Palak Paneer is a classic North Indian dish. Walk into any Indian restaurant, and you’re almost guaranteed to see “Palak Paneer” or “Saag Paneer” on the menu.
It is traditionally a rich stew made with heavy cream, butter or ghee, paneer (which is a type of cheese used in Indian cooking), spinach, and tons of warm spices like cumin, turmeric, and coriander.
It’s definitely an indulgent dish, since the heavy cream, butter and cheese are usually more prevalent in the dish than the spinach 🙂
I’ve gotten tons of requests for a healthier palak paneer recipe in the past, but I’ve never found a recipe that’s good enough to replace the original. This one might be the winner though!
It is full of spices, creamy and rich, but thanks to low fat milk, coconut oil for cooking, and tofu in place of paneer, it’s only about 200 calories for 1/4 of the ENTIRE recipe.
Eat it with rice, naan, roti, or your favorite Indian side dish. It will leave you feeling satisfied – as if you had just walked out of a fancy Indian restaurant. It’s baby friendly too! I served it to Layla (minus the cayenne) and she gobbled it up!
Adapted from Manjula’s Kitchen
- 1 10 oz package of chopped frozen spinach or 4 cups of fresh finely chopped spinach
- 1 package extra firm tofu
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1 tsp chopped ginger
- 1.5 tsp coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
- Pinch of asafetida (hing)
- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
- 2 tbsp of whole wheat flour
- 1.5 cups 1% low fat milk
- 1/2 tomato diced to garnish
Step 1: Dice your tofu into big cubes. Spray a large pan with olive oil cooking spray. Pan-fry the tofu on each side until it is firm and slightly browned.
Step 2: Take the tofu out of the pan, place in a bowl and set aside. Meanwhile, blend the tomatoes and ginger until they come together in a smooth puree.
Step 3: Combine the tomato mixture with the coriander powder, turmeric, cumin powder and cayenne (if you are making it for your kids – you can leave the cayenne out here and add it in at the end just for you!)
Step 4: Mix the whole wheat flour with the milk and set aside.
Step 5: Heat coconut oil in a large pan. Test the heat by adding one cumin seed to the oil; if it cracks/pops right away it is ready. Add hing and cumin seed. After cumin seeds pop, add the tomato puree mixture, and let it cook for a few minutes until the tomato puree is about half in volume.
Step 6: Add the spinach and salt. Let cook on low for about 10 minutes.
Step 7: Add the milk mixture, and let cook on low another 4-5 minutes until everything is combined.
Step 8: Add the tofu and fold it gently into the spinach mixture, let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Serve with diced tomatoes, roti, whole wheat tortillas, naan or rice.
And that is it! A traditional Indian dish from scratch, start to finish, that you can feel great about eating. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!