If you love paella but hate how expensive it can be to make, you will love this easy poor man's gluten free paella.
Full of scallop, shrimp, and calamari, your friends will never know you skimped on cost.
I love paella, especially gluten free paella :-).
What is Paella?
Paella is a Spanish dish that originated back in the 19th century on the Eastern coast of Spain. There are only three rules to making paella. (My recipe breaks at least one rule, so I am not quite a rebel.)
Rule #1, cook paella over a fire.
Rule #2, use a paella pan (oops!)
Lastly, #3, use a medium grain rice.
I have always thought that paella is that showstopper meal that is perfect for entertaining. It not only has a beautiful golden color from being cooked with saffron threads but having lots of seafood and meats slowly cooking in the rice adds a beautiful depth of flavor that bursts through with every bite.
What seafood is best for paella?
There is a wide variety of seafood and meats you can use in your seafood paella recipe. Chicken, sausage, mussels, fish, clams, and shrimp are most commonly used. My kids love shellfish of any kind, as long as there is no fish in this recipe, they will eat it up. (My kids are funny about fish.)
Unfortunately, paella can also be a very expensive meal to create. Shrimp, mussels, and other specialty meats and seafood prices add up really fast. If you have wondered how to make gluten-free paella, I have come up with an easier and much less expensive way to make paella so it can be enjoyed anytime. (And it tastes great!)
My big secret hack is this mixed frozen seafood bag at Trader Joe's.
Their frozen seafood combination includes scallops, shrimp, and calamari. (I also like to use this seafood blend in my risotto recipe!) I used a mild Italian chicken sausage to keep this paella recipe low fat.
What rice is best for paella?
As I mentioned above, the best rice for paella is medium grain rice. My favorites are:
- Calrose Rice
- Basmati rice
- Brown rice (I have been using brown rice more as it is a little healthier than white rice.)
Tools You Need To Make This Recipe:
- A large cast iron pan is best because it heats evenly.
- Real saffron threads not only add antioxidants, but they turn this dish a beautiful color too!
How to make cheap and easy paella:
Easy Gluten Free Paella
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 red or green pepper chopped
- 1 clove small green garlic sliced (or 1garlic, crushed.), baby
- 1 ½ cups brown rice
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 can organic diced tomatoes no salt added
- 3 links of Italian chicken sausage chopped (you can also add chicken if you would like)
- 1 package of frozen seafood defrosted (I use Trader Joe's calamari, shrimp, and scallop blend.)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pinches saffron threads
- In a big pot on medium heat, add oil, onion, pepper, and garlic.
- Cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Add rice, diced tomatoes, and water to the pot.
- Add salt, pepper, and saffron to the pot.
- Cover the pot and turn down the heat.
- When half of the liquid has been absorbed, add sliced sausage and seafood to the pot.
- Simmer until the water has all been absorbed.
- Add more salt if needed.
Would you like to try another quick and easy recipe? Here is a recipe for Deconstructed Spring Rolls for you to enjoy.