Hello friends! Today is a special day. Because it’s the day that I finally share my Vegan Palak Paneer recipe with you.
Palak paneer is one of my absolute favorite Indian dishes. That rich, spicy, creamy green gravy combined with hunks of soft cheese, oh baby. That stuff? That’s the goods.
But since we don’t really eat dairy at home, I needed to find a way to veganize this Indian classic. Enter tofu! Nutritional yeast! And coconut cream! And there, friends, we have the perfect solution. A delicious solution, indeed.
Plus, I add in a few sneaky veggies, because honestly, they just send this dish over the top.
After testing this recipe for about a year, I am confident that it is the best vegan palak paneer recipe on the internet. But I invite you to be the judge. Make it yourself. Fall in love. I know you will.
So without further ado, I give you my recipe for Vegan Palak Paneer with Tofu, Broccoli, and Carrots. Let’s get into it.
The Best Vegan Palak Paneer Recipe Ever
with Tofu, Broccoli, and Carrots
What is Palak Paneer?
If you aren’t familiar with Palak Paneer, I’ll quickly clue you in.
Palak Paneer is a classic vegetarian Indian dish consisting of paneer (fresh Indian cheese curds – essentially an Indian-style cottage cheese), inside a thick gravy made of pureed spinach, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, garam masala, and a few other ingredients. It is absolutely amazing. But so is this vegan version!
Why you’ll love this Vegan Palak Paneer
- Packed with veggies
- Not “easy” to make, but so rewarding
- Ready in about 35 minutes, if you can multitask effectively
- A great excuse to also eat garlic naan
So what’s inside this Vegan Palak Paneer?
The main ingredients are, of course, spinach and tofu, carrots, and broccoli. Tomatoes and veggie stock.
Nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavor, and coconut cream to make the gravy creamy and luscious.
Within the gravy, there is also onion, garlic, ginger, and green chilies, as well as loads of spices, and lemon juice.
Some of the more uncommon ingredients you may not already have on hand are coconut aminos, nutritional yeast flakes, curry powder, and garam masala. If necessary, you can buy them on Amazon here!
So now that we have our ingredients sorted, how do we make this legendary Vegan Palak Paneer?
I’ll walk you through it now.
Preparing the tofu
The process starts out with pressing the moisture out of your tofu.
Then, you’ll cut the tofu into little cubes and marinate them in spices, nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavor, coconut aminos for salty sweetness, and lemon juice for acidity.
Baking the veggies & tofu
Next, you’ll chop your veggies. (I like to chop my carrots diagonally, so they’re long and skinny. The broccoli should simply be bite-sized.)
You’ll toss them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and they’ll go straight into the oven.
So will the tofu.
You want to bake the tofu until it’s lightly browned and crispy on the outside, but still soft on the inside. Just like actual dairy paneer!
You’ll know the veggies are finished when they’re slightly browned, and cooked through but not too soft. You still want a little bite.
Making the gravy
Meanwhile, you’ll make the gravy, which involves cooking down onions, garlic, ginger, and chilies. Adding in lots of spices, and then tomatoes, veggie stock, and nutritional yeast.
Let this cook down for a few minutes, while you move on to the spinach step.
Wilting vs. blanching spinach
So many palak paneer recipes call for blanching spinach, but we are not going to do that. Because, for one, blanching is a pain.
Wilting the spinach in a pan is so much quicker and easier than blanching. Plus, it allows the spinach to retain its beautiful bright green color as well as its flavor.
While the gravy is cooking in the pot, heat the spinach leaves over low heat, just until they wilt – but not more than that! Keep your eye on the pan and move the leaves around. You don’t want them to turn dark green and lose all of their vibrance. FYI – the spinach in the image below is nearly finished – but not quite.
Set the spinach aside once it’s finished.
Finishing the gravy
Next, you’ll stir in the coconut cream and allow the gravy to thicken for a few minutes.
Then, add the gravy and the wilted spinach into a blender and blend until it’s silky smooth.
Combining everything, serving, and garnishing
Return the gravy to the pot.
Then stir in the tofu, broccoli, carrots, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. And don’t be shy with the seasonings yo!
Serve immediately, while the spinach is still bright green. It will darken with time but don’t worry, it will still taste amazingggg. This is more just an aesthetics thang!
Serve it with basmati rice, and garnish with cilantro. Drizzle with some extra coconut cream if you wish.
And if you were clever enough to make/buy some garlic naan to go with it, then throw that on the plate too, and you are officially living life to the fullest.
The Best Vegan Palak Paneer Recipe Ever
And there you have it. My recipe for vegan palak paneer.
So good, you won’t even miss the real cheese. So addictive, you’ll want to eat the entire pot in one go. But so filling and satisfying, you’ll only need one bowl. (And you can save the rest for tomorrow’s leftovers. YES!)
Oh, and if you want to make a ginormous batch and freeze it, no one’s stopping you.
I hope you love this recipe for palak paneer with tofu, carrots, and veggies. I know I do. In fact, I’m tempted to go make more right now…Print
The Best Vegan Palak Paneer with Tofu
This is the best vegan palak paneer recipe ever! Marinated tofu and roasted vegetables come together in a sauce of pureéd garlic, chilies, ginger, spices, and wilted spinach to create a vegan spin on an Indian classic. Healthy, spicy, creamy, and insanely delicious, you’re going to love this dish. Plus, if you’re a good multitasker, your palak paneer can be ready in about 35 minutes!
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 35
- Yield: 4 servings, with rice 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Baking and Stovetop
- Cuisine: Indian
- 1 block firm tofu, pressed
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 carrots
- 1 large broccoli
- 2 tsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 6 cups spinach leaves (6 packed cups)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium brown onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 green chilies, chopped
- 1 tsp ginger, grated
- 2.5 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 cup canned tomatoes (14 oz or 400 g can)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 3/4 cup vegetable stock
- 1 can coconut cream (14 oz or 400 ml can)
- 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- If not already complete, wrap tofu in a clean kitchen towel and place underneath something heavy to press out excess liquid. Allow to rest for about 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 F (205 C) and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
- Cut the tofu into cubes. Place them in a bowl, and add nutritional yeast, coconut aminos, lemon juice, and salt, and gently toss. Marinate for about 10 minutes (or up to 1 hour, if you have time), then line onto a baking sheet without crowding.
- Meanwhile, cut the broccoli down into bite-size florets. Chop the carrot into bite-size pieces (I like to chop diagonally for longer pieces). Place onto another baking sheet, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper. Ensure that the veggies aren’t crowded.
- Place both sheets in the oven. Bake the tofu for 10 minutes, or until it is lightly browned, slightly crispy on the outside, but still soft. Roast the vegetables for 5 more minutes (total of 15), or until the broccoli is browned and everything is cooked through.
- Meanwhile baking, heat a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Heat olive oil in the pot. Add in onions, garlic, chilies, and ginger. Once the onion is golden brown, add in the garam masala, curry, and cumin. Stir-fry the spices for a couple minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes, vegetable stock, and nutritional yeast. Allow to cook for 5-7 minutes.
- Lower the heat, stir in coconut cream (if desired, reserve 1 tbsp for drizzling when serving) and allow to thicken for 5-10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a pan over low heat, add olive oil, then slowly wilt the spinach leaves. Stir the leaves around as needed. Don’t wilt them too much, just enough, so that they still keep their vibrant color. About 5 minutes.
- In a blender, blend the contents of the pot with the wilted spinach leaves until smooth, and return the sauce to the pot.
- Stir in the tofu, carrots, broccoli, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and don’t be shy!
- Garnish with cilantro and a drizzling of coconut cream, if desired. Serve with basmati rice and garlic naan.
Looking for other Indian recipe inspiration? Check out my Cauliflower Tikka Masala and Chana Aloo Masala!
Did you make this recipe for Vegan Palak Paneer? Let us know how it went in the comments + feel free to leave any questions!
So simple and tasty! The tofu is such a great replacement for paneer, thanks!
Awesome! I wanted to make an authentic vegan paneer – this was great and had lots of flavor. The lemon really brings out the wow factor. Recommended, especially if you are skeptical about tofu!