Credit: Extracted from Wholesome Bowls by Melissa Delport 

Text and photography copyright © Melissa Delport |

Melissa says: "The first time I tried paella, I was lucky enough to be sitting by the ocean in Barcelona, Spain. It is a moment I will never forget and I hope that the first taste of my paella leaves you with wanderlust."

Serves: 6-8


  • 250g (9 oz) deboned chicken thighs
  • 40g (1½ oz /  cup) spelt flour 
  • Coconut oil 
  • 150g (5½ oz) chorizo sausage, sliced (optional)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste 
  • 1 large brown onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 red chilli (optional)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped 
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 2l (70 fl oz / 8 cups) chicken stock 
  • 2 pinches saffron threads 
  • 500g (1lb 2 oz) uncooked paella rice (or risotto)
  • 300g (10½ oz) seafood mix 
  • 100g (3½ oz) deshelled and deveined prawns/shrimp
  • 175g (6 oz/1 cup) fresh or frozen peas 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges 


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Dust the chicken thighs with the spelt flour. In a large frying pan over a medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the chicken thighs and fry until they are golden brown, then pop them into the oven and roast for 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside.

In the same frying pan over a medium heat, add the chorizo and fry for 5–10 minutes to release the flavour. When it is golden brown, it is ready. Add the tomato paste to the chorizo. Add the onion, garlic, chilli, paprika, tomatoes, celery, parsley and 2 teaspoons of coconut oil. Fry until the onion and celery are soft, stirring often.

Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat. Add the saffron to the stock. 

Add the rice to the frying pan with the chorizo and spices and fry for 5 minutes, stiring continuously. Add a quarter of the saffron-infused stock to the pan and stir. Once the rice begins to absorb the liquid, add another quarter of the stock and keep stirring.

This dish needs a little bit of nurturing – remember that the energy you put into your food is the energy that you will ultimately be putting into your body. Take time to be patient with your food and be mindful in creating it.

Once the paella has absorbed the liquid, add the remaining stock and cover with the lid. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the paella dries out, keep feeding it with stock or add a bit of water. 

With 10 minutes left, add the seafood mix and combine.

With 5 minutes left, add the chicken thighs, prawns/shrimp and peas. Stir well and season to taste.

Serve with fresh lemon and treat yourself to a glass of chilled white wine to accompany your paella.

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