I love palak paneer, but sadly have gone almost entirely dairy free so I can no longer eat paneer (homemade Indian cheese). I had the idea a while back to figure out a dairy free version; it took a couple of tries to get the seasoning and texture right, but I was very happy with the results 🙂
In order to replicate the consistency of the paneer, I cubed extra-firm tofu; definitely not the same flavor, but roughly a similar texture. I also found that frozen spinach worked better than fresh in order to get the texture I’m used to.
Vegan Palak Paneer
1 Tbsp light olive or vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, cracked & peeled
1 block of extra-firm tofu
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tsp garlic powder
12 oz. frozen spinach
4 Tbsp vegetable stock or water
- Heat oil in large saute pan and saute onions and garlic slowly over low heat until onions are soft and caramelized, 10-12 minutes (it takes a while, but the flavor is worth it).
- While onions are cooking, press tofu to remove extra water, then cut into small cubes.
- Add tofu and spices to pan, stirring to coat (gently so as not to break the tofu).
- Add spinach and stock/water and bring to a boil. Simmer 30-40 minutes over low flame, stirring occasionally.
Grand total: $7.47; serves 4-6 over white or brown basmati rice