Return to top

Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Ann Arbor, MI!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali See what I'm eating this week

Palak Tofu: A Healthy Palak Paneer

IMG_1890

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.

IMG_1888

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.

IMG_1897

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!

The Ingredients

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

IMG_1873

The Directions

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.

IMG_1874

IMG_1878

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.

IMG_1875 IMG_1876

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!)

IMG_1879

Step 4: Mix the whole wheat flour with the milk and set aside.

IMG_1880

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.

IMG_1881

Step 6: Add the spinach and salt. Let cook on low for about 10 minutes.

IMG_1883

Step 7: Add the milk mixture, and let cook on low another 4-5 minutes until everything is combined.

IMG_1884

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.

IMG_1885 IMG_1886

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!

IMG_1889

Palak Tofu: A Healthy Palak Paneer

Total Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Calories per serving: 216.7

Fat per serving: 11.6g

Nutritional Info Per Serving: 216.7 Calories, 11.6g Fat (2.1g Saturated), 350mg Sodium, 14.9g Carbs, 2.8g Fiber, 5.3g Sugar, 17.5g Protein

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.
  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.
  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!)
  4. Mix the whole wheat flour with the milk and set aside.
  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.
  6. Add the spinach and salt. Let cook on low for about 10 minutes.
  7. Add the milk mixture, and let cook on low another 4-5 minutes until everything is combined.
  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.

Notes

Adapted from Manjula's Kitchen

https://www.pickyeaterblog.com/palak-tofu-a-healthy-palak-paneer/

TAGS: , , ,

27 responses to “Palak Tofu: A Healthy Palak Paneer”

  1. I recently tried Palak Paneer for the first time at an Indian restaurant, and I fell in love! But I’ve been hoping there’d be a way to make a good lightened up version. This is perfect! Totally making this for dinner tonight! Thanks!

    • Oh awesome!! I know isn’t Palak Paneer the best? I can’t wait to hear how you like this recipe Krista!

  2. I was wondering what to cook with tofu when you posted this recipe. Super tasty, healthy, and easy to prepare! This is now my favourite tofu recipe!! 🙂

  3. This sounds so good!! I have been trying to find new ways to eat tofu. My father hates it, but I am trying to eat less meat, this sounds soo good, I am definitely going to make this tonight, cant wait!!

    • Thank you so much Ellen! I’m sure you will love this when you try it – keep me posted on how it goes!

    • Thanks! And yes – the texture of the spinach in this dish is super creamy and velvety – which I love!

  4. I just tried this recipe using frozen spinach tonight. It turned out a bit funny looking and then I looked backed to Manjula’s recipe and saw her suggestion about pureeing the spinach if you are using frozen spinach. I pureed only about 75% of the cooked mixture (tomato mixture, milk mixture, and spinach) to leave some texture in there before adding the tofu. It then turned out wonderfully. Thanks so much for alerting me to the recipe. Thanks also for the suggestion on how to serve it to a lo. My son is 16 months old. Keep up the good work!

    • Oh great! I’m so glad you liked this recipe and it turned out well! I did see that Manjula suggested pureeing the spinach – I chose not to because I like the chunkier texture. But pureeing the spinach is definitely the more traditional way to go. And yay for serving it to your little one too! 🙂 That’s awesome!

  5. Thanks! I just listened to your interview with Howard Jacobson. Very cool. This recipe looks great. I was wondering the same thing as Sara G as I read through it. I look forward to giving it a try. Cheers!

    • Hi David! Thanks so much for stopping by – so glad you liked my interview! I can’t wait for you to try this recipe – and you’ll have to keep me posted on how the coconut milk turns out in it. Thanks again!

  6. I’m happy to see the healthier version of Palak Paneer! I eat only vegetarian but I always found this dish too indulgent-feeling. I love how all the elements work together with the basic spinach and since I’m really curious about the difference, seems like this is the new must-try of the next weekend! Oh, and I admire your food-photography skills! :)) Honestly, if I was cooking, the result never looked so amazing – and definitely not in the pictures! Glad to find inspiration here! 🙂

  7. What is hing? I’ve never heard of it. If I can’t find it in my local market can I successfully make this recipe without it?

    • Hi Narcisa! Hing is an Indian spice — it’s used in most Indian recipes 🙂 It’s also called Asafoetida. You can buy it at any Indian grocery store or on Amazon here. But you can make this recipe without it — it just won’t have the same exact flavor as the authentic version (but it will still taste good!) Hope that helps!

Leave a Reply

 
Free 7 day plan for clean eating
Free brunch party cookbook
One-on-one health coaching

Featured Press

Subscribe to newsletter

Copyright 2017 The Picky Eater. All rights reserved. Site by 82 Birds.

X
Get new recipes and healthy tips right to your inbox!
Food
%d bloggers like this: