Vegan Seafood Paella with king oyster mushroom “scallops”
Make this simple Vegan Seafood Paella this summer and be transported to the Spanish sea side. Get the recipe below.
Saving our seas
I will admit to having been completely naive about how much damage we are doing to our oceans until I watched Seaspiracy. The documentary makes it startling obvious that the biggest threat to our seasons is currently commercial fishing. If we want to reverse the damage we’ve done then we have to stop funding the industry that causes so much hard to ocean life.
It’s not just that “sustainable” fishing methods are a myth, when environmentalists talk about the large amount of plastic in the sea they are actually referring to the huge amount of fishing nets and other fishing related equipment that makes up over half of the floating plastic islands.
Before I moved to an entirely plant based diet I struggled to give up eating fish. But, having watched Seaspiracy I’m disappointed that I didn’t do it sooner. Especially when there are so many fantastic vegan options already on the market.
Plant based fish alternatives
There are a wide range of different fish-like products on the market now. Here are some of my favourites:
- Quorn fishless fingers (though they are quite small!)
- Loma Linda tinned “tuna” (perfect for tuna and sweetcorn pasta!)
- Bonsan fish-free fillet (made with tofu and kombucha)
- Veganz “salmon” slices (good for including in a “cream cheese” bagel!)
- KindaCo faux lox & dill creamy spread (perfect for topping these blinis)
Made from scratch
It’s amazing just how many options there are to recreate fish at home. Depending on what it is you are trying to mimic you can use tofu, mushrooms jackfruit, banana blossom, chickpeas and even carrot. Check out some of my favourite vegan “fish” recipes at the end of this post.
In my Vegan Seafood Paella recipe I use king oyster mushrooms to create a plant based alternative to scallops. The method itself is surprisingly simple. Once you’ve cut the stems of the king oyster mushrooms into stumpy scallop shaped cylinders you need to make broth of hot water, miso paste, vegan “fish” sauce, soy sauce and a pinch of dried seaweed flakes. Use something heavy to submerge the mushrooms completely and leave them to soak up the broth for 30 minutes or so.
The mushrooms will absorb the broth giving them a creamy, sea-salty taste. It’s amazing how similar they are to real scallops. Thanks to soaking up a lot of liquid, the mushroom’s texture will change too and they will become almost gelatinous, just like their fishy counterpart. To cook them I pan fry them in some non-dairy butter. The edges caramelise and go crispy for extra umami flavour and a realistic pan-fried scallop fantastic texture.
To those of us outside Spain we often think of paella as a Spanish dish, and it is. But in Spain they think of it as a Valencian dish. Valencia is found on the East Coast of Spain and the Valencian paella may be a little different to the one you’ve sampled on holiday.
Paella valenciana is the same rice dish we know and love but includes green beans, rabbit, chicken, (possibly even duck) and butter beans. It is often seasoned with saffron and rosemary amongst other herbs and spices like paprika and thyme.
In paella de marisco (seafood paella), the fish or shellfish used varies from region to region and season to season based on what’s available. Of course in a vegan seafood paella there’s no seafood at all! Just extra veggies. What’s not to love?
Vegan Seafood Paella
For the paella
For the scallops
- 4 king oyster mushrooms stems only
- 250 ml water freshly boiled
- 1.5 tsp white miso paste
- 1 tbsp vegetarian fish sauce alternatively use 1 tbsp tamari and a splash of lemon juice
- 1.5 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp dried seaweed flakes
To make the paella
- Dice the onion and carrot and add to a heavy bottomed frying pan along with the olive oil and a good pinch of salt.
- Fry for around 5-10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the onions are translucent and the carrots are just starting to soften.
- De-seed and dice the pepper, then add to the pan along with the vegan chorizo (either diced or crumbled) for a further 5 minutes.
- Stir through the minced garlic, paprika, tomato purée and the rice. Stir for a couple of minutes so it starts to absorb all of the flavours.
- Add the saffron to the pan and then pour in a quarter of the stock. Stir well then bring the stock to a boil. Turn the heat down so the stock is just at a simmer and let the rice absorb all of the stock before adding the next quarter, keep repeating this until you've added the final stock.
To make the scallops
- Cut the stems of your king oyster mushrooms into 3 or 4 pieces, roughly the size of a scallop (e.g. 1 -1.5 inches).
- In a shallow bowl, mix together the warm water, miso paste, “fish” sauce, soy sauce and sea weed flakes.
- Submerge the “scallop” pieces in this broth and leave to sit for at least 30 minutes. You can continue making the rest of the dish in this time.
- Remove the mushroom “scallops” from their broth and add to a frying pan pan.
- Turn the heat to high and let the scallops cook for 3 – 5 minutes or until they are cooked through and their bottoms have caramelised.
- Turn-over and cook for another 3-5 minutes on this side.
- To finish the paella
- Stir in the diced tomato, peas and black olives, replace the lid, and cook for a further 5 minutes, or until hot through.
- Add the scallops to the dish, then scatter over fresh parsley leaves.
- Serve with lemon wedges on the side.
More veggie and vegan “fish” recipes
More Spanish inspired recipes
Whether you want a simple sangria to wash down your paella or a tapas style starter or two, check the archives.
Visit the Spanish recipe archive for more inspiration.