Pumpkin Paella

I actually thought of the name of this dish first. I’ve been wanting to make a hearty, savory, but slightly sweet paella and the alliteration of “pumpkin paella” just had a ring to it. A quick google search revealed that others have thought of this too and there are definitely some great recipes out there. I took a basic recipe for Chorizo Pumpkin Paella, subtracted the chorizo and added some of my own touches. This is what I came up with: a deliciously rich, smooth, and delicately flavored dish that’s perfect for fall. Think roasted tomatoes and garlic, tender shiitakes and fragrant saffron-infused arborio rice.

I took the skillet from the stovetop right out to the table and the family dug in!

For the paella:

  • 1 cup shiitakes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 4 cloves, ground
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar (optional)


For the tomatoes:

  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp agave
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper for seasoning


For the rice:

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 pinch saffron thread
  • 1 cup arborio rice

The tomatoes, ready for roasting

Saffron and arborio

First roast the tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and toss together the ingredients from Section Two. Place them on a lightly greased baking sheet and roast them in the oven for about 20 minutes.

For the rice, bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the saffron and rice, bring back to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. Do not drain the rice. Later on, you’ll be adding the rice and the liquid to the paella.

For the paella, heat some oil in a large skillet or non-stick pan and cook the shiitakes, onion and garlic until brown and tender. Add the rice and its broth, the roasted tomatoes, the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Stir the whole mixture together well. Add the brown sugar and mix again. Serve hot.


Happy eating!