Vegan Palak Paneer


This creamy spinach dish is full of Indian flavors. The roasted cheesy-flavored tofu chunks are the perfect paneer (cheese) substitute. Oven roasted tofu is added to a creamy spinach gravy and served over brown rice or with naan bread.

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Prep time:  30 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4

Kitchen Tools
  • Large Skillet
  • Medium pot
  • High Speed Blender
  • Food Processor (optional)
  • Baking Sheet
  • Parchment paper or Silicone mat
  • Medium and large bowl
  • Mixing spoons and spatulas
  • Knives & Cutting Board

Tofu Paneer:

  • One 14-ounce block extra-firm tofu, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 3-4 tablespoons lite coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt or to taste

Spinach Palak Sauce

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • ½ cup water for sautéing
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger or ginger paste
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds, toasted
  • 1 1/4 cup lite coconut milk
  • One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 12 ounces chopped frozen spinach (or 1 pound fresh spinach)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice or Nan Bread for serving
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
  • 1 cup unsweetened plant-based yogurt, for garnish (optional)



    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
    2. In a bowl or gallon baggie, toss the cubed tofu in the coconut milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast flakes, and sea salt.
    3. Spread the tofu onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden around the edges and slightly dry to the touch.
    4. In a large skillet pan, sauté the onions and jalapeños in a small amount of water until tender. Add garlic and ginger and continue cooking over medium heat.
    5. Turn the heat down to low and add the turmeric, garam masala, curry powder, cloves, and fennel seeds. Add more water as needed to prevent sticking and burning. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and tomatoes and stir to combine. Continue simmering.
    6. In a separate pan, steam the spinach over medium heat until completely heated through and tender.
    7. Transfer the spinach to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Texture preferences are unique so If you prefer a silky smooth palak paneer, I recommend a blender, but if you are looking for more texture go with a food processor. Transfer the blended spinach mixture to the pot with the tomatoes and spices.
    8. Allow this mixture to simmer over low heat while your tofu finishes baking. Add the ½ teaspoon sea salt (or to taste) and stir.
    9. When the tofu finishes baking, add it to the spinach mixture.
    10. Serve over rice or naan bread and garnish with cilantro and a plant-based yogurt.

    Grocery List

      Produce 🥦
    • 14 ounces extra firm tofu
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 1 large onion
    • 1 lb fresh spinach (or 12 ounces frozen)
    • 1-2 jalapeno peppers
    • 6 garlic cloves
    • 1 tablespoon ginger paste or grated ginger
    • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (for garnish-optional)
    • 1 cup unsweetened plant-based yogurt (for garnish-optional)
    Grains, Nuts & Seeds 🌰
    • 2 cups brown rice (or your preferred rice)
    Baking & Spices 🌶
    • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
    • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon garam masala
    • 1 teaspoon curry powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
    • Sea salt & Black Pepper
    Canned and Jarred Goods 🥫 
    • 13-14 ounce can lite coconut milk
    • 15 ounce can diced tomatoes