Vegan Saag Paneer

Updated: Jan 2





More than likely, if you've ever gone to an Indian restaurant, a version of this dish has been on the table: paneer, which is an Indian cheese (similar in texture to to Haloumi), and pureed spinach. The restaurant version tends to go heavy on ghee (clarified butter), and yeah, there are chunks of cheese, so it isn't a dish you'd want to have on a daily basis.

It's a ridiculously easy recipe to make healthy by veganizing it, and you can make all sorts of tweaks to address most dietary dietary concerns. I subbed out the paneer for tofu, but I'll put t in a can of garbanzo beans instead if I don't want to take the extra step. (Paneer tofu recipe here)

You can serve it with a grain like rice or millet, bread, lettuce wraps or cauliflower rice, use it as a pizza topping (soo good!) or eat it as is.


Ingredients:

- 3-4 cups packed fresh baby spinach or a package of frozen (but now that it's so easy--and cheap--to get those giant buckets of pre-washed fresh spinach, it's my preference).

- 4 cloves garlic (omit if it's not your thing)

- 1 inch knob of ginger

- 16 oz paneer tofu or 1 can garbanzo beans, or 16 oz cut veggies

- 1/4 C water

- 1/4 C almond milk (or more water)

- optional: 2 TB soaked cashews (put the cashews in water for 15 min) or 1/4 C coconut milk (both add a creaminess, but I make this recipe as frequently without either of these as I do with)

- 1/4 tsp salt

- 1-2 TB cooking oil or spray to coat the pan

- optional: 1/4 tsp garam masala

- optional: 1/4 tsp cayenne OR 1 serrano or thai pepper pepper


Directions:

If you are using adult spinach rather than baby, or if you have a particularly hard time with raw greens, I recommend blanching the spinach first.

Otherwise, you can add it to your blender raw in addition to the other ingredients, minus the paneer, beans or veggies and the garam masala. Blend at "sauce" setting

- heat 1-2 TB of cooking oil (i use avocado)

- if you are adding paneer, put that in the heated pan and cook to sear on medium- medium low heat (about 10 minutes); if you are using veggies instead, make sure they are soft enough to your liking; with the cooked beans you really can throw them in right before adding the spinach mixture

- pour in the spinach add the garam masala and heat through, allowing flavors to meld.




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