Calamari Spinach Paella

Easy and delicious this calamari and spinach paella is a great midweek dish. It is not overly fishy, which can be a problem for some people. It has an overall well-balanced flavour of calamari, lemon and garlic which works perfectly with fresh spinach. If making a traditional paella may be intimidating to you, then this might be a great alternative to give it a try.

Maybe some of you remember seeing a dish just like this on my 2019 food fails. The last time I made it was just overall an underwhelming experience, which is even worse than a complete failure. Troubleshooting something that is just a little off can be quite difficult. As it turns out going the paella route methodically managed to bring out all the flavours and textures just the way I wanted them to the first time around. The vibrant colour was actually achieved by using curcuma instead of saffron or artificial food colouring (colorante, often used in Spanish cooking as an alternative), making the overall dish more budget friendly whilst still being natural. Obviously you can use saffron if you like. I just never felt that it added much in terms of flavour but I am also not willing to try four Euros worth of saffron straight to find out what it tastes like. Am I the only one who does not taste a difference?

Calamari and Spinach Paella

• Olive oil
• 300 gr calamari (cleaned and cut into hoops)
• 7 cloves of garlic
• Salt
• 1 tsp curcuma or 2 gr saffron
• ½ glass white wine
• 2 tsp sofrito de verdura (alternative: veggie stock cube)
• 1 cup rice (long or short grain)
• 2 cups hot water
• Parsley
• Lemon
• 150-200 gr fresh spinach


  1. Put a large pan (paellera) on medium high heat and let some olive oil come to temperature.
  2. Add the calamari and fry them until they get some colour before adding four cloves of minced garlic and sofrito. Sauté until fragrant.
  3. Season with salt and curcuma/saffron before adding the white wine. Cook the wine off completely.
  4. Add the rice and the water and leave everything to simmer until the rice still has a little chew.
  5. Crush the leftover cloves of garlic with salt, lemon juice and parley until it forms a paste and add it to the rice, cooking everything until it is soft.
  6. Season the rice to taste with salt and lemon juice before adding the fresh spinach and letting that just get wilted in the warm rice. Serve with a lemon wedge.

Here you have a delicious and easy recipe for calamari and spinach paella. It may not be a traditional way to make paella but there are a lot of varieties of paella. This being said I hope people from Catalunya will not come for me, but they might. If you never hear from me again you know the paella mafia took me out. Hopefully you enjoyed this recipe and have a wonderful day!

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