Last night was like my Friday night since I don’t work today.  I had a few meal ideas ready for dinner, but just hadn’t decided on what to make.  Since there was no rush, I decided on paella.

After all, I made a plan to use more spices (this one included turmeric), and also wanted another budget friendly meal.  The only problem once I started really looking at the recipe was that I didn’t have some of the ingredients on hand.

It wouldn’t be very budget savvy of me to run to the store for them, so I worked with what I had.

Instead of chicken broth, I used french onion soup.  I was kind of thinking this my ruin the dish, but it did not!  No frozen peas on hand, so asparagus stir-fry mix was used.  Instead of brown rice I used a wild harvest rice mix and lastly, there was no sausage in my fridge so I added chicken breast.


The paella recipe was really simple to follow and didn’t take much prep work.  The meat is optional, but I decided to include a little bit.  By using a whole can of black beans (instead of just 1 cup if including meat) I was able to reduce the amount of meat added, which is a money saver.  Most of the time proteins are a big budget idea.  A little goes  along way in this dish.



Budget Friendly and

Healthy Paella

Traditional Paella is filled with more meat options, but this recipe keeps it to one.  White rice is replaced with whole grains to create a healthier dish too.  The special spice in this recipe is turmeric, which is the spice that gives curries the distinct yellow-orange color.


Budget Friendly Paella adapted from The Healthy Apron
Serves 4


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 ounces chicken breast, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 a large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup wild rice mix
  • 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 14.5 ounce canned diced tomatoes, drained
  • 14.5 ounces of french onion soup
  • salt/pepper to taste (I used just a dash of each)
  • 1 cup frozen asparagus stir fry mix, thawed


  1. Add the olive oil to a large saute pan and add chicken. Cook at medium heat until just beginning to brown and then add onion and cook until translucent, stirring frequently (~3-4 minutes). Add the garlic and rice and stir until rice is translucent (~1-2 minutes).
  2. Stir in paprika, turmeric, diced tomatoes, black beans, and french onion soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover and cook until most of the liquid has absorbed  (~55-70 minutes). Stir in stir fry mix and cook 1 more minute. Serve immediately.

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