Vegan Palak Paneer

Garlic, ginger, cumin and coriander – the warm flavors of India come together for this hearty winter stew. Marinated pumpkin tofu brings hearty texture as it cooks in a delicious green sauce.

Four servings

8 hrs

35 mins

8 hours, 35 mins


  • One (14-ounce) block extra firm pumpkin tofu, drained and cubed
  • Two tbsps lemon juice
  • Three tbsps water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Three tbsps nutritional yeast
  • 10 ounces spinach leaves
  • One tbsp olive oil
  • One poblano or serrano chile, seeded and minced
  • One white or yellow onion, diced
  • One tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • Three cloves garlic, minced
  • One  (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • One tsp garam masala
  • One tsp ground cumin
  • Two tsps ground coriander
  • One tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (such as almond or cashew)
  • Salt and red pepper flakes to taste
  • Cilantro and green onions for garnish (optional)


  1. Place the pumpkin tofu cubes in a flat, airtight container.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, water, salt and nutritional yeast.
  3. Pour over the pumpkin tofu, cover the container and refrigerate 6 hours – 2 days.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Drain the marinated pumpkin tofu, spread into a single layer on the baking sheet
    and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
  6. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil and fill a large bowl with ice water.
  7. Blanch the spinach leaves in the boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, or until tender.
    Quickly transfer them to the cold water to stop cooking and preserve the lovely green color.
  8. When the spinach has cooled, drain and squeeze-dry, then transfer to a food processor and process into a thick paste. Set aside.
  9. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high.
  10. Add the peppers and onions and sauté until the onions are tender and starting to brown, about 8-10 minutes.
  11. Add the ginger and garlic and continue to cook until the garlic is aromatic about two minutes.
  12. Stir in the diced tomatoes, spices, pepper flakes, lime juice, pureed spinach and non-dairy milk.
    Cook until the mixture is flavorful and thickens, about 5-10 minutes.
  13. Add the tofu paneer and season with salt and red pepper flakes to taste.
  14. Garnish with fresh cilantro or onions, if desired.Enjoy!

Chef Notes


Substitute one (15-ounce) can of chickpeas or one head of cauliflower (cut into bite-sized florets) for the tofu.
Marinate overnight, as directed, then roast at 400°F for 20-30 minutes, until golden on the edges and fork-tender in the center.


Omit the salt in the marinade.


Make this dish oil-free by substituting vegetable broth or water for olive oil.

Coconut Milk

For authentic flavor, substitute coconut milk for the non-dairy milk.

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