Palak Tofu ‘Paneer’ – Tofu in Spinach curry. Vegan Glutenfree Recipe

So finally I am adding a bit of Tofu to some meals. Still very very few meals, but trying to develop just a bit of acceptance to it. Hubbs likes Tofu, but I never have and never needed to really even eat it. There are always more options to cook up at home, but not necessarily when we eat out. Some of the upscale vegan restaurants also pretty much involve Tofu. There was a menu at a fancy fundraiser which was only Tofu and Seitan and both of which I am not fond of. I can eat them only if they are made really well with a good lot of flavors going on.

We started making Tofu scrambles once a week or rather hubbs started making some, since he always was the scramble expert. He is happy about putting on the chef hat for some morning breakfasts ;). The scrambles are usually amply spiced and herbed and cheesed :).

Any which way, lets get back to this Palak Tofu “Paneer”. Palak is Spinach and Tofu acts as the spiced up Paneer. I used to love the creamy palak/saag paneer in my pre-gan days. Since vegan-izing it, I usually make it with Tempeh. With Tofu however it tastes even creamier. And the best part is it takes less than 15 minutes in the kitchen. Saute the Tofu, meanwhile blend up the spinach, add to Tofu and let cook while you clean up, or prep/make the flat bread or rice. Drizzle cashew cream and serve. Done. 
Another delicious Indian restaurant style curry, vegan-ized and somewhat healthy-fied.:)


You can make it soy-free with potatoes and/or cauliflower, or chickpea Tofu. Serve with flat breads, or top a bowl of quinoa or brown rice, or make sandwiches or top a pizza!

The easiest and the tastiest Vegan Palak Tofu Paneer 

Vegan Palak Tofu Paneer | Vegan Richa

I am scrambling to make a simple e-book with Indian sweets and Desserts for Diwali. There are some amazing new recipes and some tried and tested and loved recipes from the blog in the book!
Here is a sneak peak of a recipe that will be in the book. Been working on these for the past year. Rasmalai is cheesy balls in Saffron flavored nutty cream. They are porous and you wont believe the amount of cream that can be squeezed out of each ball :)

I also substitute half of the greens with other leafies, like collard greens or mustard greens some days. This spinach gravy is a delicious to add greens to meals if you are not fond of green smoothies.

More restaurant style curries on the blog
Vegetable Jalfrezie – Veggies in tangyy smoky curry.
Tempeh Do Pyaaza – Tempeh in double onion curry
Dahl Makhani
Mango curry Tempeh – Sweet and Spicy mango curry
Tempeh Tikka Masala curry
Gobi Makhani – Creamy buttery curry


Saute the Tofu in a little oil for 2-3 minutes.

Add all the spices and mix and cook for 8-10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, collect all the ingredients for the spinach curry and blend them.

The tofu is all seasoned up by now. 

Add the spinach puree, mix well and cook for 10-15 minutes.

Drizzle some cashew cream or coconut cream and serve hot. 

Palak Tofu “Paneer”- Tofu in Spinach curry
Allergen Information: Free of Dairy, egg, corn, gluten, yeast, grain. Can be made nut-free with coconut milk

Serves 2-4
Spiced Tofu:
2 teaspoons oil
half of a 14 oz firm tofu block (I use Nasoya firm tofu. 1.5-2 cups cubed tofu)
1/4 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp garlic powder
a generous pinch of kala namak (optional)
1/2 tsp cayenne(to taste)

Spinach curry:
2 cups packed Spinach, washed, chopped if large
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup almond milk or coconut milk
2 Tablespoons soaked cashews, soaked for 15 minutes or use ground raw cashew (less or more for creamy consistency to preference)
4 cloves of garlic
an inch cube of ginger
1 Serano chili pepper or to taste
1 medium tomato chopped
1/4-1/2 tsp salt to taste
1 teaspoon raw sugar or maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon garam masala

cashew cream, pepper flakes to garnish

In a pan, add oil and heat on medium heat. Chop up the tofu and add to the oil. Mix to coat and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add all the spices under Spiced Tofu and mix to coat. Continue to cook for 8-10 minutes, partially covered on low-medium heat.
Meanwhile, wash the spinach and add it and all the other ingredients under Spinach curry except garam masala to the blender. Blend into a smooth puree. Add the puree to the sizzling tofu. Mix well. Add garam masala to taste. Cook covered on low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until the raw garlic smell is not detectable and desired gravy consistency is achieved. Taste and adjust salt and spice.
Drizzle some cashew cream and Serve hot with Naan, roti or other flat breads, or with quinoa or rice. Add pepper flakes for added heat. Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon powder for variation.

Notes: To make it nut-free, use coconut milk instead of almond milk and drizzle with coconut cream. You can also use Tempeh to make this. Cook the tempeh with oil for 3 minutes, then add spices under spiced tofu and a 1/2 cup water. Cook covered on low-medium, for 15-20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. To make soy-free, use potatoes and/or cauliflower, and follow steps under spiced tofu. Cook at low heat for 6-8 minutes, then add spinach puree. If you dont have garam masala spice blend, use curry powder, or use cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon powders and a bay leaf. 

This curry is being shared at Allergy free wednesdays, Ricki’s wellness weekend

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  1. says

    Curry is one of those mysteries that I have yet to master. I know it’s not complicated (as you show here), but I didn’t exactly have a lot of exposure to curry growing up (in fact, my mom didn’t like it so she never made *anything* with curry). This looks so delicious & simple!

  2. says

    Palak Paneer was always my favorite Indian dish in my Pre-gan days. I can’t wait to try this super quick and delicious looking vegan version! Thank you!!!

  3. says

    i have still never cooked with tofu, but this looks creamy and delicious. also, i’m just reminded that your vegetable jafrezi has been on my to-make list for a while now. need to make that this weekend.

  4. says

    It took me awhile to warm up to tofu, before I learned how to infuse/marinate/encrust it with yumful flavors. Searing it with a spicy sauce is always my simple favorite but I can’t resist all the fabulous flavors you have in this recipe so I must try it. Many thanks!

  5. says

    I love tofu! But I’m super picky about the texture, so there are only certain varieties I’ll eat. I’ve never had palak paneer, since I only really discovered Indian food since becoming vegan. Looking forward to trying your version!

  6. says

    I really liked this version! It seemed to go a lot faster than when I usually make it – I tend to cook everything, then immersion blend the gravy. Thanks for this tip, and the tasty tasty recipe :)

  7. says

    hi richa thanks for this recipe.. i don’t eat dairy products but i love paneer. I have one question can I replace paneer with tofu in Indian punjabi cooking in every recipe of paneer . plz reply

    • says

      Yes you can pretty use tofu in most recipes. Since tofu has a distinct taste and also slightly different texture, shallow frying it with some spices like n the recipes, or marinating it overnight in spices, helps make it a better sub in the dish.

  8. says

    In my “pre-gan” days, I looooooved saag paneer! This dish is delicious! Even better than the original, even my kids love it! So easy to….I kind of don’t want to let them know how easy it is :-)
    Keep ‘em coming :-)

  9. says

    In my “pre-gan” days I always thought the paneer was tofu anyway!! This was crazy easy and delicious, even my kids love it! I’ve already made this at least 4 times…..keep ‘em coming :-)

  10. says

    Hi Richa, I just discovered your website and made this fab palak tofu to compliment an eggplant and lentil curry. What a fantastic recipe, I am so impressed! I look forward to trying some of your other recipes – thank you Richa.

  11. Anonymous says

    Hello Richa……I made this tonight and my husband and I savoured every mouthful…..It was divine! I will be working my way through all your recipes…..Thank you so much for sharing! :-)))))

  12. MT says

    I tried Palak Paneer with Tofu last night (simply substituted tofu for paneer). The taste was fine but the texture was very far from paneer. Tofu is softer and less chewy. Would you have any suggestions how to get tofu’s texture to resemble paneer more (less soft and more chewy)?

    • says

      You can use super firm tofu, press it to remove excess moisture, marinate it with the spices mentioned, spray oil and bake at 350 deg F for half an hour to an hour. the tofu gets chewy as it bakes. super firm tofu also is dense like paneer.


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