sneaking in the good stuff (veggie paella).


so, it’s a pretty standard thing that toddlers are picky eaters, and my son is no exception. my husband and i joke that he is a baby foodie because he has a highly sophisticated pallet. he likes saffron, soups, dates, and the really fancy expensive grapes. he has no interest in chicken nuggets or hot dogs or fish sticks or the typical kid junk. my husband has celiac to the maxx and i am fairly certain that my son does too, so it’s always a challenge to find foods for him. it can feel overwhelming at times. where i get the most success with him is with saffron rice. not the scary “yellow rice” packet from the supermarket that is laced with msg, but actual rice cooked with actual saffron. he can’t get enough of it, and it’s a great way to sneak in extra veggies and beans. i make this paella a lot, and i change out the kind of beans and veggies i include, but it’s usually a hit. you can use a paella pan or a cast iron skillet but a standard pot with a lid is easy and works just fine.


  1. 1 cup short grain rice
  2. 2 cups water
  3. 1 (16 oz) can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
  4. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  5. 1/2 sweet yellow onion, chopped
  6. 1 (2.25 oz) can sliced black olives
  7. 1 red bell pepper, seeded & cored, chopped
  8. 1 cup veggies of your choice (spinach, chard, trimmed green beans, artichoke hearts, peas, whatever you prefer)
  9. 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (you can use lentils or navy beans if you prefer)
  10. 1/2 teaspoon coriandar
  11. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  12. pinch of saffron (about 8 threads)
  13. sea salt to taste


  1. in your pot heat 1 tablespoon olive oil & add in the onion. sautee briefly (about 1 minute) and then add in the drained tomatoes and then the coriander and paprika and stir together
  2. add in the chickpeas & veggies (unless you are using spinach or cut greens, if so, add them at the end, after all of the liquid is absorbed) and stir together
  3. add in the rice & sprinkle the saffron over the mixture
  4. pour in the water and cover and bring to a boil
  5. reduce heat and let simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes)

the end.



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