This One Pan Healthy Paella recipe is a quick, delicious dinner! This easy paella is packed with chicken for protein, veggies + whole grain brown rice.
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If you’re looking for an easy, delicious dinner that is full of flavor- try this Chicken Paella recipe. Made with no seafood, it’s a rich and yummy one pan meal that is simple to make!
Need more ideas for dinner? Check out these 40+ Healthy Dinner Recipes.
Why We Love This Healthy Chicken Paella Recipe
There’s lots to love about this chicken paella recipe. Here are some of our favorite reasons why we love it:
- perfectly balanced meal- Paella has a lot of protein from the chicken, is loaded with bright, colorful veggies, and it has whole grain brown rice in it for some good carbs!
- great for meal prepping – This meal gets more delicious as it sits and the flavors meld making it perfect for meal prep
- seems fancy but is secretly super easy to make
- one pan = less clean up! If you want more one pot meals, check out these 60+ Healthy One Pot Meals!
What is Paella?
Paella is a Spanish dish that is typically made with rice, saffron, chicken, and seafood. It’s cooked low and slow in a large pan so that the flavors of the dish can really come together.
If you’ve never had paella, it’s basically one of the most dreamy dinners you’ll ever eat.
What does paella taste like?
Paella has a unique taste. The combination of paprika and saffron is delicious. It’s not spicy at all, but it has a rich savory flavor. Combine with the sweetness of the veggies – it’s a really unique, delicious flavor!
What is so special about paella? Paella is a delicious dish that is super hearty and filling. It has unique flavors and is loaded with protein and veggies making it the perfect healthy dinner.
Easy Paella Recipe without Seafood
Once you try it, you’ll probably fall in love with it too. It’s our favorite for a number of reasons
Chicken Paella Ingredients
To make this healthy paella you’ll need:
- chicken breasts
- olive oil
- onion, garlic
- bell peppers, sugar snap peas
- pepper, salt
- paprika, bay leaves, dried thyme, saffron
- lemon juice
- brown rice
- chicken broth
- frozen peas
You can find substitutions for all of these ingredients below in the green shaded substitutions box.
What rice is used for paella? I used brown rice in this recipe but short grain bomba rice is typically used in paella.
How to Make Paella without Seafood
Making healthy paella is super easy!
- Heat olive oil in a pan. Brown your chicken. Once it is browned – remove it from the pan and set it aside.
- Add in remaining olive oil and sauté onions/garlic until translucent
- Add peppers and sugar snap peas to the pan. Sauté for 4-6 minutes (until vegetables are slightly tender.. don’t overdo the veggies, they will continue to cook in the broth later).
- Stir in dry rice with sautéed vegetables. Cook on high for 5 minutes.
- Add in chicken stock, lemon juice, spices + cooked chicken. Stir and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes covered
- Once the rice is cooked, stir in frozen peas + enjoy
Substitutions for Healthy Paella:
Meat: Typically paella is made with chicken, chorizo, and seafood. You can add chorizo to this recipe – brown it with the chicken, set it aside with the chicken, and add it back in when you add the chicken in. If adding shrimp, add it at the very end when there are about 5-10 minutes so that it cooks. Do not add the shrimp in at the beginning because it will overcook. You can also substitute chicken thighs for chicken breasts in this recipe.
Veggies: You can substitute in carrots, sugar snap peas, green beans, more peppers or even mushrooms interchangeably. This is a flexible recipe. You can also add more peas if you like.
Lemon Juice: Use fresh squeezed lemon juice for the best taste. We never recommend using bottled lemon juice.
Vegetarian: We have not tried making this recipe without the meat. The chicken does absorb some of the broth, so the ratios might be off.
Storing Chicken Paella
Refrigerator: You can store this paella in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freezing: I haven’t tried freezing paella, but I think it might work. The chicken might get a little bouncy when defrosted and the rice could get soggy.
Can this recipe be made ahead? Sure! When you’re ready to reheat, you may want to add a little broth. Heat on the stove until warm
Can this recipe be reheated? Yes, this paella recipe tastes great when reheated. You can reheat in the microwave, in the oven set at 350°F until the center is cooked through, or sauté on the stove until warm.
What goes well with chicken paella?
This chicken paella is a complete meal in itself. There’s no need to make anything to serve it with. If you do want to serve it with something, here are some ideas:
Important Note: This is not an authentic paella recipe. My goal is always to share recipes that are a bit healthier and made with affordable, accessible ingredients so everyone can enjoy them regardless of their food allergies or dietary restrictions. Click here for an authentic paella recipe.
Typically paella is made with rice, saffron, veggies, chicken, chorizo, and seafood. Traditional paella is made differently depending on the region it is cooked. Some people use seafood only, some people use a mix of chicken and seafood.
The most important ingredient in paella is rice. The rice absorbs all the flavor in this recipe and cooks perfectly alongside the veggies/chicken
The best paella seasoning is saffron. Saffron is a thread that comes from a flower. It’s very expensive but essential for paella! You can use sazon goya in place of it but it will not be the same.
The 3 main types of paella are chicken paella, seafood paella, or mixed paella which has both chicken, seafood, and sometimes chorizo. All are delicious
Other delicious healthy one pan dinner recipes:
Looking for other easy dinner recipes? Check out these healthy chicken recipes or click here to download a free 30 minute dinners guide!
Easy Chicken Paella Recipe
- 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil divided
- 1/2 cup onion diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 2 cups bell peppers thinly sliced in strips (approx 2 peppers)
- 2 cups sugar snap peas
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup short grain brown rice
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Cube chicken into 1 inch pieces. In a large pan heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook chicken for 15 minutes until browned.
- Once cooked, remove chicken from the pan + set aside.
- Add in remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Sauté chopped onions and garlic until translucent. (Approx 5-7 minutes)
- Add in peppers and sugar snap peas to the pan. Sauté uncovered for 4-6 minutes (until vegetables are slightly tender.. don't over do the veggies, they will continue to cook in the broth later).
- Stir in dry rice with sautéed vegetables. Cook on high for 5 minutes.
- Add in chicken stock, lemon juice, spices + cooked chicken. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover the pan then lower heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until rice is cooked. Stir every 5-10 minutes.
- Once rice is cooked, stir in frozen peas + enjoy!