Indian cuisine is delicious, flavourful, nourishing and has great options for vegan and gluten free dietary requirements. But let’s face it, with its ample use of oil, cream and cashews, it is generally not the healthiest food going around. If you fancy spicy Indian flavours without sacrificing your waistline, I am here to your rescue with this super-quick, ultra-easy, mega-delicious and, yup, healthy vegan palak paneer (aka tofu and kale curry).
I know that palak means spinach and not kale, and that paneer is the name of an Indian cow’s milk cheese, neither of which feature in this dish. Consider my version as a hipster take on palak paneer: lots of protein and only very little fat from silken tofu in combination with superfood kale. Though it is a perfectly good option to use spinach or other leafy greens here, kale is what I had on hand, so kale it was. You could use firm tofu instead of silken tofu here, but I find the silken tofu makes this dish a bit more creamy.
This healthy vegan palak paneer is really easy to put together with just a handful of basic ingredients. Hello easy weeknight meal. Probably the only obscure ingredient I used was powdered peanut butter aka pb2 which might be hard to get so you can use ground cashews instead which would be more authentic but also packs more fat. I used a very light coconut milk for drinking from Vitasoy with only 2% fat which is almost nothing but still conveys this dreamy coconut flavour. You could use a fuller fat coconut milk or other plant milk instead.
Healthy Vegan Palak Paneer
1 block (300g) silken tofu, pressed to remove moisture and cubed
half a tsp or more of sea salt
4 tsp powdered garlic
1 tsp ground ginger
1-2 tsp mild or hot curry powder or garam masala
pinch of kashmiri chilli if you like it hot
250g fresh or frozen kale, thawed
half a cup very light coconut milk or plant milk
2 tbsp powdered peanut butter or ground cashews
a tbsp desiccated coconut
Heat the tofu in a large frying pan with salt, garlic, ginger, curry powder and chilli. You can use a bit of oil or, as I prefer, a bit of water to prevent sticking. Cook for a minute, add the milk, then add the kale and mix with the tofu without breaking up the tofu too much (it should still have the shape of cubes). Adjust the spices according to your tastebuds and cook a few more minutes until your desired consistency is achieved. Add the powdered peanut butter or ground cashews and coconut. Serve with saffron rice or with my 5-minute gluten free naan.