a slightly higher fiber and protein option.

Ingredients (8 servings):

Serving size: 1 ½ cups shrimp

· 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil

· 1 onion, finely chopped

· 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

· 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced

· 4 garlic cloves, minced

· 1TBSP tomato paste

· 1 tsp Spanish saffron threads

· 1 cup quinoa

· 2 cups unsalted chicken broth

· 10 oz. canned diced tomatoes

· ¼ tsp coarse salt

· 1lb large wild shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 30)

· 1lb calamari rings

· 3 TBSP chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

· 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges

Tip: If your nutrition needs require a little less carbs and more vegetables, you can try to add 1 cup riced cauliflower in place of 1/2 cup dry quinoa or rice.


  1. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet or paella pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.

  2. Add the tomato paste and saffron to the skillet, stirring until well mixed. Add the quinoa, broth, tomatoes, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes.

  3. Tuck the shrimp and calamari into the quinoa mixture. Cover until the shrimp and calamari are cooked through, about 5 minutes.

  4. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with parsley and garnish with lemon wedges. Serve directly from the skillet, or add to a serving platter.

One serving contains about 210 calories and 1.5 carb servings; 4g fat, 0.6g saturated fat, 3g fiber, 5g sugar, 195mg cholesterol, 260mg sodium, 590mg potassium, 335mg phosphorous, 21g protein


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