Do you love Indian food? Like, love it in a deep, meaningful, toe-curling way? Me too. So this recipe is for us! This is my take on palak paneer, darling of Indian buffets and restaurants, made with tofu paneer and a super healthy, cost effective _and_ seasonally appropriate pumpkin curry sauce! But after you get a taste of how awesome pumpkin is in Indian dishes I bet my bottom rupee you’ll be making this year round. I don’t actually have any rupees, but if I did I’d bet my last one.
Spicing Indian food can get pretty involved (and I watch Indian chefs on Youtube so I know), but I keep it basic. I appreciate the big taste concepts but I’m fine with not grinding up my own masalas and curry powders, and I’m never upset that I don’t have hing on hand. I’ll happily spend $5-$6 a bottle for the depth of flavor in McCormick’s Gourmet Collection Red Curry Powder, Garam Masala and Smoked Paprika, but when it comes to red pepper flakes, chili powder and cumin I buy the cheap stuff. If I’m seriously missing out let me know. Am I? I thought paprika was paprika until I tried expensive smoked paprika; I was instantly converted even though it costs more than two pounds of dried garbanzos and a bag of apples.
This is the “paneer.” It’s not really paneer, though. It’s tofu! I squeezed it to get the extra moisture out and pan-seared it in some of the aforementioned spices. Tofu has a lot of great nutrition you won’t find in dairy paneer, plus no fat, no cholesterol and it’s vegan. I’m all about dishes everyone can share with no worries. If you’ve never squeezed/pressed tofu, it’s basically you wrap it in cloth and sit heavy stuff on it for a while. I made a how-to showing the process if you want to see what I’m talking about.
I know a lot food blogs have already covered the tofu paneer concept, and awesomely. I was inspired to create a recipe around it by two in particular, Vegan Richa’s Palak Tofu ‘Paneer’ and Connoisseurus Veg’s Vegan Tofu Saag Paneer. They’re both amazing blogs full of gorgeous pics and creative vegan recipes, and I know you’ll love them if you don’t already.
Indian food blows my mind and gets me all excited, and you can tell by the way this post is going. I’m all over the place! But remember way back at the beginning when I was talking about pumpkin and how good it is in Indian sauces? True! Pumpkin and Indian flavors blend brilliantly, and pumpkin has the magical ability to make a thick, creamy, gorgeous sauce. It’s also fat free and adds fiber and vitamins for a great price.
Eat Healthy Eat Happy
1 hr, 15 Prep Time
20 minCook Time
1 hr, 35 Total Time
- 1 1/2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp red curry powder
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 onion, sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cube ginger, minced
- 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
- 1 can salt free tomato paste
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 c unsweetened almond milk
- pinch cinnamon
- Tofu Paneer:
- 14 oz. extra firm tofu, squeezed
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 tsp red curry powder
- 4 c fresh spinach, packed
- In a large saute pan, combine the first group of ingredients over medium low heat. Saute for about 5 minutes. The spices should be browning and the onions translucent.
- Add the garlic and ginger and saute for another 5 minutes.Lower the heat if the garlic is browning too fast.
- Stir in the next group of ingredients and simmer for about 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cut the squeezed tofu into cubes and saute in a nonstick pan over medium high heat with the oil and spices.
- Stir the tofu and spinach into the pumpkin sauce and heat through for a few minutes before serving.
This recipe is vegan and gluten free-friendly.
Prep time includes pressing/squeezing tofu .
Per serving, about 548g: 233 calories (129 calories from fat); 14.3g fat (22%)(0g trans); 0mg cholesterol (0%); 283mg sodium (12%); 17.8g carbohydrates (6%); 5.6g fiber (22%); 11.8g protein; Vitamin A 309%; Calcium 50%; Vitamin C 30%; Iron 20%; Potassium 13%