Spring Loaded

So long winter, because as of today spring has officially sprung! This afternoon is a perfect example of what the season has in store – sunny skies, fresh produce, bright blooms & new beginnings! During this time of year, some of my favorite vegetables are ripe & ready, like asparagus, fava beans & sweet baby peas. It’s the time to spring clean our homes and for me, to spring clean-out my pantry, so I can plan for fresh, nutrient-packed dishes.

What say you we  kick-start this season with a  light & healthy dinner?

I’ve decided to put together my take on paella. I’m calling it Paella Primavera, and we’re going to adorn this rice-based dish with spring-inspired veggies. We’re skipping the traditional seafood and meat, but maintaining deep flavor by including warm spices and fresh citrus. This is pretty easy and I have to say, very tasty.

The stars in our paella are going to be seasonal asparagus and fava beans, which are popping-up all over the place in stores and farmers markets locally. Asparagus is at its peak and the thinner the stalks, the more tender. Fava beans add a hearty element to our dish and give us a solid 85% DV of fiber, and 30% iron. That’s always helpful (but not to worry, we will not be having ours with liver or Chianti… ummm, yuck.) I’m also going to throw in some sweet baby peas (I have some handy to use from the freezer), sliced fresh mushrooms, tomatoes and garlic. We’re going to compliment these fresh picks with lemon zest and juice, while also adding smoked paprika that lends a rich, earthy element. Lastly, we’ll add some white wine and parsley to bring it together. What we have now is one spring skillet full of delicious.

This mix would also be a good companion to some grilled shrimp, chicken or pork tenderloin, if you’re looking to step-up your protein. I plan to add grilled chopped, marinated chicken to my leftover paella this week and change it up!

5 from 1 reviews
Paella Primavera
A perfect healthy Springtime meal, using fresh seasonal vegetables!
Serves: lots!
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
What to get:
  • 8 fresh fava bean pods (pods to be shelled)
  • ½ cup sweet green peas (fresh or frozen, baby green)
  • 6 stalks fresh asparagus (chopped)
  • 1 package fresh mushrooms (sliced)
  • 2 tomatoes (vine ripened, seeded and chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 lemon (zest of, and 3 T juice)
  • 2 cups dry white rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock (low sodium)
  • ½ c white wine (dry)
  • 3 T parsley (fresh or dried, chopped)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 T EVOO
  • Salt and coarse black ground pepper, to taste
  • *Several saffron threads (if you have them)
  • *Diced, cooked chicken breast optional
What to do:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Pre by chopping asparagus, tomato (seed as well), garlic cloves.
  3. Shell fava beans from pods
  4. In a large, oven-proof skillet on stove, preheat EVOO
  5. To skillet add garlic and cook slightly
  6. To garlic add mushrooms, asparagus, and beans. Sauté for about 5 minutes
  7. To skillet mix add tomato and frozen or fresh green peas, and 2 T of the white wine.
  8. Cook another 5 minutes till tender.
  9. To the mix add the dry white rice, salt, pepper & stir
  10. Add the chicken broth and cook for about 10 min, continue to stir
  11. Now add rest of white wine, parsley, smoked paprika, lemon zest & juice, and stir.
  12. Transfer skillet into preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until rice is tender, but not crisp.
  13. *You can add additional broth if you need more liquid.
  14. Serve warm with some parmesan cheese and parsley to garnish
This is fresh and satisfying. Packed with healthy vegetables, low fat and delicious. Also goes nicely with grilled shrimp or chicken!

Spring is all around my home, from the new bird nest additions to the bright daffodil blooms. What better a way to embrace this season than by incorporating some of its best vegetables into your weeknight cooking. I’m really looking forward to the night’s Paella Primavera, and hope you’ll find an occasion to enjoy some too.

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Thank you for visiting the dinnervine! In the words of Julia Child, "People who love to eat, are always the best people," and I couldn't agree more. I hope you enjoy these dishes as much as I did making them. Here's to creating new recipes and memories with friends & family, cheers! 

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