I was inspired to make this dish after seeing a beautiful photograph on the cover of a recent Williams Sonoma catalog. The dish pictured was a traditional Spanish seafood paella with lobster and mussels; so I immediately felt the need to recreate as a vegan dish using mushrooms. I love the fresh summer colors of yellow and blue, and using lobster mushrooms in place of lobster is a no-brainer. The lobster mushrooms usually come dried, and you just need to reconstitute them in boiling water to then cook with your dish. They have a beautiful orange color, and also have the shape and smell of lobster. It’s really incredible how nature designed this beautiful food. Lobster mushrooms are a good source of vitamin D, B vitamins, protein, copper, potassium, zinc and selenium. They are also rich in dietary fiber. BUT – USE ANY MUSHROOMS YOU WISH! The compliment of the saffron rice gives an amazing flavor to the dish. The peas add in some extra plant protein and are often used in the traditional version. Saffron is an expensive ingredient; but you can find good quality saffron online or in stores. A little goes a long way and really makes this dish authentic.
Cook orzo or rice according to package instructions. In the meantime, in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until softened and slightly browned. Add the sliced mushrooms and saute. Add in the white wine and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add in the vegetable stock and continue to simmer. Add in the tomatoes and the peas. Then add the Old Bay seasoning, sea salt to taste, saffron, and oregano. Add the cooked and drained orzo to the pan (or cooked rice if using). Stir together. Add in the olives and top with the lemon slices for serving.