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Palak tofu in a white bowl with naan on a pink background.

Palak Tofu (Vegan Palak Paneer)

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  • Author: Alexandra Shytsman
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Vegan


Palak tofu is a vegan take on Northern Indian palak paneer. This version is adapted from We Ate Well and Serious Eats.



For the Tofu

  • One 14-ounce block super firm tofu* (see note below)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • 2 teaspoons avocado oil or another neutral-tasting oil
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or another neutral-tasting oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds*
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes*
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Half 13-ounce can full-fat coconut milk (just shy of 1 cup)
  • One 10-ounce package frozen spinach (or 2 bunches of mature spinach, about 12 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon white miso


  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. If using “super firm” tofu, skip this step. If using extra firm, press it in a tofu press or: place it on a plate, then top with another plate or cutting board, and weigh it down with something heavy, like a couple of cans, to squeeze out as much water as possible. Let stand for about 15 minutes, periodically draining off the excess water.
  3. In a medium bowl, make the tofu marinade by whisking together 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon miso, 2 teaspoons oil, and pinches of salt and pepper.
  4. Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and add to the marinade. Gently toss to coat and let stand for 15 minutes, tossing once or twice more while marinating.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the tofu in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes.
  6. While the tofu does its thing, start the sauce. Heat a large high-sided pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, and cook until the seeds are dark brown and fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
  7. Add 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon minced ginger, 1 teaspoon garam masala, and 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes, and cook just for 30 seconds to avoid burning the spices.
  8. Add 1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 can coconut milk, and the frozen spinach. Cover and bring to a boil. (If using fresh spinach, wait to wilt it in until after the liquid is boiling.)
  9. When the spinach is totally soft, turn the heat off. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon miso. Using an immersion blender*, purée until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  10. Stir baked tofu into the sauce. Serve with rice or naan.


  • Look for “super firm” tofu from Nasoya or at Trader Joe’s. If you can’t find it, extra firm tofu will work.
  • Cumin seeds can be subbed with ground cumin and added in step 7.
  • If you like things spicier, sub the chili flakes with fresh chili pepper.
  • If using a standard upright blender, purée in two batches. Remember to take out the removable center of the lid beforehand and cover the opening loosely with a kitchen towel while blending. If the steam gets trapped inside, the lid will blow off, potentially staining your kitchen and causing skin burns.


  • Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
  • Calories: 300
  • Fat: 21.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 10.1 g
  • Fiber: 5.2 g
  • Protein: 20.9 g
Tofu with tomatoes.

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