Weeknight Seafood Paella Recipe

Experience Spain from your kitchen with this tantalizing Weeknight Seafood Paella recipe. Featuring a hearty blend of seafood, chorizo and vibrant spices, this recipe transforms routine weeknight dinners into a flavorful feast.

Weeknight Seafood Paella Recipe
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This recipe uses some ingredients that might not be commonplace in every kitchen. The first one is chorizo, a type of pork sausage that's native to Spain. Its smoky and slightly spicy flavor is key to the dish. Next is saffron threads, the world's most expensive spice derived from a flower, which imparts a unique flavor and color. Lastly, Old Bay seasoning is a blend of herbs and spices popular in Southern United States, especially in seafood recipes. All these ingredients can be found in well-stocked supermarkets or online.

Ingredients for Weeknight Seafood Paella

Cherrystone clams: These are a type of hard shell clams, known for their sweet and briny flavor.

Extra jumbo shrimp: Larger in size, these shrimp are meaty and add a delightful texture.

Lemon juice: Adds a tangy flavor and helps in marinating the shrimp.

Old Bay seasoning: A mix of various spices adding depth to the seafood.

Olive oil: Used for sautéing and adding a rich, earthy flavor.

Chorizo: This Spanish sausage adds a smoky flavor.

Onion: Provides a sweet and savory base flavor.

Garlic cloves: Gives an aromatic and slightly spicy flavor.

Smoked paprika: Adds a sweet, smoky flavor.

Short/medium grain rice: Ideal for absorbing flavors and achieving a creamy texture.

Tomatoes: Adds a subtle sweetness and tanginess.

Chicken or vegetable broth: Forms the flavorful base of the paella.

Kosher salt: Enhances the overall flavors.

Saffron threads: Gives the dish its signature yellow color and a distinct flavor.

Bay leaf: Adds a subtle bitterness and complexity.

Red bell pepper: Adds some crunch, color, and sweet flavor.

Frozen peas: Adds a pop of color and sweet flavor.

Parsley: Used for garnishing and adds a fresh herbaceous note.

One reader, Dalia Tavares says:

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This weeknight seafood paella recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are incredible and the recipe is so easy to follow. The combination of clams, shrimp, and chorizo creates a delicious medley of flavors. It's become a regular favorite in our household and always impresses guests. Highly recommend trying it out!

Dalia Tavares

Techniques for Crafting the Perfect Paella

How to clean clams: Soak the clams in cold water for about 20 minutes to remove any sand or grit. Scrub the shells with a brush to clean them thoroughly.

How to season shrimp: In a bowl, season the shrimp with ½ tablespoon of lemon juice and old bay seasoning, ensuring they are evenly coated before cooking.

How to sauté chorizo, onions, and garlic: Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and sauté the chorizo, onions, garlic, and paprika for about 3 minutes until they are soft and fragrant.

How to cook paella rice: After sautéing the chorizo and vegetables, push them aside and add the remaining oil in the center. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil, then sauté for about 3 minutes to toast the rice.

How to prepare saffron threads: Before adding them to the dish, crumble the saffron threads between your fingers to release their flavor and aroma.

How to cook paella on low heat: After adding the clams, shrimp, and peas, cover the skillet tightly and cook on low heat until the clams open up and the shrimp are cooked through, which takes about 10 to 12 minutes.

How to toast the bottom of the rice: Uncover the skillet, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes to toast the bottom of the rice, adding a delicious layer of flavor and texture to the dish.

How To Make Weeknight Seafood Paella

Made in just a single pan, this filling dish of seafood paella is ready to satisfy your tummy! A mix of rice, seafood, and vegetables turned extraordinary!

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
Total: 45 minutes



  • 16cherrystone clams
  • 16extra jumbo shrimp,peeled and deveined
  • ½tbsplemon juice
  • ¼tspold bay seasoning
  • tspolive oil,divided
  • 1small chorizo link,sliced thin cooked
  • ½cuponion,chopped
  • 3garlic cloves,sliced thin
  • 1tspsmoked paprika
  • cupsshort/medium grain rice
  • cuptomatoes,finely diced
  • cupschicken or vegetable broth
  • tspkosher salt
  • ¼tspsaffron threads
  • 1bay leaf
  • ½red bell pepper,sliced thin strips
  • ¼cupfrozen peas
  • tbspparsley,coarsely chopped for garnish


  1. Clean the clams and soak them in cold water for about 20 minutes.

  2. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl and season with ½ tablespoon of lemon juice and Old Bay.

  3. Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium heat.

  4. Add 1 teaspoon of oil and sauté the chorizo, onions, garlic, and paprika for about 3 minutes until soft.

  5. Push aside, add the remaining 1½ teaspoons of oil in the center and add the rice, stirring to coat with the oil. Sauté for about 3 minutes.

  6. Add the diced tomatoes, broth, salt, saffron threads (crumbled between fingers) and bay leaf.

  7. Mix and bring to a boil, stirring once. Place the bell pepper over the rice, then reduce heat to low and cover tightly. Cook for about 15 minutes.

  8. Add the clams, shrimp, and peas. Cover tightly again and cook on low heat until the clams open up and the shrimp are cooked through about 10 to 12 minutes.

  9. Uncover the skillet, raise the heat to medium-high and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes to toast the bottom of the rice

  10. Discard the bay leaf and garnish with parsley.


  • Calories: 178.34kcal
  • Fat: 8.30g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.25g
  • Trans Fat: 0.01g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 4.31g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.00g
  • Carbohydrates: 8.70g
  • Fiber: 1.59g
  • Sugar: 2.44g
  • Protein: 16.83g
  • Cholesterol: 67.62mg
  • Sodium: 716.50mg
  • Calcium: 64.79mg
  • Potassium: 251.67mg
  • Iron: 1.85mg
  • Vitamin A: 132.36µg
  • Vitamin C: 27.53mg

Mastering the Key Techniques for Seafood Paella

When preparing your paella, it's important to toast the bottom layer of rice to achieve the perfect 'socarrat'. This is the crispy, caramelized layer of rice at the bottom of the pan that is a signature of a good paella. To do this, after all the ingredients are cooked, uncover the skillet and raise the heat to medium-high for about 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful not to burn it - you're aiming for a golden brown color and a slightly crispy texture. This will add a delightful crunch and depth of flavor to your dish.

Time-Saving Tips for Weeknight Seafood Paella

Prep ahead: Prepare and measure all your ingredients in advance to streamline the cooking process.

Use frozen seafood: Opt for frozen seafood to save time on cleaning and preparation.

One-pot wonder: Consider using a large skillet or paella pan to minimize cleanup and simplify the cooking process.

Batch cooking: Make a larger portion and enjoy the leftovers for another meal, saving time on future cooking.

Efficient multitasking: While the paella is cooking, use the time to clean and organize your kitchen for a stress-free cleanup.

Substitute Ingredients For Weeknight Seafood Paella Recipe

  • Cherrystone clams - Substitute with mussels: Mussels have a similar briny flavor and texture to clams, making them a great substitute in paella.

  • Extra jumbo shrimp - Substitute with large prawns: Large prawns have a similar meaty texture and flavor to jumbo shrimp, making them a suitable substitute in this recipe.

  • Lemon juice - Substitute with white wine vinegar: White wine vinegar can provide the acidity and tanginess that lemon juice adds to the dish.

  • Old bay seasoning - Substitute with paprika and cayenne pepper: A combination of paprika and cayenne pepper can replicate the flavor profile of Old Bay seasoning.

  • Olive oil - Substitute with vegetable oil: Vegetable oil can be used as a neutral substitute for olive oil in this recipe.

  • Chorizo - Substitute with smoked sausage: Smoked sausage can provide a similar smoky and savory flavor to the dish.

  • Onion - Substitute with shallots: Shallots can offer a milder and slightly sweeter flavor compared to onions.

  • Garlic cloves - Substitute with garlic powder: Garlic powder can be used as a convenient substitute for fresh garlic cloves.

  • Smoked paprika - Substitute with regular paprika and a dash of liquid smoke: Regular paprika combined with a small amount of liquid smoke can mimic the smokiness of smoked paprika.

  • Short/medium grain rice - Substitute with Arborio rice: Arborio rice has a similar starchy texture and can be used as a substitute for short/medium grain rice in paella.

  • Tomatoes - Substitute with canned diced tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes can be used as a convenient substitute for fresh tomatoes in this recipe.

  • Chicken or vegetable broth - Substitute with seafood broth: Seafood broth can enhance the seafood flavor in the paella.

  • Kosher salt - Substitute with sea salt: Sea salt can be used as a substitute for kosher salt in this recipe.

  • Saffron threads - Substitute with turmeric: Turmeric can provide a similar golden color and a hint of earthy flavor like saffron.

  • Bay leaf - Substitute with thyme: Thyme can add a subtle earthy and herbal flavor to the dish, similar to bay leaf.

  • Red bell pepper - Substitute with yellow bell pepper: Yellow bell pepper can offer a slightly sweeter flavor and vibrant color similar to red bell pepper.

  • Frozen peas - Substitute with edamame: Edamame can provide a similar pop of green color and texture to the dish.

  • Parsley - Substitute with cilantro: Cilantro can offer a fresh and herbaceous flavor similar to parsley.

Presenting Your Seafood Paella

  1. Elevate the seafood: Arrange the clams and shrimp in an artful and visually appealing manner on top of the paella. This will showcase the star ingredients and create an enticing presentation.

  2. Garnish with vibrant parsley: Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley over the paella to add a pop of color and a touch of freshness. The vibrant green will contrast beautifully with the rich, golden hues of the dish.

  3. Incorporate a touch of saffron: Infuse the presentation with a sprinkle of saffron threads on top of the paella. This will not only enhance the visual appeal but also hint at the luxurious flavor within the dish.

  4. Utilize a sophisticated plating: Consider using a wide, shallow bowl or a traditional paella pan for a stunning and authentic presentation. The vessel should complement the rustic yet refined nature of the dish.

  5. Highlight the vibrant red bell pepper: Slice the red bell pepper into thin strips and arrange them in a visually striking pattern on top of the paella. The bright red color will add visual interest and a delightful crunch to each bite.

Essential Tools for Making Paella

  • Large skillet: A large, deep nonstick skillet is ideal for cooking the paella, as it provides ample space for the ingredients to cook evenly.
  • Bowl: A bowl is essential for marinating the shrimp with lemon juice and old bay seasoning before adding them to the paella.
  • Tongs: Tongs are useful for handling the clams and shrimp while cooking, allowing for easy turning and removal from the skillet.
  • Knife: A knife is necessary for chopping the onion, garlic, and red bell pepper, as well as for slicing the chorizo.
  • Spatula: A spatula is helpful for stirring the rice and ensuring it cooks evenly without sticking to the skillet.
  • Measuring cup and spoons: Accurate measurement of ingredients is crucial in cooking, and these tools are essential for achieving the right balance of flavors in the paella.
  • Lid or cover: A lid or cover for the skillet is necessary to trap steam and heat, allowing the clams and shrimp to cook through properly.
  • Wooden spoon: A wooden spoon is useful for stirring the paella and scraping any bits from the bottom of the skillet to prevent burning and to enhance flavor.
  • Grater: A grater may be used to grate lemon zest for added citrus flavor in the paella.
  • Paella pan: While not explicitly mentioned in the recipe, a traditional paella pan can be used for cooking the dish, providing a wide, shallow cooking surface for even heat distribution.

Storing and Freezing Your Seafood Paella

  • Let the paella cool completely before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 3-4 days.
  • If you want to freeze the paella, transfer it to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag. Make sure to remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.
  • When freezing, it's best to portion the paella into individual servings so you can easily reheat only what you need.
  • Frozen paella will keep for up to 2-3 months in the freezer.
  • To reheat refrigerated paella, place it in a microwave-safe dish and heat it in the microwave until it's warmed through, stirring occasionally to ensure even heating.
  • If reheating frozen paella, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. You can also reheat it directly from frozen, but it will take longer to heat through.
  • When reheating, you may need to add a splash of broth or water to help rehydrate the rice and prevent it from drying out.
  • Avoid reheating paella more than once, as the quality and texture of the seafood and rice may deteriorate.

How To Reheat Leftover Paella

  • Reheat the paella in a large skillet or paella pan over medium heat. Add a splash of chicken broth or water to the pan to help moisten the rice and prevent it from drying out. Cover the pan with a lid and let the paella reheat for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's heated through.

  • For a crispy top layer, after reheating the paella on the stovetop, transfer it to a preheated oven at 400°F (200°C) for about 5-10 minutes. This will help create a deliciously crispy top layer while keeping the rice and seafood moist.

  • If you have a microwave-safe dish, you can reheat individual portions of paella in the microwave. Place the desired amount of paella in the dish, cover it with a damp paper towel, and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Stir the paella halfway through the reheating process to ensure even heating.

  • For a flavorful twist, sauté some diced onions, garlic, and bell peppers in a pan with a little olive oil. Once the vegetables are softened, add the leftover paella to the pan and stir to combine. This will add a fresh burst of flavor to the reheated dish.

  • If you have a lot of leftover paella, consider transforming it into a new dish. Make paella cakes by mixing the leftover paella with beaten eggs and shaping the mixture into patties. Fry the patties in a pan with a little oil until golden brown on both sides. Serve the paella cakes with a side salad or a dollop of aioli for a delicious meal.

Interesting Trivia About Paella

The paella recipe is a traditional Spanish dish that originated in Valencia. It is typically cooked in a wide, shallow pan and includes a variety of seafood, such as clams and shrimp, along with other ingredients like chorizo, saffron, and rice. This dish is often enjoyed during festive occasions and family gatherings in Spain.

Is Making Seafood Paella at Home Cost-Effective?

This seafood paella recipe offers a good balance of cost-effectiveness. The use of clams and shrimp may increase the overall cost, but the dish's portion size and rich flavors compensate for it. The inclusion of chorizo adds depth without significantly impacting the budget. The estimated cost for a household of 4 people is approximately $35-$40. The versatility and impressive presentation of this dish make it a solid choice for a special weeknight meal. Overall Verdict: 8/10

Is Seafood Paella a Healthy Dish?

The weeknight seafood paella recipe is a relatively healthy dish, thanks to its balanced mix of protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables. Here's a breakdown of the recipe's health aspects:

Positive aspects:

  • Clams and shrimp provide lean protein and essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and zinc
  • Onions, garlic, bell pepper, and peas offer dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals
  • Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant that may help reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease
  • Saffron contains antioxidants and may have anti-inflammatory properties
  • Olive oil is a healthy source of monounsaturated fats

Potential concerns:

  • Chorizo is high in saturated fat and sodium, which may increase the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure when consumed in excess
  • The dish is relatively high in sodium due to the added salt and the naturally occurring sodium in the seafood and broth

To make this recipe even healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Use a low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth to reduce the overall sodium content
  • Replace the chorizo with a leaner protein source, such as chicken or turkey sausage, or opt for a vegetarian alternative like smoked tofu
  • Increase the amount of vegetables in the dish, such as adding more bell peppers, peas, or even some leafy greens like spinach or kale
  • Use brown rice instead of white rice to increase the fiber content and provide more complex carbohydrates
  • Limit the amount of added salt and instead rely on herbs, spices, and lemon juice to enhance the flavors

Editor's Take on This Seafood Paella Recipe

This weeknight seafood paella recipe is a delightful and flavorful dish that brings the taste of Spain to your table. The combination of clams, shrimp, and chorizo creates a rich and savory flavor profile, while the saffron-infused rice adds a touch of elegance. The step-by-step instructions make it easy to follow, and the result is a stunning one-pan meal that is perfect for a weeknight dinner. The use of fresh ingredients and the careful balance of flavors make this paella a standout dish that is sure to impress your family and friends. Buon appetito!

Enhance Your Weeknight Seafood Paella Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Asparagus: Tender asparagus spears roasted to perfection with a crispy garlic parmesan topping.
Mango Avocado Salad: A refreshing and colorful salad featuring ripe mangoes, creamy avocados, and a zesty lime dressing.
Bacon-Wrapped Dates: Sweet and savory dates stuffed with creamy goat cheese and wrapped in crispy bacon for the perfect appetizer or side dish.

Alternative Recipes Similar to Weeknight Seafood Paella

Grilled Vegetable Skewers: Marinate the vegetables in a zesty herb dressing before grilling for a delicious and healthy side dish.
Braised Beef Short Ribs: Slow cook the beef short ribs in a rich red wine sauce until they are fall-off-the-bone tender and full of flavor.
Mango Sorbet: Blend fresh mangoes with a touch of honey and lime juice for a refreshing and tropical dessert that's perfect for hot summer days.

Suggested Appetizers and Desserts to Serve with Weeknight Seafood Paella

Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a savory and indulgent appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a flavorful mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden and crispy for a delicious start to any meal.
Crispy Coconut Shrimp: Transport your taste buds to a tropical paradise with these crispy coconut shrimp. The combination of sweet coconut and succulent shrimp is sure to be a hit at any gathering. Serve with a tangy dipping sauce for the perfect appetizer.
Chocolate Lava Cake: Indulge in the rich and decadent flavors of this warm, gooey dessert. The oozing chocolate center is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Tiramisu: Experience the perfect balance of creamy mascarpone, coffee-soaked ladyfingers, and a dusting of cocoa. This classic Italian dessert is a delightful way to end any meal.

Why trust this Weeknight Seafood Paella Recipe:

This recipe is a trustworthy choice for a weeknight meal. The combination of fresh seafood and flavorful chorizo creates a delightful blend of textures and tastes. The use of saffron threads adds a touch of luxury, while the inclusion of smoked paprika infuses the dish with a rich, smoky aroma. The step-by-step instructions ensure that even novice cooks can successfully recreate this classic paella dish. With carefully selected ingredients and precise cooking techniques, this recipe promises a delicious and satisfying dining experience.

Share your thoughts on this quick and easy Weeknight Seafood Paella Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know how it turned out for you!
Can I use a different type of seafood in this paella recipe?
Absolutely! You can customize the seafood in this paella recipe to your liking. Feel free to add mussels, squid, or any other seafood you enjoy.
Can I substitute the chorizo with a different type of sausage?
Yes, you can substitute chorizo with other types of sausage such as Andouille or linguica to add a different flavor to the paella.
Can I use a different type of rice for this recipe?
While the traditional paella uses short or medium-grain rice, you can use other types of rice like Arborio or Bomba rice. Just be mindful of adjusting the cooking time and liquid ratio accordingly.
Can I make this paella recipe ahead of time?
While paella is best enjoyed fresh, you can prepare some components in advance, such as cleaning the seafood and chopping the vegetables. However, it's best to cook the paella just before serving to ensure the best flavor and texture.
How can I tell if the clams and shrimp are cooked properly?
The clams are cooked when they open up, and the shrimp should turn pink and opaque. Be sure not to overcook the seafood to maintain its tenderness and juiciness.

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