Paleo Paella

Paleo Paella by Worthy Pause

Of everything I cooked the first year I turned paleo-ish, I think this might be the dish of which I'm most proud. Paleo paella!

My soon-to-be aunt and uncle-in-law throw a crazy New Year's Eve party at their house every year. And every year, we all circle like sharks around the two enormous paella pans filled to the brim with a Filipino feast. Mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari, chorizo, chicken, rice, saffron, etc. etc. etc...  It's outrageous. My version doesn't necessarily keep up with that NYE masterpiece, but I am so thrilled with how it turned out.

It's a bit of an undertaking, so this recipe will make a big, hearty batch. It honestly tastes even better the next day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and second dinner.

Paleo Paella by Worthy Pause

Spanish/Filipino Paleo Paella

gluten-free, paleo + whole30-approved recipe
serves 8+


  • olive oil, for cooking
  • 2 heads of cauliflower, riced using the food processor grater attachment
  • 4 big links of Spanish chorizo, sliced (not the same as Mexican chorizo)
  • 1 whole roasted chicken, cut into pieces
  • 3 small onions, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 cups of chicken stock (start conservatively—you can always add more if you need it)
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 2-3 T of Cajun/Creole seasoning 
  • 1 T Spanish paprika
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1 little pinch of saffron threads
  • 4 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 lb shrimp, deveined
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
  • salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste


  1. First thing's first. Definitely prep all the aforementioned things before you start. It's a long list of ingredients, I know.
  2. In the biggest Dutch oven or pan you own, heat a bit of olive oil and brown the chorizo thoroughly on medium-high heat. Set the browned chorizo aside in a second skillet and keep it on very low heat to stay warm, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is burning.
  3. In the same pan, saute the onions until nearly caramelized (add more olive oil as needed). Throw in the bell peppers for a couple of minutes. Throw in the garlic for another quick minute. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set all of these veggies aside in the the skillet with the chorizo. While you're at it, you might as well put the chicken in there too so it stays hot.
  4. Add a single layer of cauliflower rice to the same pan (add olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper as you go) and saute on high heat so your cauliflower gets a bit toasty. Don't overcrowd the pan (do the rice in batches) or you won't be able to get those crispy bits that make paella paella (it's called socarrat). It just doesn't work the same way as regular rice, so this is the work-around. As each batch is done, add it to that ol' warming skillet.
  5. Now heat the chicken stock, bay leaves, Cajun seasoning, paprika, celery salt and additional salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, as desired. Let this reduce a little bit before you continue. Stir in the saffron. 
  6. Time to bring it all together! Add the tomatoes, chicken, the big bowl of chorizo. the veggies and rice back into the pot and heat thoroughly. Adjust your spice/salt levels as needed.
  7. Then when you are ready to eat, stir in the shrimp until cooked (this happens very quickly, only 3-4 minutes).
  8. Top with fresh parsley and generous squeezes of lemon juice. The lemon is not optional, folks!


  • The Cajun seasoning may seem odd, but I just use it because it includes a lot of the same spices I'd want to add separately.
Paleo Paella by Worthy Pause

This recipe was originally posted in 2013, but re-tested and updated (to make the method a bit easier!) in January 2017.

Hope you love this one!