Go Back
Print
Vegan palak paneer in a kadhai pan on a grey surface surrounded by naan breads, coriander, green chillies and garlic cloves.

Vegan Palak Paneer

Vegan palak paneer – ‘cheesy’ tofu cubes in a creamy, flavourful spinach gravy. This vegan tofu palak paneer is quick and easy to make, comforting and healthier than the original. You would never be able to guess that the ‘paneer’ is actually tofu!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword curry
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Domestic Gothess

Ingredients

Tofu Paneer:

  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil (or another oil)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • approx 900 g (32 oz) extra firm tofu (I recommend Tofoo brand - two XL packs)*

Palak Sauce:

  • 600 g frozen spinach defrosted (I microwave it to defrost it)
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 brown onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger peeled and grated (or use 1 Tbsp ginger paste from a jar)
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
  • 2 green chillies deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) (optional but recommended)
  • 150 ml (½ cup + 2 Tbsp) coconut cream (or soy/oat/cashew cream)
  • ½ - 1 tsp salt
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Mix the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, olive oil, garam masala and salt together in a large bowl to form a paste. Drain the tofu and cut it into bite sized cubes then toss them in the marinade until they are well coated. Set aside for 30 minutes to marinate. (It can be baked right away if you don't have time).

  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°fan/400°F/gas mark 6. Spread the tofu out on a baking parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, turning it over halfway through, until it is golden and crisp.

  3. To make the sauce, defrost the frozen spinach (I just do this in the microwave) then transfer it to a food processor or blender (I don’t bother draining off the excess liquid unless it is very soupy) and pulse until it is finely chopped. Set aside.

  4. Heat the oil in a large pan over a low heat and add the cumin seeds. Cook for a couple of minutes until they are fragrant then add the finely chopped onion. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. If it starts to catch on the bottom of the pan you can add a splash of water to stop it sticking.

  5. Add the grated ginger, crushed garlic and chopped green chillies and cook for another minute.

  6. Add the garam masala, ground coriander, turmeric and fenugreek leaves and cook for a minute while stirring.

  7. Stir in the coconut cream followed by the chopped spinach, some salt to taste and a squeeze of lemon juice. Bring up to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often. If the sauce seems too thick you can add a splash of water but I do prefer it to be on the thicker side.

  8. Stir in the baked tofu and check the seasoning, adding more salt and lemon juice as needed, then serve.

Recipe Notes

  • *To get the same texture as paneer, it is important to use a very firm tofu. In the UK I really recommend using the Tofoo brand one, I use two of their XL packs to make this palak paneer. If you can only find a softer tofu (such as the Cauldron one), then ideally you will need to press it first, otherwise the texture just isn’t going to be quite right.
  • Tofu paneer inspired by: https://www.bosh.tv/recipes/serious-saag-paneer