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Vegan palak peneer or spinach curry with tofu, served with rice and naan

Spinach Curry with Tofu (Palak Paneer)

Prep: 3 hr +
Cook: 40 min
Total: 3 hr 40 min
Servings: 4

This vegan recipe for palak (spinach) paneer is delicious, full of flavor and very healthy! Sautéed marinated tofu is used to mimic traditional paneer and is immersed in a beautiful, rich, green curry. Then we finish it off by swirling in coconut yogurt to serve.

Author Embody Nourish
by Embody Nourish
Recipe Ingredients

Ingredients & Directions

Recipe Ingredients


Yield: Curry (4 Servings)
Needed Kitchenware: Mixing bowl, sauté pan, 2 cooking pots, food processor or blender.
Tofu Paneer
  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 3 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
Spinach Curry
  • 5 cups of spinach, roughly
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 3 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green chili, minced
  • 400g (1 ¾ cup) tomato purée
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp fenugreek leaves, dried
  • 2 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1 tsp cloves, ground
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • (Optional) Serve with coconut yogurt, fresh cilantro or coriander, rice, and naan
Recipe Directions


  • Prepare your tofu block by pressing out the liquid and cutting it into 2cm cubes.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine most of the tofu paneer ingredients: tofu, curry powder, sea salt, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice. Toss to coat the seasoning and spices all over the tofu – I like to use my hands to prevent the tofu from breaking. Adjust to taste – you can add in more nutritional yeast to draw out that cheesiness.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, overnight is ever better!
  • Heat the 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Sauté tofu for 6-8 minutes until cooked and soft. When done, set aside.
  • We'll be cooking the spinach curry now. Heat water in a pot over medium-high heat. When boiling, add spinach and blanch for 3-4 minutes. Strain and rinse with cold water to stop it cooking. Purée spinach in a blender or food processor and set aside.
  • Heat the 2 tbsp oil in a skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté onion for a few minutes until golden brown. Add in chili, garam masala, cardamom, cumin, ground cloves, and turmeric. Sauté spices for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Add in a splash of water if it starts sticking to the bottom.
  • Add garlic and ginger, cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in tomato purée and fenugreek leaves, cook for another few minutes.
  • Add in puréed spinach to the pot and stir to combine. Cover and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes over low heat. Add in the tofu paneer. Adjust with salt according to taste.
  • (Optional) Garnish with coconut yogurt and fresh coriander. Serve with basmati rice or naan.

You have the option to bake the tofu instead of pan frying to omit the olive oil in preparing the tofu paneer, but the flavor does not develop as much. If you are going to bake, spread the tofu evenly on a baking sheet that is prepared with parchment paper and bake it at 180°C (350° F) for 30-40 minutes.

Recipe video

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Recipe nutrition

Nutritional Information

Yield: Curry
Servings: 4
Information per serving:
Energy: 266.9 kcal
Carbohydrate: 24.5 g
Protein: 14.6 g
Fiber: 7.1 g
Sugar: 8.3 g
Fat: 15 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 8.6 g
Polyunsatured Fat: 2.7 g
Omega-3: 0.3 g
Omega-6: 2.2 g
Saturated Fat: 2.2 g
Trans Fat: 0.018 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Choline: 56.7 mg 13% DV
Folate: 112.6 µg 28% DV
A: 4217.6 IU 181% DV
B1: 0.9 mg 85% DV
B2: 0.3 mg 23% DV
B3: 7.5 mg 54% DV
B5: 13.8 mg 277% DV
B6: 4 mg 307% DV
B12: 0 mg 0% DV
C: 61.1 mg 81% DV
D: 0 IU 0% DV
E: 4.8 mg 32% DV
K: 196.8 µg 219% DV
Calcium: 265.9 mg 27% DV
Copper: 0.6 mg 70% DV
Iron: 6.4 mg 36% DV
Magnesium: 105.6 mg 33% DV
Manganese: 2 mg 110% DV
Phosphorus: 269 mg 38% DV
Potassium: 995.2 mg 21% DV
Selenium: 18.4 µg 33% DV
Sodium: 411.2 mg 27% DV
Zinc: 2.7 mg 34% DV

Please note nutritional information varies dependent on agricultural conditions, consistency in manufacturing processes, and honesty in reporting. We cannot accurately report on the amount of harmful chemicals or beneficial plant constituents that might be present in these ingredients. We cannot report on the content of material added during the cooking process. We cannot guarantee if the vitamins present are natural or synthetic. We make no guarantees to the accuracy of this information and continue to suggest purchasing organic, high-quality, fresh ingredients from local, trusted sources. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet and values come regulated from the FDA. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your needs.

Tips, Suggestions, Photos, & More Information

vegan palak paneer spinach with tofu paneer recipe version, fresh, tasty, yogurt

What is Palak Paneer?

Palak paneer is traditionally a vegetarian dish consisting of large cheese curds served in a gravy of a spinach curry. Sometimes it is also called saag paneer in restaurants in English speaking countries like the USA. It's tangy, very filling, and highly nutritious.

vegan palak paneer spinach with tofu paneer recipe version, fresh, tasty, yogurt

What makes this recipe vegan?

This recipe replaces the cheese curds with marinated tofu to mimic the flavor and texture. The result is a healthier dish PACKED with nutrition with the same flavor and textures. Win-win!

vegan palak paneer spinach with tofu paneer recipe version, fresh, tasty, yogurt

How does the tofu differ from the paneer?

You have the choice here of either cooking the tofu by baking in the oven or on the stovetop. Based on the cooking method, the tofu can end up being more firm or match a traditional paneer texture. For people who find paneer too soft, baking is a great way to add more firmness and "bite" to the food.

The tofu is also seasoned nicely using lemon juice and nutritional yeast. Some people love adding in nutritional yeast into their diet for extra supplementation since a lot of nutritional yeast has added vitamins. The nutritional yeast adds a certain cheesy taste. If you don't wish to have extra supplementation, you can purchase unfortified nutritional yeast. And if you want to make this dish a whole food, you can leave out the yeast altogether. The lemon juice really helps turning ordinary tofu into a cheesy delight!

vegan palak paneer spinach with tofu paneer recipe version, fresh, tasty, yogurt

What spinach do I need for this recipe?

This recipe uses large spinach uses but you can use baby spinach or even frozen spinach! Any kind will be fine for this. If using frozen, you can blanch the spinach in the same way the directions call for just extend the cooking time by 1 minute. No need to defrost it and this recipe is a great way to use that frozen spinach that's been in the corner of your freezer for a little too long.

vegan palak paneer spinach with tofu paneer recipe version, fresh, tasty, yogurt

I'm new to Palak Paneer, what does it taste like?

It definitely uses the same type of flavor profile an Indian curry uses, the spinach flavor is not too powerful compared to the spices. With the addition of the tofu and coconut yogurt, if you choose to use it, it starts to taste cheesy and a little tangy. The trick to adding in the coconut yogurt is to swirl it in, so when eating you get bites with a little more or less of the yogurt flavor, making each bite a little different than the last!

vegan palak paneer spinach with tofu paneer recipe version, fresh, tasty, yogurt

Hope you enjoy this recipe!

vegan palak paneer spinach with tofu paneer recipe version, fresh, tasty, yogurt

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