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Paella Salad with small bowl of walnuts on the side
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4 from 2 votes

Vegetarian Paella Salad with Spiced Walnuts

This bright paella salad features candied spiced walnuts! Made with savory seasoned brown rice, tossed with sherry vinagigrette, and loaded with chickpeas, edamame, artichoke hearts, and roasted red pepper.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: American, Spanish
Keyword: brown rice, paella, saffron
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 470kcal


For the rice:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups organic Jasmine brown rice (see note)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 bay leaf

Candied spiced walnuts:

  • 1 cup California walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the vinaigrette:

  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

The add ins:

  • ¼ cup chopped parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup diced roasted red pepper, from a jar
  • 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, cut in halves or quarters
  • 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1 cup cooked organic shelled edamame beans


Cook the rice:

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the rice and the onion and sauté until both the onion and the rice begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth, tomatoes, saffron, smoked paprika, salt and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, and reduce the heat to very low.
  • Steam until the rice is tender and all of the liquid is absorbed, 45 to 60 minutes. Let the rice stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Turn out into a large bowl and remove the bay leaf.

Make the spiced walnuts:

  • Drop the walnuts into boiling water, turn off heat and let stand 2 minutes; drain. Heat oil in a large skillet, add the walnuts, sugar, salt, cumin and cayenne pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the sugar melts and the nuts are lightly toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Make the vinaigrette dressing:

  • In a small bowl, whisk the garlic, mustard and sherry vinegar. Gradually drizzle in the olive oil, whisking. Season with the salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the rice in the bowl.
  • Mix in the parsley, artichoke hearts, chickpeas, and edamame. Refrigerate until well chilled. Just before serving, mix in half of the spiced walnuts. Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the top as garnish.


  • Brown rice, known for its high protein and fiber nutrient content, is a healthy choice. If you wish, you can substitute white jasmine rice—plan on a shorter cooking time than with brown jasmine rice.
  • If you don’t have sherry vinegar you can substitute another vinegar, like apple cider or red wine vinegars.


Calories: 470kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 1065mg | Potassium: 336mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 569IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 2mg