Vegetarian Paella with Calendula

I will always try a recipe that calls for fresh flowers on top. This year I have experimented with elder, dandelion, lavender, and chamomile when cooking. You can find numerous ideas on-line that feature those herbal blooms. There is also a long tradition of using those plants in foods like desserts. Calendula is not something I would think to use as an ingredient. Herbalists are more likely to use it externally. I was pleasantly surprised to find this recipe. Not only does it help me to use up all the excess calendula I have growing this year but it made a very tasty vegan paella.

Vegan Paella with Calendula Blossoms

Heat a large pan on high for five minutes. Turn the heat down to low.

Add 2 TBSP of olive oil

2 cups of arborio rice

Stir and toast lightly for 2 minutes.


3 cups of Water

1 cup of white wine

Juice of 1/2 lemon

3 dried bays leaves

1/2 tsp of dried turmeric

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp of smoke paprika

1/2 tsp of red chile flakes

Continue to stir continually for five minutes.

Cover with a lid and let simmer for 15-30 minutes until all the water is absorbed and rice is tender. You can stir occasionally to make sure the rice is not sticking to the pan. Add more water if necessary.


2 TBSP of olive oil

1 cup pf broccoli coarsely chopped

‘1 cup of mushrooms coarsely choped

1/2 large onion coarsely chopped

1/2 cup of yellow squash coarsely chopped

1 medium red or green pepper coarsely chopped

2 cloves of garlic finely chopped

Remove bay leaves

Add and stir in

1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley

1 cup of cherry tomatoes quartered

1/2 tsp of dried thyme

1/2 tsp of dried marjorum

1/2 tsp of dried oregano

Remove from heat and serve immediately

Garnish with 10 fresh calendula flowers (petals removed) divided among the plates.

Calendula Officinalis

When used internally this herb is thought to clear phlegm, toxins, chronic infection and inflammation. It stimulates white blood cell production and inhibits the growth of several micro organisms. Herbalists have used calendula to treat candida, , ulcers, gingivitis, stomach/digestive issues, gastritis, swollen lymph nodes, herpes, painful periods, childhood illnesses, and stimulate the immune system. I use the dried flowers a lot in electuaries and glycerites to support health during the winter.

Have you ever used calendula flowers when cooking?

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

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