Easy Seafood Paella with Mussels & Shrimp | Paella de Marisco
If you’re looking to impress for your next date night, try making my Easy Seafood Paella! Made in under 30 minutes without a fancy pan, this recipe for my pescatarian-friendly mussel and shrimp paella de marisco is simple, elegant, and delicious.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you may be tempted to make dinner reservations; I’m here to convince you to stay home and make a romantic dinner instead. Not only will you end up saving a bunch of money, you’ll also avoid one of the worst service nights of the year.
What is Paella?
Paella (pronounced pie-AY-yuh) is a Spanish rice dish that originated from the region of Valencia. The name paella is actually the Valencian word for “pan,” and while many recipes call for a special, shallow paella pan with handles, the word refers to all types of pans.
Originally, paella was a dish for farm laborers; workers would gather what they needed for the dish around the rice fields, including onions, tomatoes, and snails. Traditional Valencian paella can be made with a variety of meats (including chicken or rabbit) and/or fish (like the mussels and shrimp in this recipe).
No matter what meat or veggies go into paella, it always includes rice and is always made in a single, shallow pan.
About This Recipe
My easy seafood paella has classic Spanish flavors and is a real crowd-pleaser. This paella is cooked in vegetable broth, simmered with roasted bell peppers, jalapeño slices, and paprika, giving it a mild kick; you can opt to omit the jalapeños if you prefer.
Generally speaking, Spanish paella is usually flavored and colored with saffron, which is the world’s most expensive spice. I opted to use paprika instead, which is far less expensive but still quite flavorful. The shrimp and mussels give this paella a fancy flair for a fraction of the price you would pay in a restaurant.
I also opted to use regular, long-grain white rice instead of special paella rice. The idea was to make this recipe available to all of you!
I also decided to make this paella de marisco in a cast iron paella pan, making it more accessible to most home cooks. You don’t need any special equipment to make it, and you don’t have to make a fire. This easy recipe can be made on the stovetop using any shallow pan you have on hand.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Making my easy and inexpensive homemade seafood paella requires a relatively short list of ingredients. Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Olive Oil – No need to bust out the fancy stuff here; just your normal olive oil for cooking will do.
- Garlic – Fresh is always best, but in a pinch you can sub in 1/4 teaspoon of dried garlic powder for each clove.
- Onion – Any color of onion will do here, so use whatever you have on hand!
- Jarred Roasted Red Peppers – Make sure to drain them well before using. You can also feel free to roast your own bell peppers if you prefer.
- Paprika – This spice comes in hot, sweet, and smoked varieties. Feel free to use whichever you prefer!
- Salt & Pepper – Every dish requires seasoning; use kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper for the best flavor.
- White Rice – Instead of using fancy paella rice, I just opted to use regular long grain white rice. You can also opt to use a parboiled medium grain rice if you prefer to cut down on cooking time.
- Vegetable Broth – Boxed, canned, homemade, or even veggie bouillon will work here. If you are not a pescatarian, you can also use chicken broth or stock instead.
- Shrimp – Save yourself a little extra cash by reaching for frozen shrimp. I prefer going for an “easy peel” variety that have already had the veins removed to cut back on prep work.
- Mussels – Remember to debeard and clean the mussels with clean, cool water before cooking to get rid of any grit. Any mussels that don’t open during cooking should be tossed.
- Jalapeño – I simply couldn’t help myself; I love a little heat! Feel free to omit the chiles if you prefer, or remove the seeds and membranes to make your seafood paella a little milder.
- Cilantro – If you’re not a fan, substitute parsley instead.
- Lemon – Fresh lemon juice adds a beautiful hit of acidity. Be sure to firmly roll the lemon on your workstation for 10-15 seconds before cutting in order to get the most juice possible.
How To Make Mussel & Shrimp Paella
Making my seafood paella is a snap! Here’s how it’s done:
Prep. Chop all veggies, clean and debeard mussels, and peel shrimp. Heat oil in a heavy skillet or paella pan over medium-high heat.
Sauté. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and bell pepper to the skillet with paprika, salt, and pepper. Sauté until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.
Toast Rice. Stir in rice for 1 minute to slightly toast.
Simmer. Add broth and bring to a rolling boil, uncovered. Reduce heat to a simmer, then cover with aluminum foil and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, or about 8 minutes. Stir in shrimp, mussels, jalapeño, and cilantro and cover. Cook until shrimp is cooked and mussels open, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Rest & Serve. Let rest, covered until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.
While I love making my paella de marisco pretty simple, there are plenty of opportunities for customization. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Go for surf n’ turf vibes. Make paella mixta by adding in some meat. Cooked chicken thighs or sliced Spanish chorizo are my favorites.
- Add more veggies. Green beans or tomatoes are traditional. I also like green onions, peas, and artichoke hearts.
- Add fish. Cod, tilapia, or any other flaky white fish is a good match.
- Get fancy. Add a pinch or two of saffron for an added hit of flavor and a gorgeous pop of color.
Frequently Asked Questions
I personally prefer a Spanish-style seafood paella, which should be made with rice that will be separate after cooking. I usually reach for regular white rice, but you can use special paella rice if you prefer. You can also go for a Filipino interpretation by using a sticky, glutinous rice variety instead.
I suggest serving paella with a warm, crusty loaf of bread at bare minimum. If you’re looking to make it into a multiple-course affair, I suggest pairing it with my Persimmon and Goat Cheese Salad as an appetizer.
I don’t recommend that you do, as mussels are best served freshly cooked. However, you can do all of the prep work a day or two in advance, making this easy 30-minute paella an even faster meal.
More Romantic Date Night Recipes
If you made my recipe for Easy Seafood Paella with Mussels & Shrimp (a.k.a. Paella de Marisco), please be sure to rate and review it below!
Easy Seafood Paella
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained, cut into thin strips
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 ¼ cups white rice, or parboiled medium grain rice
- 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 pound raw large shrimp, peeled
- 20 mussels
- 1 jalapeño, sliced (optional)
- 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
- 1 lemon cut into wedges
- Heat oil in a deep, heavy skillet or paella pan over medium-high heat.
- Add onion, cook for 2 minutes, add garlic and bell pepper to skillet with paprika, salt, and pepper. Sauté until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in rice for 1 minute to slightly toast.
- Add broth and bring to a rolling boil, uncovered.
- Reduce heat and simmer, cover with aluminum foil and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 8 minutes. Stir in shrimp, mussels, jalapeño, and cilantro and cover. Cook until shrimp is cooked and mussels open, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Let rest, covered until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes.
- Serve with lemon wedges.
- Serve this paella family-style with slices of baguette for a complete meal.
- This paella can be made with parboiled medium grain rice, but also works very well with white rice — its long, slender grains become fluffy and delicious when cooked.
Photography by Jenna Sparks
Originally published: August 2019.