Saag Paneer (Vegan, Gluten-free)

Saag paneer is one of the most well-known Indian dishes. It’s a thick spinach curry, so to speak, with fragrant spices and a touch of cream and cubes of fresh paneer throughout. Super simple to veganize! Coconut milk steps in for the cream and firm tofu holds up beautifully in this. This is a wonderful dish to make if you’re nervous about making Indian food at home. Just be sure to fry your spices before adding the other aromatics. It won’t taste good if you just throw them in with everything else. This is usually pretty smooth in texture, but I like to keep a little bit if texture to it. Serve this with rice or hot naan, maybe some naantillas.

RECIPE

2 tablespoons of vegan butter

1 tablespoon of mild vegetable oil

1 teaspoon coriander powder

Seeds from one cardamom pod

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 small onion, diced

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 inch of ginger, minced

1 jalapeno, diced

1 pound of baby spinach, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon hing (optional)

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon fenugreek (optional)

8 oz firm tofu, pressed and cubed

1/2 cup canned coconut milk

Juice of half a lime

Chopped cilantro (optional)

METHOD

Heat oil and butter over medium-low heat. Add the cumin and coriander and cook for a few minutes. Be careful not to burn this.

Add the onions and jalapeno. Stir and cook until the onions become translucent.

Add the ginger and garlic and continue to cook for about 5 minutes.

At this point, add all the remaining ingredients EXCEPT for the tofu and coconut milk. Stir often and cook until the spinach is wilted.

At this point, you can run this mixture through your blender or food processor then return it to the pan if you want a smoother texture. I kept it rustic.

Add the coconut milk and cubed tofu. Carefully stir and cook over medium heat until the tofu is heated through.

Finish with the lime juice and chopped cilantro, if desired.

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