Published: March 18, 2018Last Updated: March 20, 2020
The CNN crew loved this recipe! You'll love it too.
This is one of my very favorite recipes. adapted from different cooking classes taught by Philip Gelb, vegan chef, of Oakland, California. I make the Fusion Paella recipe frequently in a traditional 17-inch paella pan. On occasion, I also make it in a 12-inch cast iron frying pan with half the ingredients listed below.
What makes this recipe special? In addition to being a gluten free, low-calorie, and high-protein, fusion paella, is the combination of two unique and distinctive flavors. The paella base is made using traditional flavors of Spain, including smoked paprika and saffron. But the tofu topping is marinated with teriyaki, a delicious and traditional flavor of Japan. Two distinct flavors come together for a deliciously unique taste.
I promise you’ll find the combination of these flavors to be amazing and powerful. They’ll make your jaw drop! In fact, I recently made this dish for a CNN camera crew that was filming in my home. They loved it so much it was included inmy CNN segment.
But let’s talk tofu, shall we? I often hear people say that they hate tofu. When I ask why, I typically find that they have only tried it once or twice, usually at an Asian restaurant where it was served as slimy white chunks. I also dislike uncooked tofu. But there are many reasons why millions of people around the world eat tofu every day as a complete source of protein and flavorful meat alternative.
Grilled, baked, or sautéed with vegetable broth, tofu is a high protein, low-calorie main ingredient that can be browned and cooked without oil. Tofu is a chameleon food and has little flavor of its own. After first pressing out the water and then rehydrating the tofu with a flavorful marinade, it will become imbued with the flavor of the marinade.
You’re likely familiar with the popular whole grain, quinoa. The benefits of tofu are similar to those of quinoa. Both are a complete protein, gluten-free, and have little taste of their own, making each the perfect food to take on any flavor you like. You’ll love this fusion paella, vegan, gluten-free recipe!
If you prefer to cut the recipe in half, I recommend using a 12-inch cast iron skillet instead of the paella pan.
When looking for an impressive recipe for a special occasion, look no further than Fusion Paella. If have you read my book, Walking with Peety, or plan to, you will understand just why this recipe is a real crowd pleaser.
Press water out of tofu blocks using tofu press, then slice blocks sideways and lengthwise into 4-5 planks.
Sauté each tofu plank using a non-stick pan in vegetable broth until lightly brown, replenishing vegetable broth as it evaporates. Deglaze evaporated broth from the pan as you replenish.
Spread tofu slabs on baking sheet with parchment paper and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. After baked tofu slabs cool, slice into 1/2-inch cubes, then marinate cubes for at least 1 hour in refrigerated solution of tamari or soy sauce, maple syrup, mirin, rice vinegar, and finely minced ginger.
Heat non-stick pan over medium-heat heat with 1/4 cup vegetable broth until bubbling. Sauté vegetables for 3-5 minutes until al dente. Replenish with additional broth and deglazing pan as broth evaporates, then drain vegetables and set aside.
Add 1/4 cup vegetable broth to paella pan over medium heat until bubbling, then add onion and salt. Sauté until onions are translucent, deglazing with vegetable broth as needed.
Add garlic and tomatoes to pan and cook for 15 minutes, stirring every minute and deglazing pan as needed.
Add rice to mixture, stir vigorously, and sauté for one minute.
Add marsala wine and stir well until absorbed into rice.
Add 4 cups vegetable broth, saffron threads, smoked paprika, and black pepper.
Completely stir once, then reduce to low-medium heat and do not stir again. The goal is to encourage the formation a caramelized crust of rice that should form on the bottom of the pan – you will inhibit the formation of this golden crust if you stir after this point.
Simmer for about 15 minutes until most liquid has visibly evaporated.
Arrange tofu and vegetables evenly and decoratively on top of the rice.
Place paella pan in oven for 10 minutes until all liquid is evaporated.
Remove from oven and allow to sit for five minutes before serving.
Eric O’Grey is an inspirational speaker with a Bachelor of Science in finance from San Jose State University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University. Eric enjoys long-distance running with his dog, Jake; gourmet plant-based cooking; and spending time with his wife, Jaye. He is passionate about animal kindness, plant-based nutrition, and helping others reverse obesity and achieve their optimal weight and happiness.