Paleo Paella

I’ve always been wary of Paella. In Spanish II we learned that it was full of (gasp!) seafood – slimy, tentacle-y, non-beef seafood. For a Cave Girl from Kansas – where seafood must be shipped bajillions of miles from the ocean to my plate – seafood never charmed me.
I’m working on it.
Imagine my glee when I realized that Paella is more of a catch-all dish and open to interpretation. Any meat that’s available is prime for Paella, (same general rule for this Sausage Stew) and it’s simple to make this Primal-friendly by subbing riced cauliflower for traditional rice. Just a few tweaks to the cooking process and you have a seriously amazing dish.
The one ingredient that’s absolutely vital to Paella is Saffron. Saffron is delicate, aromatic threads that add color and a warm flavor to this dish.

Saffron from Trader Joe's.

Seriously. This was good.
1 head cauliflower, riced in the food processor (as in this post)
Several pieces of chicken breast, cut into chunks
Several spicy/hot sausages, cut into chunks
4 Tbs. lard, coconut oil, or ghee (a highly saturated fat is best for cooking; ghee is appropriate IF you include dairy)
1/2 Tbs crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your HOT tolerance)
Dash of Thyme
1 Tsp. Saffron Threads
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1 red and 1 green pepper, chopped
1 c. cooked green peas
Vegetable broth (I like Pacific Naturals – the ingredient list is 100% crap-free)
Cook the chicken in a skillet in a few Tbs. oil, lard or ghee over medium-ish heat. Set aside and discard any excess water in the skillet.
Next, cook the sausage in the same skillet. Don’t worry about scraping up some remnants from the previous tenant. Set aside with the chicken.
Now add the remaining oil, lard or ghee to the empty skillet. Add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes. Saute for a few minutes over medium heat. Add carrots and peppers, stir and cover – cook until the carrots are somewhat softened; approximately 5 minutes.

Now add the peas, riced cauliflower and saffron, a splash of broth, and a dash of thyme. If you’re feeling VERY Cooky (not to be confused with “Kooky,” as in, Lady Gaga) you can heat up the broth and steep the Saffron in it for about 15 minutes before adding to the mix. The Saffron won’t dissolve completely due to the shorter cook time for the cauli-rice, but it’s still completely delicious and doesn’t take away from the recipe.
The saffron threads give both color and flavor to the dish.

Mix and allow flavors to meld for a few minutes at medium heat – unlike traditional paella, where the rice is allowed to simmer for much longer, the cauliflower rice is best when cooked only a few minutes.
Add garlic salt and black pepper, if desired, and enjoy while reading the latest Paleo literature.
The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf and a dish of Paleo Paella. O, As, A, Amos, Ais, An! (Where is my accent key?)

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8 Responses

    1. Saffron is absolutely available at most regular grocers, although there are a few whose spice sections leave much to be desired – it will certainly be available at Whole Foods if you exhaust the other possibilities!

  1. Interesante!! I never saw a paella recipe using riced cauliflower… I am spanish and there are lots of different paellas: black paella, seafood paella, oven-cooked, crusted with egg, meat & vegetables, even lard and black sausage paella!. But all of them have in common using rice as a base.
    I eat paleo, but I started by eating following the ancestral regime by Seignalet, who forbids all grains except for rice. To me it was not too bad eating rice once a week, although now I am on the low carb side and tend to avoid it.

    1. Thanks for reading Oscar! I’ll have to look into more of these Paella options. I simply loved the saffron and would love to use it in more paella variations.
      Truly, I think rice is a very benign grain and I have no problem with it. But I do like the idea of using cauliflower rice to amp up the veggie content!

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