A seafood paella recipe, plus a rioja wine and tapas pairing to create a match made in heaven.

Seafood Paella plus a wine and tapas pairing #matchmadeinheaven @riojawine

This post is sponsored by Rioja Wine but all opinions are my own.

Over the years, I’ve been pretty forthcoming about how much I enjoy a good swig of wine. While I’m not going to turn down a glass just because it doesn’t pair perfectly with a meal, I certainly do love a well-matched wine and food experience. Honest Cooking and Rioja Wine partnered up for a Match Made in Heaven campaign, and asked if I was interested in telling you folks all about Spanish rioja wine. I didn’t think twice before shouting a resounding “yeeeeees!” from the mountain tops.

If you’ve never heard of or tried rioja wine, you’re not alone! Let’s take a hot minute to fun-fact this out!

Rioja 101

  • Originates from the Rioja region in Spain. In order to be a true rioja, the wine must have been produced in this region.
  • Comes in white, red, and rosé blends.
  • Red blends are typically 60% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha, with a small amount of Graciano and Mazuelo.
  • White blends predominantly include Viura grapes, as well as Malvasia, and Garnacha blanca grapes.
  • Rosé blends are blushed with red Garnacha grapes.
  • Most wines are barrel-aged in either French or American oak.
  • Winemakers age their blends before release so that they are ready to drink as soon as you buy them – you don’t need to lay these wines down, although you certainly can!
  • Rioja blends are food-friendly! They can be paired with a large range of meats, vegetables, cheeses, and fruits.

Seafood Paella plus a wine and tapas pairing #matchmadeinheaven @riojawine

I was given free-reign to select the type of rioja I wanted to use for this post, so I went with Marqués de Riscal Reserva. This is a red wine, which is barrel-aged in oak for at least one year and then bottle-aged for at least two years before it’s released. It has a sweet, yet peppery flavor. My Rioja Pairing Chart informed me this varietal would be excellent with seafood paella, as well as lamb dishes, mushroom risotto, barbecue beef brisket, ratatouille, and moo-shoo pork. In essence, it pairs well with all the delicious foods.

When choosing what food to partner with my wine, seafood paella jumped out at me, since it’s a dish I’ve never made at home. I have also had a hankering for stuffed dates lately. Tapas and wine anyone? Don’t mind if I do!

Seafood Paella plus a wine and tapas pairing #matchmadeinheaven @riojawine


Because I was working with a red wine, I was concerned goat cheese wouldn’t stand up to the flavor, so I stuffed the dates with blue cheese, and drizzled them with honey. Can these bundles of joy be wrapped in bacon? mmmmhmmmm! Most definitely! Because my rioja wasn’t overwhelmingly bold (I mean, hey, it paired just fine with a seafood dish), I think goat cheese would have worked great for the stuffed dates as well.

And the paella? Ugh, don’t get me started. Okay, but do.  Just look at it, will ya?

Seafood Paella plus a wine and tapas pairing #matchmadeinheaven @riojawine

I have procrastinated making paella for four score and eleventy billion years because I assumed it would require a lot of time and and an overwhelming amount of effort to make. False. I found the easiest paella recipe ever from Taste (a blog by Williams-Sonoma) and followed it almost to the T (which neeeeeever happens with me). It was easy, affordable, feeds a ton of people (especially if you’re serving tapas-sized portions), and above all: magically delicious. PLUS, the rioja and the paella paired very nicely. Wham bam.

If you’re looking to feast on some tapas with your friends, rioja is a great wine to bring into the equation. Whether you select a white, red, or rosé, you can be assured that the wine will be a great accompaniment with all of your tapas.

Seafood Paella plus a wine and tapas pairing #matchmadeinheaven @riojawine

Here’s how you make magic happen:

Seafood Paella plus a wine and tapas pairing #matchmadeinheaven @riojawine

Seafood Paella

4.67 from 3 votes
A classic Spanish paella recipe that will surely please all who try it!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings


  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric*
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup canned peas drained
  • 1 pound raw shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound chorizo links sliced**
  • 1 pound clams scrubbed


  • In a large pot or paella pan, heat the oil over medium and sauté the onion until very fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the chopped red bell pepper, uncooked brown rice, and turmeric and continue sautéing until vegetables have softened, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add thelow-sodium chicken broth, salt, and bay leaf and bring to a full boil.
  • Reduce the heat and cover. Allow the rice and veggies to simmer until much of the liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes.
  • Add the peas, shrimp, and chorizo and mix. Place the clams, hinge-side down into the paella and cover the pot. Cook for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until chorizo is heated, shrimp is cooked through, and clams have opened.
  • Discard any clams that refuse to open.
  • Serve with your favorite wine!


*You can use ½ teaspoon saffron threads in place of ground turmeric, if desired.
**I used pre-cooked chorizo links. If you use Spanish dry-cured chorizo, it will need to be cooked and you can sauté it with the onion and bell pepper after they have softened up a bit.


Serving: 1grams
Author: Julia
Course: Appetizers, Main Dishes
Cuisine: Spanish
Keyword: seafood paella, tapas recipe, the best paella recipe
Did You Make This Recipe?I want to see it! Tag @the.roasted.root on social media!
Julia Mueller
Meet the Author

Julia Mueller

Julia Mueller is a recipe developer, cookbook author, and founder of The Roasted Root. She has authored three bestselling cookbooks, – Paleo Power Powers, Delicious Probiotic Drinks, and The Quintessential Kale Cookbook. Her recipes have been featured in several national publications such as BuzzFeed, Self, Tasty, Country Living, Brit.co, etc.

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Questions and Reviews

  1. Um my eyeballs fell off my face at the beau-o-sity of these photos.
    Also at the yum-o-sity of the recipe. Wine, seafood, chorizo? If this was my last meal I would be one happy little lady.
    P.s I have saffron sitting in my cupboard and I have NEVER used it. Now I have a reason. Pinned!

    1. Best placement for saffron ever = paella! So glad you’re into the seafood, chorizo, and wine scene. I love enjoying wine and tapas with friends, and there’s nothing like a filling, flavorful recipe!

  2. OMG! I love paella. Stephie taught me how to make it when she got home from Spain (it was a favorite that her señora taught her to make). Yum, yum, yum!!! Plus, this wine? Ummm..dinner, please.

    1. YES! I love that you love paella! Can we put it on our To Make list for when I’m there? I didn’t realize Miss S had been to Spain. So much that I have to learn! P.S. Can we all just kill two birds with one stone and go to Spain together for all of the paella?

  3. i have been thinking of paella for a while and now there is a recipe – its meant to be Julia 🙂

  4. Oh my gosh I want to stuff ALL OF THIS into my mouth! This is seriously beautiful, Julia, every photo. Rioja/Garnacha/Tempranillo are my favorite wines and now I know what I’m doing this evening (if only you could come over while I recreate your recipe!).

    1. I’m actually a rioja newbie and I have been really enjoying it. And I am pretty amazed at how well it pairs with food. It’s a very drinkable wine! And I’m so glad you’re up for some paella! Let me know how you like it!

  5. See? Always learning new things from your blog! I had never heard of Rioja wine before! That paella looks so colorful and delish!

    1. I’ve only recently come across it, too! The kind that I talk about in the post very much seems like a something-for-everyone wine. It’s super pair-able and tasty! Let’s drink all the wines!

  6. I love the fact that you used brown rice in your paella – I do it all the time and my Spanish friends are horrified by it! It’s so much healthier that way!

    1. Brown rice all the way! I just love the flavor and texture so much more than white rice, although if someone plunked down a plate of steamy white rice paella in front of me, I wouldn’t complain.

      The recipe did take a little longer to cook with the brown rice than if I had used white, but I feel like it was worth the extra time! xo

  7. Um yum! I was drooling from start to finish. I also had the opportunity to work with Rioja, and it’s been so fun to see what everyone has come up with!

    1. It’s been pretty cool, huh? I’m always up for wine and food pairing ideas, so it’s definitely neat to see the other rioja pairings. Your bruchetta looked amazing!!

  8. Delicious! I tried paella for the first time on my honeymoon, I have never tried making my own. This looks like a great recipe to start!

    1. You said it – this is definitely a great intro to paella. I looked at a lot of paella recipes before making this one and many of them required gobs of time. I’m sure they all turn out lovely, but I feel like you can’t beat a simple, straight-forward, and quick recipe that turns out mouth-watering delicious. Let me know if you try it! xoxo

  9. You have hit a home run with the bases loaded with this recipe and wine. A friend of mine who is married to a Basque gentleman introduced me to this wine. I fell in love after the first sniff and sip. We had seafood also on a perfect balmy evening in a restaurant on the water in my gorgeous town on the water.
    Obviously I can’t say enough about the wine served with seafood. I think I need to try with other dishes also. Someone has to do it. Ha!

    1. Haha! It doesn’t take much arm twisting on my end either when it comes to trying new food and wine combinations. So happy you had a marvelous experience with Rioja! Doesn’t wine make for some of the most memorable times? Thanks for your sweet comment and cheers to all the good wines!

  10. I have negligible knowledge about how to pair wines with anything! But for sure I want those dates in my mouth. All of them, ASAP.

    1. I’ll bring the wine pairing knowledge, you bring your delicious baked treats…we’ll eat, drink, and be merry. 😉 #datesfordays