Prawn Quinoa Paella
This Spanish inspired Prawn Quinoa Paella is high in protein with the use of Quinoa and jumbo Prawns (shrimp). It only takes 30 minutes to make so is a wonderful mid-week easy-peasy, one-pan dinner for the family. Being a one-pan meal there’s no need to precook the quinoa or the shrimp – they both cook right in the pan along with the other ingredients.
Quinoa is a great alternative to it’s heavier grain sisters. It’s so light but still wholesome and nourishing. In our house, we’ve moved over to quinoa in place of rice. Quinoa beats rice with its impressively higher content of fibre, protein, and iron as well as other nutrients. You cook it: 1 cup quinoa + 2 cups water. It’s a great rice substitute for paella as it gets infused with the taste of the spices, aromatics and other ingredients.
Instead of prawns, you can also substitute in:
- mixed seafood of mussels, clams, fish and squid
- just vegetables for a vegan version
- with egg for a vegetarian version
- or a mixture of all these suggestions.
Is Saffron a key ingredient? It’s so expensive!
While Saffron does give the Prawn Quinoa Paella it’s unique flavours, you can actually do without it. It will still taste amazing, it just won’t taste the same. If you can stretch, we highly recommend using this spectacular ingredient. You don’t need much, and a little goes a long way.
What is Saffron anyway?
“Saffron is harvested from Crocus sativus, a flower better known as the “saffron crocus.” Each bloom from this crocus produces three yellow styles, each of which ends with a crimson-red stigma. The combination of golden style and crimson stigma constitute what we know as a saffron thread. These threads are plucked by hand and dried, resulting in a fragrant, beautiful spice that is prized the world over.” ~Spice Jungle
Saffron has a subtle earthy and grassy flavour and aroma, yet sweet, similar to floral and honey. Real saffron will have a strong floral scent while the test liquid will have a floral and earthy taste. It will also colour your food a rich orange tone.
Red or White Quinoa?
For this Paella dish, the white Quinoa is the preferred choice. Red quinoa is quite nutty and dense while white quinoa is lighter and milder flavour. Think of it like white rice vs wild rice. You don’t want to make paella with wild rice, and you don’t want to make it with Red Quinoa either.