Special Diet Information

Coumadin® (Warfarin)
This recipe is safe for Coumadin (warfarin) users.

This recipe is safe for those who are lactose intolerant.

This is a low sodium recipe.

GERD / Acid Reflux
This recipe contains GERD triggers and those with GERD may wish to avoid it.

Gluten Sensitivity
This recipe is safe for those who are sensitive to gluten.


"No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing." -Julia Child

The refrigerator light goes on...

When I go to Spain I love to eat paella and when I come home I love to cook it. The challenge is that it doesn't keep very well: cold paella always ends up being gummy. Thinking about this (and it was very hot outside when I was), I realized that a chilled paella salad in the summer made sense.

Not only is brown rice better for you than white rice, but it also holds up quite well in salads. I use long grain brown rice because it is easy to find, but short grain works well too and has a little creamier texture.

Ideally, this recipe would use fava beans but large white beans (I used white kidney beans, also known as cannellini beans) of any kind will do.


Saffron filaments are the dried red stigmas and the white style of crocus flowers. For me this has always been a lovely twist of fate because crocus are my favorite flower. I remember that they were the first flower that I could call by name. Our front yard was covered with them. Little did I know their value.

Describing the flavor of saffron is difficult because the taste is so complex. It is at once aromatic, woody, and umami with just a touch of sweetness. To me saffron tastes yellow - like a warm summer day in the woods.

I suppose that you could go out in the yard and pick the flowers, pulling the stigma out for drying yourself, but I prefer to pick up a few grams at the store. Besides, a gram of saffron about 500 threads. As each flower only yields 3 threads, going to the market is quite a bit easier. 

Most of the available saffron is harvested in Spain, but countries in the Middle East, including Iran, are popular producers. The latter saffron is not as intense to my palate and I generally try to find the Spanish import.

How much saffron? I generally use about 10 threads per serving, counting them out carefully. For some recipes I will make a saffron infusion: essentially saffron tea. I place the saffron in the bottom of a Pyrex measuring cup and add about a quarter cup of boiling water. Letting the threads steep in this way results in a more powerful aromatic saffron flavor especially in quick saute recipes.

For you saffron junkies out there John Humphries has written a lovely book called The Saffron Companion. I must admit that I don't purchase many specialty cookbooks like this one, but his writing is so wonderful, and because most of the recipes are Mediterranean or Middle Eastern they are both delicious and healthy.


Paella Salad

Servings = 4 | Serving size =about 2 1/2 cups salad

Cooking Time = 60 Minutes

This recipe can be multiplied by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

This recipe makes great leftovers and will keep well for 3-4 days. Note that cooking time does not include chilling time.

1 large red bell pepper
1 15 ounce can white beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup frozen peas
6 cups water (divided)
1/2 tsp saffron
1/2 tsp salt (divided)
3/4 cup brown rice
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp paprika
1 large red onion (sliced)
16 ounces shrimp (peeled and deveined)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon (juiced)
fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

Paella Salad
Preheat the oven to broil.

Place the red pepper on a sheet of aluminum foil and roast for about 20 minutes, turning until blackened.

Remove and place in a brown paper bag.

When cool, peel and seed the pepper. Cut into 1/2 inch dice.

Place the pepper in a large mixing bowl and add the white beans and peas.

Toss well and chill.

Place 5 cups water in a large sauce pan over high heat.

Add the saffron and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

When the water boils, add the brown rice and reduce the heat until the rice is simmering.

Cook for about 45 minutes until the water is almost evaporated. Cover and let stand 10 minutes.

Add the cooked rice to the mixing bowl with the peppers, peas, and beans, and return the bowl to the refrigerator.

While the rice is cooking, place 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

When the oil is hot, add the paprika and cook for about 30 seconds.

Add the onion and cook, tossing frequently, until it is slightly wilted.

Add the onion to the mixing bowl with the rice, peppers, peas, and beans, and return the bowl to the refrigerator.

While the rice is cooking, place one cup of water in a small sauce pan fitted with a steamer basket.

Place the pan over high heat, and when the water boils, add the shrimp and steam for about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat when the shrimp are just done and let the shrimp cool. Cut then lengthwise and then into 1/2 inch pieces and add to the bowl with the other ingredients.

Toss well.

Whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

Add to the bowl with the salad and toss well.

Chill well before serving.

Nutrition Facts

Serving size = about 2 1/2 cups salad

Servings = 4


Amount Per Serving

Calories 496 Calories from Fat 104
  % Daily Value
Total Fat 11g 19%
    Saturated Fat 1g 5%
    Monounsaturated Fat 6g  
    Trans Fat 0g  
Cholesterol 172mg 56%
Sodium 473mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 63g 22%
    Dietary Fiber 10g 35%
    Sugars 8g  
Protein 37g  
Vitamin A 62% Vitamin C 217%
Calcium 16% Iron 38%
Vitamin K 21 mcg Potassium 1045 mg
Magnesium 163 mg