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Shrimp Paella with a Mexican twist

This tasty and nourishing rice is essentially Spanish Paella with Mexican burrito seasoning, lime and cilantro! It's a one-pan very easy, healthy and delicious meal that can be made in your very own kitchen using simple ingredients in just 45 minutes! The vibrant dish only uses shrimp so the ingredients needed are limited compared to traditional Spanish Paella and can be omitted for the vegetarians/vegans out there. It embodies the flavours of Spanish Paella (saffron, tomato, garlic, pepper) and Mexico (burrito seasoning, lime, cilantro), creating a fiesta of flavours! The entire family can enjoy this nourishing and nutritious dish that you can make in under an hour!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes

Spanish Paella with a Mexican Twist
Spanish Paella with a Mexican Twist

The marriage of these two extraordinary cuisines had given rise to this extraordinary dish. For those out there who believe in authenticity of a dish, I hear your complaints! But read this story...The story behind its creation! Well, the simple truth is my husband isn't a fan of traditional Paella, while I absolutely adore it! Faced with this problem, I set out to build a flavourful bridge—enabling me to savor the essence of Paella while crafting a taste profile that would he would enjoy. And low and behold, it worked! The Shrimp Paella with a Mexican twist won over not only my husband but also my children, this brought so much joy to me because it not only offered a deliciously balanced meal but also incorporated nourishing vegetables. Paella is a fantastic dish that deserves a space on the podium, even if it's been tweaked for different tastes!

Traditional, Valencian paella is the classic dish of the Valencia region. It includes round-grain rice, rabbit, chicken, occasionally duck, and garrofó (a kind of lima or butter bean), all cooked in a combination of olive oil and chicken broth.

My version of Paella omits the meat, replaces the butter bean with black bean and I have added burrito seasoning to the flavour profile along with a garnish of cilantro and lime. The vibrancy of flavours and different textures creates a dish that is bursting with a unique and delightful fusion of tastes. The absence of meat is complimented by the hearty black beans, introducing a new depth to the dish. The infusion of burrito seasoning adds a spicy kick and an extra layer of complexity to the traditional paella profile. Topped with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime, my version is a vibrant celebration of diverse flavours and textures, creating a dish that is both refreshing and satisfying.

I still remember the first time I tasted Paella, my dad and I were spending the afternoon in downtown Nottingham. We heard a buzz towards the town square and much to our pleasant surprise, it turned out a Spanish market was in town! Paying little attention to the weather we both walked towards the market, but quite quickly, our fingers grew cold and the rain threatened to come down. The first stand was a Paella station and the smells wafted deliciously through the air. An enormous Paella Pan was sitting on a fire and a jolly, busy and older looking man was filling plate upon plate of this vibrant rice. It looked comforting so my dad and I both bought a plate and sat on a nearby bench devouring every warm and tasty bite on the cold day. We both love Seafood, you see, so this was right up our alley. It seems fitting to dedicate this recipe to him and one day wish to make it for him, perhaps on another cold and rainy day.

What I love the most about food is the memories it creates. As someone who's moved away from home, creating these recipes makes me somehow feel closer to home and all the people I love. So I'm writing this for you as much as I am for myself, and I am quite certain, you will enjoy it as much as we did! Lastly, I truly hope this recipe will create a beautiful memory in your home. Now, let's dive in!

Spanish Paella with a Mexican Twist
Spanish Paella with a Mexican Twist

Tips on how to create the perfect Shrimp Paella with a Mexican twist

Rice It is essential not to wash the rice, because the texture comes from the starch which resides on the outer layer of the rice.

Type of rice Arborio rice is high in starch and short grain, it creates a beautiful texture for Paella if you don't have access to Spanish rice

Stirring Once the rice is added, do not stir. This will change the the texture of the rice, making it more like risotto, and also it wouldn't allow a crust to form at the bottom of the pan, which is quite delicious and what makes a Paella, a Paella!

Paella pan If you don't own a Paella pan, you can use a large skillet or a cast iron pan.

Vegetarian/Vegan Paella To create a vegetarian Paella, simply leave out the shrimp and replace the chicken stock with vegetarian stock, due to the peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro, beans and peas, the dish will still have lots of flavour and substance.

Shrimp Shrimp doesn't take very long to cook so try not to over cook it or it will be chewy. You know it is done when the outer side has turned from grey to pink.

Saffron This is an essential flavour to Paella so I wouldn't recommend leaving it out!

Recipe for Shrimp Paella with a Mexican twist

Prep time

10 minutes

Cook time

35 minutes

Total time

45 minutes


4 servings


6-8 shrimp (shell removed but tails left on)

4 tablespoons of finely chopped garlic

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons rice vinegar, apple cider or white wine

1 chopped onion (1 cup)

1 chopped red or green pepper (1 cup)

1 large or 2 small bay leaves

1 packet of burrito seasoning

1 cup blended tomatoes

5 threads of saffron

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 cups Arborio rice or Spanish rice

5 cups chicken broth

3/4 cups frozen peas

1/4 canned black beans (rinsed)

2 limes cut into quarters or slices for garnish

3 tablespoons of chopped cilantro for garnish


  1. Warm a skillet over medium heat, then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil

  2. Add 1 tablespoon of garlic and braze for 30 seconds, add three shrimp and 1/4 teaspoon of salt, stir every 20 seconds and cook until the shrimp turns from grey to pink, the remove onto a plate.

  3. Add the vinegar or white white and scrape the pan with the spoon to deglaze it.

  4. As soon as the vinegar has evaporated, heat another 2 tablespoons of oil in the same pan, add green peppers, onions, 3 tablespoons of garlic and braze for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes, saffron, bay leaves burrito seasoning and paprika.

  5. Stir the rice into the mixture and mix until the rice is coated, then pour in the chicken broth, do not stir after this point. Simply shake the pan a little to create an even layer of rice, reduce the heat one notch and cook for 18-20 minutes uncovered.

  6. Sprinkle the beans and peas over the top and cook for a further 5 minutes. The liquid should be absorbed, if there is some remaining cook for a few more minutes. If it looks dry, add some broth over the top, 1/4 cup at a time as needed.

  7. Remove the pan, wedge in the shrimp between the rice and cover it for 10 minutes.

  8. Sprinkle the juice of 1 lime over the rice evenly, and sprinkle the chopped cilantro. The dish is ready! Serve with lime quarters incase they are needed. Disfrutar! (Enjoy!)


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