Vegan palak-paneer

Those of you who visited India probably droll too when they hear the name ‘palak- paneer’. Palak-paneer is an Indian name for a dish which in translation means ‘spinach-cheese’. Indians have an interesting habit of calling dishes by their main ingredients. Easy! Being so inspired by this unique Indian dish, I decided to re-create it with a twist. I present to you the vegan palak-paneer!

What I liked about this dish, is that compared to other Indian dishes, it is usually lighter and less fatty than other Indian dishes. This might be because paneer, the Indian cheese has a very subtle taste, similar to mozzarella cheese and tofu. These ingredients usually absorb the flavors of the other elements in the dish that they are eaten with.

Vegan Palak Paneer with Tofu

Because of the fact that (a) we don’t have paneer back home, and (b) but most importantly, i’m trying to reduce consumption of animal products of all kinds – tofu seemed like a perfect fit for the Israeli take on Indian palak-paneer.

If you haven’t been convinced and started making the dish yet, let me add another great thing about it. This recipe is healthy! it will make you feel full, but not heavy, and it is full of vitamins and minerals – Spinach is a great source for iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamin A and more. Tofu is high with protein and calcium.

This vegan palak-paneer recipe is:

  • Healthy
  • Vegan
  • Source of protein
  • Full of nutrients like iron and calcium
  • Low-carb
  • Gluten-Free
  • Sugar-Free
Vegan Palak Paneer with Tofu

How to make

The dish has a lot of ingredients, but it is preety easy to make. We first steam the spinach and cherry tomatoes until the peel cracks. In a different pan we open the spices by heating them with olive oil for about a minute. Then we add the onion. Once the onion is softened, we add the tofu, cut to cubes, ginger and garlic. Now we can complete the spinach souce – by placing the spinach in the blender with a bit of the water it was boiled in and the cashew nuts. We then place the sauce in a pot, on low heat and add in the tofu, onion and spices. We cook it together for several minutes and serve with chili flakes on top, for some spiciness!

Vegan Palak Paneer with Tofu

Vegan Palak Paneer with Tofu, Indian Style

This dish is the vegan version for the amazing Indian dish called 'palak-paneer' which is a cheese in spinach sauce with amazing spices and flavors.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Israeli
Servings 2 people


  • 1 pack firm tofu (300g) Organic and non-GMO is recommended
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 pack spinach about 100-120g
  • 1 white onion
  • 10 cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp fresh, grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • optional: red chili flakes add based on personal preference for spiciness
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil


  • Soak the cashew nuts for a few minutes in boiling water.
  • Cut the tofu to cubes and the onion to thin rings.
  • Heat a pot with about 2 centimeter of water. Once the water boil, add the spinach and cherry tomatoes and steam them for a few minutes until the spinach softens and the tomatoes crack. Don't drain the water – we will use some of it for the spinach sauce.
  • Blend the spinach with the soaked cashews and about 1/2 cup of the water that it was boiled in. If you accidentally drained the water – just add 1/2 cup of purified water. Set the sauce aside, we will use it in the final step.
  • Heat on low fire about 1-2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan. Add the spices: the grated cumin and the cumin seeds, the cardamom, turmeric, cloves and cinnamon, and let them cook for about a minute, this will open up the flavors.
  • Add the onion, mix well with the spices and cook for a few minutes, until it softens. If needed, add a bit more olive oil.
  • Add the tofu, ginger and garlic to the pan and mix well. Let it cook together about 1-2 more minutes and remove from the heat.
  • Peel the tomatoes (try not to cut them open just yet, to keep the liquids) and place then aside.
  • In a pan, add the spinach and cashew sauce and the cherry tomatoes – cut them roughly, above the pan, so that their juices will mix in the sauce. Add the tofu with the onion and spices. Add the salt and chili flakes based on personal flavor. Taste and fix the flavors if needed. Cook for 2-3 more minutes and remove from the heat.
  • Serve with more chili flakes on top, if you like it spicy. Enjoy!
Keyword calcium, dairy free, gluten free, healthy, iron, Nutrients, paleo, Plant based, protein, vegan
Vegan Palak Paneer with Tofu