Vegan paella with banana blossoms and vegetables

Surely a big plate of paella is one of the most typical Spanish dishes imaginable. Paella is originally from Valencia one of my favorite cities in Spain. Traditionally, paella contains mostly fish and shellfish, but since my boyfriend is allergic to shellfish and of course I don’t eat it, I made a vegan paella without meat, fish or other animal ingredients.

vegan paella with banana blossoms

Vegan paella in Spain

By the way, did you know that during Fallas celebrations in Valencia, paella is eaten everywhere on the streets? Everywhere, they are boiling. Usually vegetable paella is also vegetable-based, but check if the broth they use is also vegetable-based since most paella is fish- or chicken-based.

I have eaten the vegetable paella many times here in Spain and I was looking for a fish substitute to make a vegan paella. When Fairtrade Original launched the banana blossom I immediately thought: this is what I need to make vegan paella with!

What is banana blossom?

Banana blossom, what is that really, because I had not heard of it, honestly. Although I think I have eaten it a few times thinking back to my travels. Ok, back to the banana blossom. Banana blossom is the flower that hangs at the very bottom of the banana bunch. She is purple in color and has an oval shape. The flower is there for a reason, because bananas grow from it. In countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and in India, it is already commonly used as a vegetable in curries or in other dishes. No stranger, then.

Where can you buy banana blossom?

In the Netherlands, you can buy banana blossom at Albert Heijn from Fairtrade Original and in tokos. You can also buy it online from Veggie4U, for example. In Barcelona, I buy it at the oriental shop near Sagrada Familia.

vegan paella with banana blossoms
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Vegan Paella with Banana Blossom

Impress your guests with this delicious vegan paella!
Preparation 20 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes
Number of persons 4 persons


  • 1 liters vegetable broth
  • 1 sheet of nori shredded
  • 250 g paella rice round rice rodondo bv
  • 550 banana blossom in brine
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 100 g green beans
  • 130 g frozen peas
  • 1,5 tbsp capers
  • 1 canned tomatoes in pieces
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon milled black pepper
  • 1 large lemon in wedges
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  • A little oil for the pan


  • Pour the vegetable broth into a saucepan and add the finely chopped (you can do this by hand beforehand or in a tea towel) nori. Warm it for a while (until the nori becomes limp) and then set aside (take it off the heat!)
  • Next, chop and mince the onion and garlic.
  • Chop the peppers but make sure you do not chop one part and keep one separate to cut lengthwise strips of this. For example, do this with a piece of the yellow and red bell bell pepper. You can then place these nicely over your paella for garnish. Top and cut the green beans in half.
  • Remove the banana blossom from the can and rinse well. You can cut them into strips or pull them apart. Set aside.
  • Get a large thick-bottomed pan in which you put some oil. Let it heat up and then add the garlic and onion. Sauté well until the onion becomes glazy.
  • Then add the tomatoes and the spices.
  • When the tomatoes and spices are mixed, add the bell bell pepper and green beans and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Take the rice and add to the vegetable mixture. It is now time for the banana blossom! Add and immediately add the capers and peas. Mix well with the vegetable mixture and rice.
  • Now gently pour the broth into the mixture, let it come to a boil and then put it on low heat so it will simmer.
  • Let the paella cook for about 15 minutes. Do not stir!
  • After 15 minutes, add the strips of bell bell pepper and lemon wedges to the paella and continue cooking on low heat for another 5 to 10 minutes.


Making paella is quite easy. The most important ingredient is time: it should boil down for about 20 minutes, and above all, don’t stir! Unlike risotto, it is important to just let the rice cook until tender.