One of my favorite Paella recipes is from Curtis Stone’s book, What’s for Dinner. (See his recipe here.) I started making it when my parents brought me a box of Paella spice mix from Mexico. I loved the flavors of paella, but I didn’t love the gooey rice texture that came with it.
After travelling to Spain and trying authentic Paella, I realized that I was actually preparing it correctly. This made me feel super good about myself but still, I wasn’t sold on the rice texture, hence the reason for deconstructing the dish.
Tip: Deconstructing is a great way to get kids to eat something they normally wouldn’t. (Their excuse is most-likely because the ingredients are “mixed together” or “touching”.) It’s also an easy way to bring variety to your meal plan by keeping the flavors of a family favorite and changing up the texture.
Prepping ahead is never a bad idea
From a prepping perspective, this dish is a winner. The vegetables, chicken and chorizo can all be chopped and sliced the day before or the morning of. You could also cook the rice ahead of time, but since I used Minute Rice in this recipe, it was ready even before the sheet pan came out of the oven.
Sheet pan savvy
I’ll admit, I’m a little late to this sheet pan dinner game. Now that I’ve made a few, I’m not turning back! They are too easy and low-maintenance to not include them in my weekly menu.
My favorite part about sheet pan dinners is that you don’t have to measure anything. Chop it up, toss it on a tray and that’s it! I provided an estimate of what I used, but if you add more or less of something, nobody will notice!
The spice factor
Now, I don’t even know if Paella spice mix is even a thing here. I’ve never shopped for it because my parents always bring me some from their travels. The ingredients listed are saffron, paprika, cayenne and salt. Pretty doable if you don’t have a pre-made mix. The spice blend itself is not terribly spicy, so I’d go light on the cayenne. (I’m going to mix myself up a batch, once I run out of these packages.)
The heat in the dish actually comes from the chorizo. I also added garlic and onion powders because I basically add those to every recipe I make. You could also use fresh garlic, of course.
I used Minute Rice because it reminds me of my childhood and I love that the end result is dry, separated grains. I know that instant rice is not for everyone, but you can use whatever kind of rice you like! If you want it to be similar to traditional paella, use an arborio rice, but in the end, it really doesn’t matter.
I cooked the rice in Simple Slow Cooker Vegetable broth with two teaspoons of chicken bouillon concentrate for that broth flavor. I also added a healthy amount of chopped fresh parsley to the cooked rice.
TIP: Never buy broth! Make your own veggie broth in the slow cooker. It’s basically free if you use veggie scraps and you can add chicken or beef bouillon concentrate. Super simple and cost-effective!
Serving this dish to your family is a breeze because picky-eaters can pick and choose what they want. The juicy, roasted tomatoes, crispy chorizo and fluffy rice contrast well with the other texture in this dish.
Chicken Chorizo Paella Sheet Pan Dinner
All the delicious flavors of paella, minus the effort.
- 3 chicken breasts (boneless skinless)
- 2+ tbsp. olive oil
- 2 pkg. Paella spice mix
- 2 cups chorizo sliced
- 1 450g pkg. mushrooms halved
- 2 red/yellow/orange bell peppers cut in strips
- 2 cups grape tomatoes whole
- 2 cups frozen peas
- 1 lemon cut in 8
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups Minute rice
- 1/2 bunch fresh parsley
Slice chicken breasts into 4-5 pieces each and place in a resealable bag.
Add olive oil and one package Paella spice mix to the bag. Seal the bag, and move around until chicken is coated.
Halve mushrooms, slice chorizo, peppers and lemons. Add to a large bowl with whole tomatoes. Chop parsley and set aside.
Drizzle with olive oil, then add the second package of paella spice mix, along with the garlic and onion powders.
Spread out on two rimmed baking sheets. Divide chicken among both baking sheets,
Bake at 425 for 25 minutes.
In the meantime, bring two cups chicken broth to a boil and cook Minute Rice according to package directions.
At 25 minutes, add frozen peas to the sheet pans and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
Squeeze lemons from the tray over the chicken. Serve over rice. Sprinkle with a generous amount of fresh parsley.
Paella spice mix is a combination of saffron, paprika and cayenne, but is surprisingly mild.