Easy Seafood Paella | The Recipe ReDux

Don’t be intimidated by this traditional Spanish rice dish – making Seafood Paella at home is easier than you think!

Don't be intimidated by this traditional Spanish rice dish - making Seafood Paella is easier than you think! @tspbasil #sponsored

{Disclosure: As a co-owner of The Recipe ReDux, I was compensated to manage this recipe contest with California Ripe Olives and I received samples but am not eligible to win associated prizes. Thoughts and opinions are my own.}

Right after college, I was lucky enough to travel throughout Europe for five weeks with two girlfriends. We visited over 10 different countries and countless cities – I think back now, how did we do it without cell phones, GPS or the Internet??

Answer: with good old-fashioned maps, a copy of The Lonely Planet and pay phones. (Now I’m really dating myself.)

Even on a strict budget – we’re talking staying in youth hostels and carrying everything on our backs – we had phenomenal eats each day during our entire trip but the meal I remember to this day was the paella we had in Barcelona.

(Aside: I also remember a funny translation moment through our limited Spanish and our waiter’s broken English. In struggling to translate a certain menu item, his face suddenly lit up. He made his two fingers look like ears and with a hopping motion excitedly said “Bugs Bunny, Bugs Bunny!” We opted to pass on the rabbit dish that night.)

So, when California Ripe Olives approached us at The Recipe ReDux to sponsor a recipe challenge featuring Mediterranean flavors, I revisited that trip in my mind and thought: paella.

Don't be intimidated by this traditional Spanish rice dish - making Seafood Paella is easier than you think! @tspbasil #sponsored

Probably because of my Italian background, I’m a true lover of all the healthy foods and flavors that are part of the Mediterranean lifestyle – fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, legumes, fresh fish, cheese, yogurt, RED WINE and of course, olives and olive oil.

And my favorite perks of enjoying California Ripe Olives?

  • They contain monounsaturated fats – the good fats for heart health (and some believe could contribute to longer life spans as part of eating the Mediterranean way.)
  • They’re widely available year round (I get them at Trader Joe’s) and canned at peak of freshness to preserve all their nutrients.
  • They have a unique taste and kick up the flavor in so many recipes including salads, dips, pizza, veggies, tostadas, nachos, burritos, pasta, chicken and fish dishes, the list goes on. (Lots more recipes ideas here and of course, with the thumbnails of our Recipe ReDux bloggers’ creations at the bottom of this post.)

But back to the paella. Chicken, chorizo, shellfish and even rabbit are often featured in this Spanish national dish. I love seafood so I did a shrimp, mussels and cod version. Topped off with California Ripe Olives and fresh parsley for some awesome color and flavor, it makes quite the presentation, too.

Easy Seafood Paella: recipe + tips to making this classic Spanish dish #AD #thereciperedux @tspbasil Click To Tweet

A few tips and shortcuts to cooking paella:

  • Use short grain rice. Calasparra is the traditional paella rice but can be hard to find. I used Italian Arborio rice.
  • Use a shallow cooking pan. If you don’t have a paella pan, use the largest skillet you have.
  • Go for the saffron. I found saffron threads in Trader Joes for $5.99 a bottle. Yes, it’s expensive but worth it for the lovely color and unique flavor. Or in a pinch, use turmeric (learn more here – http://www.thekitchn.com/is-saffron-worth-its-high-price-tag-ingredient-intelligence-122034)
  • I did a short cut method and finishing cooking it in the oven vs. only stove top cooking.

I also hit up Regan for some cooking tips as she and Robin attended a paella cooking class on a trip to Madrid early this year. #swoon. Her number #1 tip? Do not stir the rice.


Easy Seafood Paella {The Recipe ReDux}

  • Yield: 6 servings. 1x


  • ¼ cup California olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers (any color), seeded and cut into strips
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1¼ cups Calasparra rice, Arborio rice or other short grain rice
  • ¾ teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
  • ½ pound firm fish like cod, monkfish or pollock, cut into ½-inch chunks
  • ½ pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded (discard any mussels that are open)
  • ½ pound medium shrimp, peeled but with tails left on
  • ½ cup sliced California Black Ripe Olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley


  1. In a paella pan or a large shallow skillet (at least 11-inch round), heat olive oil over medium heat. Add bell peppers and onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  2. While peppers and onions cook, add saffron threads and broth to a small pot. Warm over low heat.
  3. Stir garlic into peppers and onions. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add rice and smoked paprika. Stir well and continue to stir while cooking for about 2 minutes.
  5. Slowly pour heated saffron broth over rice and vegetables in skillet. (Do not stir.) Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Uncover rice and carefully nestle fish pieces into rice. Next, arrange mussels into rice. Last, burrow shrimp into rice with tails end up. Bake in oven for 15 minutes.
  8. Carefully, pull out skillet with potholder (handle will be hot!) and sprinkle black olives over top of seafood and rice. Bake for another 5 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and discard any unopened mussels. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Did you make this recipe?

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Easy Seafood Paella | Teaspoonofspice.com

So, are you an olive fan? How do you cook with them? Ever travel across Europe (either roughing it or in grand style?)

Please enjoy perusing the Mediterranean recipes from our ReDuxers below – I know I’ll be pinning a lot of these…


We’re Serena & Deanna, two dietitians who love food as much as you do!  

We're also moms and business owners who share our family recipes, healthy kitchen hacks and nutrition adventures while keeping it real in the kitchen with you.

We’re so glad you’ve stopped by!

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