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A vegan Palak Paneer recipe that's as good as anything you'd get at an Indian restaurant, perhaps even better. The spinach is creamy and spiced perfectly. Cubes of superfirm tofu make a healthier and delicious option for the vegan cheese, paneer, that's typically used in this north Indian recipe. Eat with a naan or roti for the perfect Indian meal. A vegan, gluten-free recipe.
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5 from 13 votes

Vegan Palak Paneer with Tofu

A vegan Palak Paneer recipe that's as good as anything you'd get at an Indian restaurant, perhaps even better. The spinach is creamy and perfectly spiced and the cubes of paneer cheese are replaced by tofu, making this a healthier and delicious option. Eat with a naan or roti for the perfect vegan Indian dinner. This is a gluten-free recipe and it can be nut-free.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Curry
Cuisine: Can be nut-free, Indian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 164kcal


  • 14 oz tofu (superfirm or extra firm. If using extra firm, press the water out first. Cut into ½-inch cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 5 cloves
  • 1-inch piece cinnamon
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely diced
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (adjust up or down based on your taste)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves). Optional, but I strongly recommend it.
  • 16 oz frozen spinach, thawed and pureed (can use two large bunches of fresh spinach. Blanche the spinach for a couple of minutes in boiling water and then puree)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoon cashews (use pumpkin seeds if nut-free)


  • Make cashew cream by blending the cashews with 3 tablespoons water until very smooth. Set aside.
  • Spray a skillet with cooking spray. Place the slices of tofu on the skillet in a single layer and cook both sides until lightly golden. When cool, cut into a ½-inch dice. Set aside
  • Heat the oil. Add the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon and, when they start to color, add the cumin seeds. As they start to darken, add the onions and the garlic. Saute for a few minutes until the onions become golden-brown.
  • Add the ginger-garlic paste, saute for a couple of minutes, then add the tomatoes. Add the turmeric, cayenne, cumin and coriander powders and mix well. Cover and let the tomatoes cook until they are very soft and pulpy.
  • Add the kasoori methi, if using, and mix well. Add the spinach puree, mix, and let the sauce come to a boil. Lower the heat and continue cooking the spinach for 10 minutes. Add some vegetable stock or water if it looks too thick, but don't add too much liquid at this point-- you want the spinach to cook thoroughly and lose any raw flavor.
  • Add the garam masala, cubes of tofu and salt. Mix well and let it all simmer another two minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and add the cashew paste, if using. The cashew paste adds a rich, luxurious finish, but if you want a nut-free recipe, it's completely optional.
  • Serve hot or warm with naan or roti.


  • Saute the onions to the point where they turn golden. You want the onions to melt into the sauce when your dish is done, and leaving them half-cooked at the outset will not give you that silken, rich gravy.
  • You don't need fresh spinach for this recipe, because frozen works just as well. In fact, I prefer it because I can more easily find frozen organic spinach at the supermarket, it won't go bad on you because you can freeze it until you are ready to use it, and it usually costs less.
  • If you don't eat soy, leave out the tofu cubes and just make the spinach gravy. It tastes great on its own.
  • The tofu palak paneer can be refrigerated for up to four days. Freezing it will change the texture of the tofu, so if you plan to freeze just make the spinach curry and add tofu when you reheat.


Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 10.2g | Protein: 11.7g | Fat: 9.3g | Potassium: 456mg | Fiber: 2.8g | Sugar: 2g | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 4.3mg