Vegan Saag Paneer (Rapini & Spinach with Tofu)

Vegan Saag Paneer

My Mama’s Pakistani saag recipe made with rapini and spinach is the best! I have adapted it to make it a complete protein packed vegan meal, by adding tofu. Hence, my vegan saag paneer 🙂

The thing is, I have been exposed to many different type of saag dishes (disclaimer: I could live off my Mama’s Pakistani saag dish for a very long time). I especially love saag that is made with rapini and spinach. Unfortunately Pakistani saag is often drenched in ghee, or clarified butter. This isn’t necessarily bad as ghee can have many health benefits, one of them being easier on your digestive track than other types of dairy. Nevertheless, it’s still dairy so if you can’t have dairy then you can’t have ghee. Never to fear though, happygutters (well, that sounds kind of strange :S), saag has just become vegan with tofu and olive oil instead of ghee. I like to call this one the “Vegan Saag Paneer” 🙂 Enjoy!

Vegan Saag Paneer
Vegan Saag Paneer |
Vegan Saag Paneer
Serves 2
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  1. 1 block firm or extra firm tofu
  2. 2 bunches of rapini, chopped (frozen will do)
  3. 1 bunch of spinach, chopped (frozen will do)
  4. 1.5 tsp turmeric
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  7. 1-2 green chilli (cut in half if you like spice)
  8. 1.5 tsp minced ginger
  9. 1.5 tsp minced garlic
  10. 1.5 cups water
Tarka Ingredients
  1. 1.5 tsp minced ginger
  2. 1.5 tsp minced garlic
  3. 2 tbsp olive oil or vegan butter
  1. Drain tofu - I usually put it between two plates and put something heavy on it for about 20 minutes, then I drain the liquid.
  2. Place ALL saag ingredients into a saucepan, stir and bring to boil.
  3. Lower to low-medium and allow to cook for about 40 minutes (or about 25 minutes if you have a pressure cooker).
  4. Check and stir it every 5-10 minutes to make sure it doesn't burn or dry out (add more water if this is the case, but don't add too much - you don't want it to be watery). You can to cook it until it is really soft and until the water has evaporated.
  5. Remove from heat and, if you like, use your hand blender or food processor to blend it (this makes really smooth, like saag you would get at a restaurant).
  6. While the saag is cooking, make the tarka. Place your olive oil or vegan butter in a frying pan over medium heat and add the ginger and garlic just until they start to brown. Add the tarka to the saag when it is cooked and mix well.
  7. Cut tofu into thirds lengthwise and eighths crosswise.
  8. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  9. Add tofu.
  10. Cook tofu, stirring gently every 2 to 3 minutes, until browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes.
  11. Add the tofu with the saag
  12. Adjust spices to taste.
  1. Tarka refers to the final seasoning of an Indian/Pakistani Punjabi dish.
  2. This dish also freezes really well. If you do plan on freezing it, don't add the tofu to the saag. Rather, eat the tofu on the side as the tofu doesn't freeze as good.

Enjoy with rice or the following, if you like :

buckwheat flour chapati
chickpea flour wrap
paleo coconut flour naan


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