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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Before we get started talking about this one pan healthy paella recipe, if you’re anything like me you might be wondering.. what is paella?!
What is Paella?
Paella is a Spanish dish that is typically made with rice, saffron, chicken, 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.
When Tyler and I first started dating, he had just come back from a school trip to Europe. He kept going on and on about how delicious the food was in Spain, and how he had loved the paella.
I really wanted to make paella for Tyler, but I don’t eat fish, and find chorizo too greasy… so it was up to me to muddle together my own recipe.
I surprised him for dinner with it one night, and while I don’t think it will ever compare to what he ate in Spain – I’ve been making it ever since and he always gets SO excited when we’re having it for dinner.
Once you try it, you’ll probably fall in love with it too. It’s our favorite for a number of reasons
Why we love this healthy paella recipe:
- off-the-charts delicious from the spices
- perfectly balanced meal- it 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
- seems fancy but is secretly super easy to make
- one pan = less clean up!
Ingredients for Healthy Paella:
To make this healthy paella you’ll need: chicken, olive oil, onion, garlic, bell peppers, sugar snap peas, pepper, salt, paprika, bay leaves, thyme, saffron, lemon juice, rice, chicken broth and frozen peas.
I’ve included substitutions below for ingredients.
How to make Healthier Paella:
Making healthy paella is super easy! First, brown your chicken. Once it is browned – set it aside. Then – sauté your onions/garlic.
Once they are translucent, add in your remaining veggies. Toast your rice. Add the cooked chicken, spices and broth back to the pot and stir to combine.
Bring to a low boil then lower the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.
Substitutions for Healthy Paella:
- Broth: you can use any broth or stock- vegetable, chicken or beef will work.
- 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 is about 5-10 minutes so that it cooks. Do not add the shrimp in at the beginning because it will over cook.
- Veggies: You can substitute in carrots, sugar snap peas, peppers or even mushrooms interchangeably. This is a flexible recipe. You can also add more peas if you like.
- Rice: You can use white or brown rice in this recipe.
- Saffron: Saffron is pricey and can often be difficult to find. You can substitute with 1/2 teaspoon of Sazon Goya but omit the extra salt from this recipe as that has a lot of salt.
- WW Freestyle note: Save 2SP per serving by cooking with olive oil spray
Other delicious healthy one pan dinner recipes:
- Whole30 Greek Chicken Zucchini Noodles
- Slow Cooker Chicken Stew
- One Pan Balsamic Chicken Pasta & Vegetables
- Healthy Lemon Artichoke Chicken
- Sheet Pan Lemon Rosemary Chicken Thigh Dinner
One Pan Healthy Paella
- 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1/2 cup onion diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1.5 cups bell peppers thinly sliced in strips (approx 2 peppers)
- 2 cups sugar snap peas
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/2 tablespoon thyme leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup brown rice
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Cube chicken into 1 inch pieces. In a large pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Cook chicken for 15 minutes until browned.
- Once cooked, remove chicken from the pan + set aside.
- Add in remaining 1 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 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 sauteed vegetables. Cook on high for 5 minutes.
- Add in chicken stock, spices + cooked chicken. Stir and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes uncovered, or until rice is cooked.
- Once rice is cooked, stir in frozen peas + enjoy!