Saag Paneer Minus the Paneer
Saag Paneer Minus the Paneer
About this Recipe
In this vegan version of saag paneer, you won’t miss the dairy. And you'll get a dish packed with nutrition, including magnesium, folate, fiber, and anti-inflammatory spices.
Any dish like this, that’s mostly greens and tofu, is off to an excellent nutritional start. Adding a cornucopia of spices and some healthy fat seals the deal.
- 2 to 3 cups (170 to 255 g) frozen or 4 to 6 cups (106 to 160 g) fresh spinach
- A little water — about 2 Tbsp for fresh spinach; for frozen, no water necessary
- 1 (14-oz / 396-g) package firm tofu
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin, divided
- 3 Tbsp (45 ml) avocado oil, divided
- 1/2 large red onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1-inch (2.5 cm) knob of ginger
- 1½ tsp cumin seeds
- Pinch of nigella seeds
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1½ tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- Pinch of hing (asafoetida)
- 1 cup (240 ml) tomato puree
- Fresh cilantro, for serving
- Pinch of garam masala, for serving
- Pinch of cayenne, for serving
Step 1Combine the spinach and water (if using fresh spinach) in a pan over medium heat and sauté until the spinach is wilted and bright green. Transfer the spinach to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Step 2Put the tofu on a plate. Squeeze the water out of the tofu by placing a weighted pan on it for about 10 minutes. Then slice about 1/2-inch (12 mm) thick and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp of the ground cumin. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp of the avocado oil over medium heat and pan-sear the tofu until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Step 3In a blender, purée the red onion, garlic cloves, and ginger with a splash of water. Set aside.
Step 4In a separate pan, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp (15 ml) avocado oil over medium heat and add the cumin seeds and a pinch of nigella seeds; let the spices cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the onion purée to the pan. Cook until golden brown, for about 5 minutes. Then add the turmeric, the remaining 1/4 tsp cumin, coriander, cayenne, and hing. Sauté for a minute. Add the tomato purée and sauté until aromatic, 5 to 10 minutes.
Step 5Add salt to taste, the spinach purée, and water (if desired for a thinner consistency) to the aromatic tomato purée and stir well. Add in the tofu and coat with the spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Step 6Finish with fresh cilantro, a sprinkling of garam masala and cayenne. Enjoy!
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