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Ina Garten Paella Salad (Easy Recipe)

This paella is packed with vegetables, seafood, and savory Spanish spices!

Claire Onidi By
Claire Onidi
Passionate about food and pastries since always, Claire spends most of her time in the kitchen to develop new recipes. She is French but lived many years abroad.
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Updated August 19, 2022

This Ina Garten Paella Salad will feed a party and look good doing it.

This colorful dish hails from Valencia, Spain, and is considered one of the most famous dishes in Spanish cuisine. Paella translates to “frying pan”, and refers to the wide pan the dish is traditionally cooked in.

Ina Garten Paella Salad

One of Paella’s defining characteristics is that it’s packed with plenty of ingredients. This paella salad features chicken breasts, shrimp, and vegetables like bell pepper and tomatoes.

Savory Spanish flavors like saffron and curry help tie all these ingredients together into one delicious dish.

This paella salad is not hard to make, it just takes time to prepare the ingredients. You can even prepare it a day ahead so the dish has time to marinade.

With its festive colors and flavors, this summer paella salad is the perfect meal for parties and celebrations!

Customizing Ina Garten’s Paella Salad

This paella salad is a fresher, lighter take on a traditional Spanish paella. While typical paella is fully cooked, this salad paella incorporates fresh vegetables like bell pepper and celery.

But Ina’s recipe keeps the essence of paella with ingredients like saffron and chicken stock.

Ina uses long-grain white rice in her recipe, but I’ve swapped it out for medium-grain rice instead. I find it helps absorb all those wonderful flavors from the chicken stock. Usually, paella uses short-grain rice, so this is a middle ground between the two.

Rather than fennel seeds and crushed red pepper flakes, I’ve included chopped tomatoes. They add a nice acidity and a pop of color. And they pair deliciously with the shrimp and mussels.

I know these changes might not be for everyone. So, if you prefer to follow Ina Garten’s recipe exactly, you can find it in her cookbook “Make it Ahead”.

Easy Tips for the Best Ina Garten Paella Salad

  • Use short-grain Spanish rice for authentic paella. Bomba rice is a popular choice for paella because it will absorb the flavors without getting sticky.

    Bahia, Calasparra, and Senia are other great options too.I know not every grocery store carries Spanish rice, so any medium-grain rice will do.

  • Avoid using glutinous varieties of rice, such as jasmine or japonica.

  • Cook with a large shallow pan. If you can find a paella pan that’s wonderful, but any large thin metal pan will do. A large shallow pan ensures the paella cooks evenly, and allows the liquid to cook off faster.

  • Don’t use a lid. Cooking paella uncovered allows the rice to keep a tender but dry texture. The rice will steam and turn out mushy if you use a lid.

  • Don’t stir the paella once it’s simmering. Leave the rice alone while it boils so the grains stay nice and separated. Stirring will ruin this texture.

Ina Garten Paella Salad recipe

Ina Garten Paella Salad Recipe

  • Prep Time30 min
  • Cook Time60 min
  • Total Time2h30 min
  • Servings6 to 7
  • Yield6 to 7

Level: Intermediate

Chilling: 1 hour




  1. Season the Chicken Stock

    Pour the chicken broth into a large saucepan. Stir in the saffron and let it come to a boil. Add 1 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp pepper, and the curry powder.

    When the broth reaches a simmer, take it off the stove and set it aside.

  2. Saute Onions and Garlic

    Heat the Dutch oven on medium low heat and add olive oil. Sauté the chopped onions for about 5 minutes or until they become soft. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant.

  3. Add Rice

    Pour the rice into the Dutch oven and stir so it gets coated with the flavored oil. Let the rice toast for about 2 minutes.

  4. Add Stock and Simmer

    Add the seasoned chicken stock from earlier to the Dutch oven. Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the rice simmer for about 10 minutes.

    Do not cover the Dutch oven while the rice is cooking.

  5. Cook the Chicken and Shrimp

    Place the chicken pieces in the rice and let them cook for another 10 minutes. Add the shrimp, then let them cook for about 5 minutes. At this point, the shrimp should be almost cooked, and the rice should be tender.

    Turn off the heat and let the mixture sit for 15 minutes with the lid on.

  6. Mix in the Fresh Vegetables and Kielbasa

    Combine the scallions, celery, peppers, kielbasa, tomatoes, and olives in a large bowl. Stir in the rice and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Set the mixture aside so it can cool.

  7. Boil the Mussels

    In a medium pan, bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil. Add your mussels and let them simmer for 4-5 minutes with the lid on. You will know the mussels are done when they open.

    Add the mussels to the paella salad.

  8. Let the Salad Marinate

    Cover the paella salad with a lid or saran wrap. Chill the paella salad for 1 hour so the flavors can marinate.

  9. Taste, Season and Serve!

    Taste the paella and adjust the salt, pepper, or lemon juice if needed. Then serve to your family or guests!

Ina Garten Paella Salad recipes

How to Store Barefoot Contessa Paella Salad

The USDA recommends storing leftovers for a maximum of 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

To freeze this Ina Garten paella salad, divide your leftovers into portioned airtight containers. If your containers aren’t exactly airtight, you can wrap the top with cling wrap to seal out the air. Before freezing, remove the mussels from their shells so they don’t take up too much space.

You shouldn’t reheat paella salad more than once. This is because the bacteria Bacillus cereus can grow on cooked rice. Freeze your paella in portions so you only reheat what you need.

Ina Garten Paella Salad Recipe - Pinterest

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
  • 631Calories
  • 31.1g Fat
  • 29.3g Carbs
  • 65gProtein
Show Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 7
Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat31.1g 40%
Saturated Fat8.8g 44%
Cholesterol175mg 58%
Sodium1882mg 82%
Total Carbohydrate29.3g 11%
Dietary Fiber4.2g 15%
Total Sugars7.7g
Vitamin C0mg 0%
Calcium122mg 9%
Iron7mg 41%
Potassium568mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.
Sources and References
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