Paella is a traditional Spanish rice dish that originated in the Valencia region of Spain. It typically consists of rice cooked with a variety of ingredients such as seafood, meats, vegetables, and spices. The dish is cooked in a wide, shallow pan called a “paellera,” which gives the dish its name.

There are several different types of paella, each with distinct ingredients and flavors. Some of the most common types include:

  • Paella Valenciana: This is the original and most traditional version of paella. It typically includes chicken, rabbit, green beans, tomatoes, saffron, and sometimes snails.
  • Paella de Mariscos (seafood paella): As the name suggests, this variation focuses on seafood. It often includes shrimp, mussels, clams, squid, and sometimes fish fillets, along with vegetables and saffron-infused rice.
  • Paella Mixta (mixed paella), which is what this recipe is: This version combines both meat and seafood, often including chicken, chorizo, or other types of sausage, shrimp, and various shellfish.
  • Paella de Verduras (vegetable paella): Vegetarian paella typically features a variety of seasonal vegetables such as bell peppers, artichokes, peas, green beans, tomatoes, and sometimes mushrooms.
  • Paella Negra (black paella): This distinctive variation gets its color from squid ink, which is added to the rice to give it a deep black hue. It often includes seafood such as squid, shrimp, and mussels.

There are many regional variations and creative interpretations of paella found throughout Spain and beyond. Each type of paella reflects the local ingredients and culinary traditions of its region.

I’ve taken three liberties with the traditional recipe here (with apologies to my Spanish friends:

  1. In an unusual departure from traditional Spanish paella rice, I use parboiled rice. Thanks to its high resistant starch content, this type of rice not only has a much lower glycemic index ranking than all other types of rice, it also nourishes the gut bacteria and thus has prebiotic benefits.
  2. I have tweaked the macronutrient ratios of this dish: traditional paella usually comprises a large amount of rice (a type of refined carbohydrate that’s not particularly nutritious or satiating) speckled with bits of vegetable and meat or fish. Here, I’ve dramatically reduced the amount of rice used, increased protein from chicken, shrimp, and mussels, and added lots of vegetables that provide color, flavor, fiber, and nutrients.
  3. I cook the paella in a pressure cooker. Yes, really! Since I don’t own a large paella pan, I start the paella in my Instant Pot and finish it in a baking dish in the oven, where the rice dries out a little and the shrimp and mussels get cooked just before serving. If you don’t have a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, you can cook the paella on the stovetop; try doing so in a shallow, wider pot so the rice is cooked evenly.

    Paella Mixta

    Keyword: 30 Minutes Max., Dairy-Free (or can be), Fish & Seafood, Gluten-Free (or can be), Instant Pot, Meat & Chicken
    Total Time: 30 minutes
    Servings: 6 servings
    Calories: 398kcal
    Transport yourself to Spain with this fragrant, quick-and-easy dish
    Print Recipe

    Equipment

    • pressure cooker of Instant Pot can be made on the stove top but takes 2-3 times longer

    Ingredients

    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 large yellow onion diced
    • 1 tbsp minced garlic the equivalent of 4-5 cloves
    • 3 oz Spanish chorizo cut into ¼-inch slices and then into quarters. Unlike Mexican chorizo, which is made with fresh meat, Spanish chorizo is a hard, cured sausage; the Palacios brand is the easiest to find; I usually use their sweet chorizo, but you cd try the spicy one if you like.
    • 12 oz chicken thigh meat skinless, boneless; cut into 1-inch cubes
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 sprigs fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried thyme
    • 2-3 generous pinches saffron Trader Joe's has the most affordable saffron
    • 1 tbsp smoked paprika powder
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp black pepper freshly ground
    • 1 medium red bell pepper seeded & coarsely diced
    • 1 medium yellow bell pepper seeded & coarsely diced
    • 1 medium green bell pepper seeded & coarsely diced
    • 6 oz green beans cut into bite-sized pieces
    • 1 cup diced tomatoes fresh or canned
    • ¾ cup Ben's parboiled rice
    • 1 cup chicken bone broth
    • 1 cup frozen peas
    • 1 pound raw shrimp shell-on
    • 1 pound raw mussels washed and cleaned
    • a squeeze of lemon juice
    • ½ cup parsley coarsely chopped

    Instructions

    • On the SAUTE (high) setting of the Instant Pot, warm olive oil and sauté onions and garlic for 1-2 minutes, stirring. Add chorizo and sauté another 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes until browned all over.
    • Add the spices, herbs, bell peppers, and tomatoes, and stir to combine. Add rice and chicken bone broth and stir again.
    • Cover the pot and lock the lid. Set to PRESSURE, HIGH for 4 minutes.
    • While the paella cooks, preheat the oven to 400F. Prepare a large oven-proof dish.
    • Once the 4-minute cooking time is up, let the pressure reduce naturally for 5 minutes, then press CANCEL and release the remaining pressure by switching the pressure valve to the VENTING setting. Cover the vent with a towel.
    • Remove the lid and pour the paella into the oven-proof dish. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add a little lemon juice.
    • Fold in the peas and the shrimp, and scatter the mussels over the top. Place in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes until the mussels and shrimp are cooked through (taste one of each to check).
    • Scatter with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.
    • In a tightly sealed container this keeps in the fridge for 4-5 days; freezes well, too.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1serving | Calories: 398kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 169mg | Sodium: 867mg | Potassium: 798mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2440IU | Vitamin C: 108mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 5mg