Shrimp and Chicken Cauliflower “Paella”

Love paella, but don’t want all the carbs that come with a rice dish? Then try this take on a Spanish classic! The rice is all replaced with cauliflower, and the flavours are still there! Plus, as an added bonus, you can add in any veggies you want based on what you’ve got in the fridge. We used asparagus for a green ingredient, but green beans and peas would work very well here too! You can also swap out proteins and make whatever combo you like! Mussels, clams, scallops, and calamari sub in well for the shrimp, and rabbit instead of chicken would represent a more traditionally accurate rendition. Have fun playing with all your options! We are not making any suggested pairings tonight because this is a meal in and of itself…full of vegetables and proteins! Dig in!

Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of a head of cauliflower
  • Red Pepper
  • Onion
  • Asparagus or Peas (I used asparagus because I had it on hand)
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Chicken (1 chicken breast is a good amount for 2-3 people)
  • Peeled and De-veined Shrimp (I tried to go with 4 per person, but I miscounted, so the average was 4.5)
  • Seasonings (I used mostly saffron and paprika. If you don’t have Saffron, just use a little more paprika, and add some turmeric)
  • Optional Toppings to garnish: Lemon Wedges, Avocado, Cilantro, etc.

Method:

  • If not using saffron, skip this step. Similar to making Crispy Saffron Rice Cakes, start by putting some hot water in a glass vessel, and add your saffron stems.
  • Rice your cauliflower using a box grater or the shredding plate of your food processor. More detailed instructions on this step can be found in the recipe for Cauliflower Fried Rice.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F
  • Heat a large cast iron skillet, and pour in a little oil (avocado oil is best, but we used regular olive oil, and it didn’t ruin the meal)
  • Cut your chicken into cubes, and place them in the hot pan. Then sprinkle on some paprika and onion powder (salt if you like as well)
  • While your chicken cooks, dice your onion, red pepper, and asparagus on a clean cutting board.
  • Once your chicken is cooked through, remove it, and set it aside in a bowl.
  • Add in your onions (may need a little more oil here too), followed a few minutes later by the peppers and asparagus. A few minutes after those are in, add your riced cauliflower.
  • Pour in your saffron water along with about a cup of other water. Here is where you’d add your turmeric and paprika if not using saffron. I added some paprika even though I was using saffron because paprika is amazing.
  • Stir occasionally, but let your veggies simmer in this liquid until it is evaporated.
  • Place your cooked chicken and raw shrimp on top of the “rice” and veggies in whatever pattern you like, and then place the pan in the oven for 8-10 minutes (until the shrimp is cooked). This is where the cast iron really shines, as its extraordinary heat retention helps cook the shrimp evenly.
  • When the shrimp is done, remove from the oven, and add your garnishes. (if you’re taking a picture of your creation, this would be the optimal time to do so because everything is about to get messed up when you serve)
  • Plate, devour, and enjoy!

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