Vegan Saag Paneer Recipe

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Over the last several years my diet has been evolving in subtle ways. As I've written previously, I've become increasingly vegan. This has meant discarding certain foods I used to cook and eat, and converting others to vegan versions. One of the simplest conversions I've made is to change this Saag Paneer recipe  to use coconut milk instead of heavy cream and fried tofu instead of paneer. This Vegan Saag Paneer recipe is far and away my favorite thing to make and one of my favorite foods altogether.

I've found this recipe to be so far superior to any saag or palak dish I've ever eaten in any Indian restaurant or takeout that I just don't even try to order saag/palak dishes anymore. If your only familiarity with Saag Paneer is in Indian restaurants, give this a try, I promise you're in for a treat!

Vegan Saag Paneer (Tofu)

12 servings (this is a big batch)

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4-5 tablespoons finely chopped ginger-root
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander seed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
  • 2 teaspoons grond red pepper (cayenne)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 4 packages (10 oz. each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed (do not drain)
  • 1 16oz. package of extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes and fried golden brown
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala (it's best to make your own fresh garam masala)

  1. Heat oil in a wok or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ginger-root: stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes and then add garlic and stir-fry for an additional 1-2 minutes until garlic is golden brown. You may also want to lower the heat when you add the garlic to help avoid burning it, which will throw off the whole flavor of the dish.
  2. Stir in tomato sauce, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground red pepper, and salt; reduce heat to low. Partially cover and simmer 9 to 10 minutes or until thin film of oil starts to form on surface of sauce.
  3. Stir in undrained spinach and fried tofu. Cover and simmer 12 minutes or until spinach turns a light olive green.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut milk and garam masala.

And that's all there is to it. At this point it's best to do a quick check to see if it's seasoned well enough. If not, add a little salt to bring out the flavors.

It's best served over fresh basmati rice and/or accompanied by fresh roti.

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