Whilst I was making Stuart a mixed meat paella which he loves I decided to make myself a vegetarian paella and thought I would share the recipe with you. It is very similar and perfect for vegetarians or vegans. So this is the vegetarian unofficial Slimming World paella I created.

vegetable and chickpea paella

If you follow Slimming World, Weight Watchers (WW), Noom or any other weight loss plan you can usually count this easily within your allowances as it is high in protein, low in fat and very filling.

Making a meal vegetarian easily

Whilst this unofficial Slimming World paella recipe is vegetarian and even vegan many healthy recipes you find may not be. As a vegetarian, I thought I would share some tips with you.

An easy way to make a meal vegetarian is to swap the meat for a vegetarian alternative such as Quorn. Other possible swaps are for jackfruit, lentils, chickpeas, mixed beans or just extra vegetables.

I have been a vegetarian since I was 10 years old and enjoy a huge variety of food so whatever you do, don’t let being vegetarian mean you need to eat a boring diet.

My mixed meat paella recipe (pictured below) is very similar to this vegetarian one.

mixed meat paella

Budget shopping tips

Chickpeas are a low-cost food and make this recipe pretty budget-friendly. If you are struggling with all the vegetables just add your ones of choice in.

Did you know when you strain chickpeas for this vegetarian paella if you keep the liquid it is called aquafaba and can be used as an egg alternative?

piggy bank with budget written in chalk on a blackboard

Adaptions to this vegetarian paella

You can replace the meat in paella with almost any vegetables and it will remain authentic (though you do need to keep the rice).  In fact, paella started in Valencia as a “leftovers” dish, where housewives would throw food in before it expired.  

The key to good paella is how you cook it.  By keeping the paella less than an inch deep it develops a fluffy texture.  You don’t need to stir the rice this way – and in fact, you shouldn’t.  

The resulting burnt rice on the bottom is the favourite part of the meal for some Spaniards.  The Valencians call this “socarrat”.  Obviously, like many “delicacies” socarrat isn’t exactly healthy.

Of course, it helps to have a proper paella pan to do this.  These are wide and shallow, letting you cook a decent amount of paella the traditional way.

spinach infographic

Other recipes you may enjoy

If you love recipes with rice like this unofficial Slimming World paella then be sure to check out my ultimate selection of rice recipes. Don’t panic if you are rubbish at boiling rice, I have a foolproof guide!

Do you now realise you like chickpeas? Check out my chickpea guide for more ideas of things to make using them including a one-pot chickpea curry, cauliflower and chickpea curry, falafel and Spanish chickpeas.

If you are vegetarian or want to eat more vegetarian or plant-based meals I have a full list of vegetarian and vegan recipes.

This is also a pretty good meal to cook on a budget as you can change the vegetables around depending on what you have in. Check out my budget recipes.

Weight loss and Exercise Support

I have a lot of weight loss guides and support if you want to exercise including if you have a condition like fibromyalgia.

Have a good look around and see how I can help you achieve your weight loss goals. Request my free resources to get you started too!


If you want more quick easy vegetarian recipes then try Simply sensational food’s favourite 5 out.


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vegetable and chickpea paella

Vegetable and Chickpea Paella

  • Author: JustAverageJen
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 portions 1x
  • Category: Main meals
  • Method: Hob top
  • Cuisine: Spanish
  • Diet: Low Calorie


Delicious vegan vegetable and chickpea paella perfect for all the family.


Units Scale

250g Paella rice (dried)

1.5 litres vegetable stock

3 cloves garlic crushed

1 400g can Chickpeas (drained)

2 tbsp. smoked paprika

1 tbsp. Turmeric

4 peppers deseeded and cut into small chunks

2 small red onions peeled and finely chopped

3 small red onions peeled and quartered

Large handful of baby spinach

15 cherry tomatoes halved

200g Mushrooms (sliced)

Low-Calorie cooking spray


1. Using low-calorie cooking spray in a large frying pan placed over medium-high heat, fry garlic and the chopped onion until soft.

2. Add paella rice and fry gently for 2 minutes.

3. Add two ladles of stock and stir gently until the rice has absorbed all the liquid.

4. Add the remainder of the stock and cook for 10 minutes still on medium-high heat.

5. Add paprika, turmeric, quartered onions, peppers, chickpeas and mushrooms and turn heat to medium.

6. Cook for a further 5 minutes then add halved cherry tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes.

7. Add the spinach and stir through. As soon as the spinach has wilted a little serve immediately.


If allowed to cool and thoroughly reheated this was just as tasty the following day!

Keywords: paella, vegan, vegetarian, chickpeas,

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  1. Wow! My daughter has just turned veggie, so I cooked this when I was browsing your website, Jen. Thanks so much – everyone loved it. Makes life so much easier – what a fab paella