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Easy Paella with Orange and Olive Salad

Create, cook and share this easy version of a traditional Spanish Paella. It is loaded with fresh seafood, juicy chicken, smokey chorizo, and most importantly arborio rice that has been infused with saffron. It serves a crowd and would be the most perfect centerpiece at your next dinner party!

Who else enjoys the caramelised scrapings on the bottom of the paella pan? Yes, me too! It’s the best part, isn’t it? Well, my Easy Paella will give you just that - a delicious caramelised base, fluffy rice, and the perfect amount of spices to make you feel like you’re in Spain. My Easy Paella is a colourful dish bursting with flavours of fresh seafood, saffron, paprika, and smoky chorizo. You don't need much else except a light and fresh salad to complete the dining experience.

My Orange and Olive Salad is the perfect accompaniment to my Easy Paella. It is refreshingly light, enhances the paella's flavours, and only takes 10 minutes to put together. It's the most perfectly refreshing side to any rice, pasta, or protein meal so you'll want to keep this salad recipe handy.

For me, it's the combination of citrus with salty-sweet olives and the crunchy fennel that makes this salad a winner. The dressing is fresh, sweet, and light, combining extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, and a good drizzle of honey. After I took the photos I also added a little orange zest for extra ZING but that is totally optional - the salad is phenomenal just as is!

Helpful Tips


  • Paella Bomba Rice is the most sought-after for paella. However, if you can't find Bomba Rice then the second best is Arborio Rice which is a short Italian Rice. It has a creamy chewy texture due to its higher amylopectin (one of two components in its starch) content. The rice in paella is cooked uncovered - this is a specific cooking technique for a paella.

  • Saffron Threads: Saffron is one of the most expensive spices. You will find it in either threads or powder form. The saffron threads are the whole stigma from the saffron crocus, while saffron powder has been gently dried and ground. You can not just add the saffron threads to a meal - they need to be activated to release their flavour and colour - hence why we add them during the cooking process rather than at the end. Good quality saffron will give a sweet, earthy, and floral taste to your paella so make sure you purchase from a reputable company as there are cheap imitations that can make the paella taste bitter and metallic.


Paella is made in only 5 simple steps:

  1. Fry off the onion, garlic, capsicum, and chorizo.

  2. Add the tomatoes and spices.

  3. Add the chicken, rice, and stock.

  4. Allow cooking. Do not combine or stir from this point onwards.

  5. Add the seafood and allow to cook further and rest before serving.


What pan you should use to make Paella.

The best pan to use for paella is a paella pan because they are wide and shallow. They are made like this so that the pan has as much contact with heat as possible so the liquids are absorbed and evaporated equally. This is how the golden crust is formed at the bottom of the paella. I personally have 2 varieties. I have a smaller enamel streel pan and a larger polished steel paella pan and I am extremely happy with both. For this recipe, I used this paella pan

Do Not Stir!

Unlike risotto, a paella should NOT be creamy. This is why once we add the stock and give it a once-off stir, we then do not stir any again. Stirring activates the statch and creates a creamy and gluey texture.


My favourite way to serve a paella is to place it in the centre of the table for everyone to dig in, alongside a salad, drinks and (this is controversial now....) some buffalo mozzarella. I think I may have just caused chaos in Spain by writing that! But yes, I absolutely love some shredded pieces of buffalo mozzarella on the side of my paella. Now, this is NOT traditional but all I can say is give it a try before you judge it.


While the paella is simmering, prepare the salad. By the time the rice cooks (takes around 15 minutes) you will have the salad and dressing ready. Place onto the dining table alongside any other tapas you want to add and all that needs to be done is complete the paella. If organised with your ingredients, you can have this Easy Paella and Orange and Olive Salad ready in no time at all.

Check out my video below and see how easy it is:

Easy Paella: Watch How to Make It

Orange and Olive Salad: Watch How to Make It

And now it’s time to start cooking! As always, if you make any of my recipes, I would love to hear your feedback. Don’t forget to save it on your Pinterest board as well! I have a board named CreateCookShare that you can follow and save. Can’t wait to hear from you.

Happy Cooking, Margaret x

Easy Paella

Serves 8 for 42cm size paella pan (halve the recipe for smaller pan)

Prep 20 Cook 40


3 cups Arborio Rice

8 cups chicken broth / stock, heated

250g chorizo, sliced 5mm thick

3 chicken thigh fillets, sliced 1cm

16 prawns, peeled with heads and tails intact

16 calamari rings

3 roma tomatoes, diced (or 400g diced tomatoes canned)

1 large red capsicum, diced

1 cup green peas

2 brown onions, diced

6 garlic cloves, chopped

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ cup parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon saffron threads

1.5 teaspoons paprika

Juice and Zest of 1 lemon

Generous amount of salt and pepper


1. Add EVOO, onion, garlic, capsicum and chorizo and cook until onion is translucent.

2. Add tomatoes, paprika, saffron and cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally.

3. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes then add the rice and heated chicken stock. Season generously and stir making sure the rice is evenly distributed and in an even layer.

4. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.

5. Nestle into the rice the calamari and prawns and sprinkle the peas over the top. Cook for 2 minutes and then turn over the prawns and calamari and cook a further 2 minutes.

6. Turn off heat, cover with foil and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

7. Garnish with lemon zest, lemon juice and fresh parsley. Serve immediately

Orange and Olive Salad

Serves 6-8 as a side

Prep 10



1 head red oak lettuce

100g baby rocket

1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons flaked almonds

2 oranges, peeled, cut in half and sliced

¾ cup mixed olives, kalamata and green


¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 heaped tablespoon honey

Salt and pepper


1. Place lettuce, rocket and fennel into a serving bowl. Drizzle half of the dressing over and toss to evenly coat.

2. Add the olives, oranges and almonds and remaining dressing and toss again to combine. Serve immediately.


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