This vegan palak paneer is a fresh, plant-based version of the traditional Indian curry of cottage cheese in spinach sauce. It’s light and easy to digest, perfect for a delicious, nourishing lunch or dinner. Serve it with some naan bread or basmati rice for the ultimate Indian comfort food.
Palak paneer is a North Indian curry made with spinach (palak) and cottage cheese (paneer). It is the perfect dish for those who aren’t very familiar with Indian cuisine since it has a mild flavour and very few spices.
In fact, the first time I tried this dish it reminded me of an aromatic spinach cream of soup with chunks of cottage cheese on it.
However, paneer is not an ingredient easy to find in my area, unless you have an Indian shop nearby. Besides, the traditional version can also be a little bit heavy because of the cream used to make the gravy.
That’s why I decided to come out with a plant-based version that was easier to make and digest. To substitute the paneer, I used firm tofu, which I previously marinated with a blend of spices, lemon, and nutritional yeast to give it that cheesy flavour.
For the gravy, I followed the traditional Indian recipe but I opted for coconut milk to keep it creamy yet dairy-free.
It is delicious on its own, but you can also serve it with a side of basmati rice, cauliflower rice, quinoa, or naan bread.
Looking for more Indian-inspired recipes? Then you might also like:
If you love this recipe as much as I do please, let me know in the comments! Share it, and post a picture on Instagram, tagging me as @iambelemgarcia and with the hashtag #ThisTulaLife. I'd love to see the result!
Vegan Palak Paneer
For the tofu
275g firm tofu, cubed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garam masala (or curry powder)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
Squeeze of lemon
For the gravy
2 C fresh spinach (or frozen spinach, measured after thawing them)
2 roasted garlic cloves (you can also use raw garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger (or sub 1/2 tsp ground ginger)
Optional: a pinch of red chilli powder
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 C canned full-fat coconut milk, plus more for serving
1/4 C vegetable broth (or water)
Salt to taste
Heat some oil or ghee in a pan. Add the tofu and the rest of the ingredients for the marinade, and stir. Lower to medium heat and sauté until golden.
In another pan sauté the spinach with the garlic and ginger, until wilted.
Then transfer the spinach to a blender along with the rest of the ingredients, and blend until you have a smooth sauce.
Pour the sauce into the pan and add the tofu. Simmer everything together for 5 minutes or so, until the sauce it’s creamy. Taste and adjust spices and salt if you need to.
Serve it drizzled with some coconut milk, a squeeze of lemon and crushed chilli flakes, for a bit of heat. Pair it with naan, cauliflower rice, quinoa or basmati rice.