We love palak paneer, but had to quit ordering the dish in Indian restaurants because it’s usually made with cheese. We eventually asked ourselves, “Is it possible to make this scrumptious meal with tofu instead of cheese cubes?” Fortunately for us (and you) the answer is a resounding yes!
The best thing about our palak paneer is that it is so easy to prepare. Sure, you’ll need a few exotic spices for that authentic flavor, but you can whip together this dish in less than half an hour. Serve it over basmati or jasmine rice, and you’ll swear that you took an impromptu trip to India (but at a fraction of the expense!)
Vegan, Gluten-Free Tofu Palak Paneer
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 chopped red onion
2 teaspoons ginger, grated
2 green chilis, chopped
2 chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup cashews, soaked until soft
2 cups raw spinach leaves, chopped and densely packed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 block firm tofu, cut into cubes
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup coconut cream
sea salt to taste
Soak the cashews in a pan of water for about 2 hours. You want them to be nice and soft.
Melt the coconut oil in a frying pan on your stovetop and add the coriander seeds. Simmer them at medium heat for 2-3 minutes until they begin to split.
Add the chopped onions, garlic, chilis, and ginger. Continue frying for about 3 minutes, until the onions become translucent.
Pour in the chopped tomatoes, cashews, and a shake or two of sea salt. Continue frying for another 2-3 minutes, then add the spinach. Remove the pan from your stovetop when the spinach begins to wilt.
Pour the pan’s contents into a blender or food processor. Give it a whirl and blend until creamy. Your mixture will attain a lovely green color.
Wash your frying pan and set it back on the stove. Pour in the olive oil, then add the tofu cubes. Fry them for 2-3 minutes, then sprinkle in the coriander, cumin, and turmeric powders. If you like your palak paneer spicy, increase the amount of spices. This recipe will create a milder version.
Fry on low heat for 10 minutes until your tofu is slightly browned. Pour in the spinach mixture and water and heat for another 1-2 minutes. Add the coconut cream, stir, and turn off the burner.
Serve over brown or white rice. We used jasmine rice, and it was sensational! This palak paneer is as good as anything you might order in a restaurant. The recipe serves four hungry people with ease, but you can store leftovers in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. They’ll taste even better the next day. Yum!
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