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Easy Weeknight Seafood and Vegetable Paella

Treat yourself to a nice weeknight dinner with this Seafood and Vegetable Paella recipe.

Seafood and Vegetable Paella

We are big fans of Groupon. Most of our dinner date nights are a result of us buying a Groupon for a nice restaurant that we wouldn't normally spend the money on. One of the restaurants we like is Cervantes of Spain in Cranford, NJ. Whenever we go there, we always get the seafood paella. It is so ridiculously good. And it comes with half a lobster on top (which we always leave for the to-go box at home because neither one of us knows how to properly eat lobster in public).

Cervantes of Spain also has the most amazing butter that they serve with the dinner rolls - a garlic herb butter. It is so so good that I can seriously make a meal of just the dinner rolls with the herbed butter. That reminds me, I should try to make some herbed butter sometime. But that's a whole other post topic.

I've been craving the seafood paella lately, but we've been so busy with work and other life stuff that we really don't have time to go out for dinner and probably won't for a few weeks. So it was time to take matters into my own hands.

Seafood and Vegetable Paella

I made an easy seafood and vegetable paella at home, and it came out awesome. Flavorful, comforting, full of seafood and different vegetables. No, it doesn't have a lobster on top, but then again it is much more affordable for a weeknight dinner. It was a delicious meal that came together in less than 45 minutes, and we had leftovers for lunch. AND this totally satisfied my seafood paella craving. Am I saying that mine is better than the restaurant's? Probably not. But it is pretty darn good. And I will definitely be making it again, maybe with some chorizo next time.

Seafood and Vegetable Paella

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5 from 1 vote

Easy Weeknight Seafood and Vegetable Paella

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Kate


  • 2 cups uncooked white rice
  • 2 cups chopped leeks - (1 small leek), chopped and rinsed
  • 2 cups chicken or fish stock - (I used sodium free chicken stock)
  • 3 cups water - (see note below)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes - (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon salt - (or less to taste)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley - , stems removed (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 red bell pepper - , sliced into rings
  • 1 lb asparagus - , end removed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup peas - , fresh or frozen
  • 1-1.5 lb seafood mix - , frozen or thawed (see note below)**
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  • Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottom pot, and add the diced leeks. Saute for 2 minutes, then add the rice, chicken/fish stock, and 3 cups of water.
  • Add the hot pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, and turmeric. Add ½ tablespoon salt and stir well.
  • Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the rice is almost done. After 15 minutes of cooking there should be just a bit of liquid remaining, and it would get cooked down in the next three steps. If the liquid gets absorbed too early, add a bit more water, a half a cup at a time.
  • Carefully taste the paella broth and see if you need more salt (don't burn your mouth!). If you need more salt, gradually add more (up to a tablespoon total) until it is to your liking.
  • After  the rice has been cooking for 15 minutes (when it is just about done), add the vegetables - bell peppers, asparagus, and peas. Stir them into the paella and cook for 3 minutes. At this point, look at how much liquid you have and turn up the heat if it looks like too much liquid. 
  • Stir in the seafood mix, making sure to cover all the seafood in the saucy paella completely. If your seafood is thawed, continue to cook for about 3 minutes, or until it is fully cooked. If your seafood is frozen, cook for about 5 minutes, or until everything is fully cooked. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh chopped parsley to serve.


I used a pound of frozen seafood mix (it contained shrimp, mussels, squid, and octopus) and a half pound of roughly chopped catfish. You can use any combination of seafood you would like - either a frozen mix, or shrimps, mussels, clams, pieces of fish, etc). If you are using thawed seafood, then you only have to cook it for 2-3 minutes. If you are using frozen seafood, then cook it longer, about 5 minutes or until fully cooked.

The nutritional information displayed is an estimate and not to be used as dietary or nutritional advice. Consult a nutritionist or dietician for nutritional info based on the exact ingredients you use.



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Saturday 27th of August 2016

That looks so tasty!


Saturday 8th of November 2014

LOVE this!! In reading the recipe I feel like even I could do it. Which is saying a lot because I've always been intimidated by paella!


Sunday 9th of November 2014

It does sound intimidating, but it's really not so bad. Basically, don't burn the rice and always have a little extra water up until the last few minutes.

Fran @ G'day Souffle'

Thursday 6th of November 2014

I've never made paella before, but it's interesting to note the rice/water ratio. It's almost like cooking risotto which uses such a high water content. Anyway, it looks good and I imagine it would be even more amazing if using fresh seafood!


Thursday 6th of November 2014

I guess it is kind of like risotto, I didn't think of that! It's a bit less finicky, since you don't have to wait until the rice is just dry, you can just add a bunch extra and walk away for a little bit longer. Either way - risotto or paella - it's delicious!

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