Vegetarian Paella

Slim down Spain’s national dish by adding lots of vegetables and using tofu instead of the traditional fatty sausages. Tofu is a high-protein soybean product that can substitute for meat in many recipes. Although it contains fat (5.5 grams in 3 ounces), the fat is mostly the healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated types. And there’s no cholesterol. Cut preparation time by using quick-cooking couscous, which takes less time than rice.

Vegetarian Paella 1
Extra health benefits:Lower cholesterol, blood building, stronger immunity
Times:Prep: 5 min.; Cooking: 9 min.; Standing: 10 min.
Makes:4 servings
Per serving:
Fat:8.7 g. (17% of calories)
Fiber:11.5 g.
Cholesterol:0 mg.
Sodium:247 mg.

2 teaspoons canola oil
8 ounces firm tofu, cubed
1 large sweet red pepper, cut into strips
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups crushed canned tomatoes (with juices)
1 package (10 ounces) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon ground saffron
1 cup couscous

Vegetarian Paella 2

Add the oil to a paella pan or large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the tofu, peppers, onions and garlic. Cook and stir for 4 to 5 minutes or until the tofu is golden. Stir in the tomatoes (with juices), artichokes, corn and peas. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the liquid slightly thickens.

Add the broth, thyme and saffron. Bring to a boil, then stir in the couscous. Remove the pan or skillet from the heat. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Before serving, use a fork to fluff the couscous.

Chef’s note: Be sure to use a paella pan or large skillet because couscous expands a great deal when cooked. For a nuttier taste, use whole-wheat couscous. You can find it at health-food stores.

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