Healthy Palak Tofu

Healthy Palak Tofu

Lower in calories and saturated fat, this healthier palak tofu still packs plenty of spice and flavor!

Whenever Bry and I go out for Indian food, our go-to is always the saag paneer. Generally speaking, saag paneer is an Indian vegetarian curry made from leafy greens, tomatoes, cream, and paneer (a type of soft cheese). While delicious and deceptively healthy thanks to the spinach, saag paneer is often loaded with saturated fat and high in calories. And when you only eat it maybe once a month that isn’t a big deal, after all it’s important to enjoy the foods you love.  However, in order to enjoy this dish more than just every once and awhile I decided I would take on the challenge of making a healthier (and easier) version for home.  

While I won’t pretend to be an expert in Indian cuisine (I’m far from it), I’ve been told that the two main differences between palak paneer and saag paneer is that the former is made only from spinach and contains very little cream, whereas the latter can be a combination of green leafy vegetables and contains a heavy amount of cream. Seeing as this recipe doesn’t include any cream, I figured it was more appropriate to call it “palak” rather than “saag.”

Browned tofu

Okay, so how is this recipe healthier? As mentioned above, I nixed the cream and substituted with unsweetened almond milk. However, the next time I make it, I will likely use coconut milk (the kind that comes in a carton near the almond milk, not the canned) as it would provide a richer flavor. I upped the spinach amount, used whole wheat flour to help thicken the curry, and reduced the amount of oil used. The most noticeable difference is using tofu rather than paneer. Tofu is much lower in fat and is easier to find for a standard weeknight dinner. However, if you want to add a bit of indulgence back into the recipe, using paneer instead of tofu would be fine.

Bowl of healthy palak tofu over rice

I know I haven’t been posting nutrition facts lately, but I couldn’t help myself with this one! For ¼ of the recipe (including the rice): 360 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 46 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, and 18 grams protein. 

As with any dish you cook, be sure to be tasting as you go to adjust how salty and spicy you want it.

So here’s a toast to a spinach-filled meal!

Healthy palak tofu with pan and side of rice

Healthy Palak Tofu

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: Healthy Palak Tofu, Tofu Saag
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 package extra-firm tofu drained and pressed
  • 3 teaspoons avocado oil separated
  • 1 10-ounce bag frozen spinach, or 5 cups of fresh baby spinach
  • 2 plum tomatoes finely diced, plus extra to garnish (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces lite coconut milk

Instructions

  • Place 2 teaspoons of avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes and add to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove tofu from pan and set aside. Take pan off of the heat for now, but don't wash it as you'll use it again soon.
  • In a food processor or blender, combine tomatoes and ginger. Pulse until they form a smooth puree. If you don't have a food processor, you can just mash the tomatoes and ginger with a fork. Set aside.
  • Return pan to the stove over medium heat. Add tomato mixture, ginger, cumin, and turmeric. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the tomato mixture has reduced by half.
  • Add spinach and salt. Cook for 10 minutes, or until spinach is heated through. Pour in the coconut milk and cook another 5 minutes, or until everything is hot and well-combined.
  • Fold in tofu and let simmer for 3-5 minutes. Serve with brown rice or whole wheat flat bread.

Recipe adapted from Picky Eater Blog

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4 Comments

  • Lauren Grant | Zestful Kitchen AvatarLauren Grant | Zestful Kitchen3 years ago

    This looks so creamy and amazing! Yum, can’t wait to try!

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast3 years ago

      Thanks Lauren! Let me know what you think when you try it!

  • Kathryn Pfeffer AvatarKathryn Pfeffer3 years ago

    This looks like something from a gourmet restaurant!! Definitely trying this for my vegetarian husband 🙂

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast3 years ago

      Thanks Kathryn! I hope he likes it 🙂

  • About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

    About Kelli McGrane Headshot

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