Enjoy restaurant-style Indian food at home with this Vegan Amaranth Saag Paneer. It features cubed tofu in place of the traditional cheese along with fragrant fresh amaranth leaves for an incredibly flavorful and healthy remake of a classic Indian dinner.
Dairy-Free Saag Paneer
Saag Paneer is a popular northern Indian dish typically made with paneer, which is a cheese made from curdled milk and an acid like lemon juice. It’s also an unaged soft cheese.
To veganize this classic, we replaced the cheese with tofu. Cubed tofu replicates the texture perfectly but it also adds protein and makes this comforting dinner much healthier. Yep, you can feel good about eating this meal!
Ingredient Spotlight: Amaranth
A combination of fresh spinach and mustard greens are typically used in classic saag paneer recipes. However, any greens can ultimately be used for this curry and we love using beautiful fresh amaranth leaves.
Amaranth leaves have a similar taste to spinach but they are a little bit heartier. Additionally, this green is very nutritious and is a good source of vitamins and minerals and supports overall good health.
How to Make Vegan Amaranth Saag Paneer
The key to this vegan version is swapping out the cheese for cubed tofu. However, we highly recommend pressing your tofu first before browning it in a pan with a little oil. This helps to remove the water and gives it a texture that is truly reminiscent of squeaky cheese. Lastly, the tofu (aka vegan “cheese”) is coated in garam masala to provide an amazing boost of flavor.
The real trick to making authentic Indian food at home is to toast the dry spices and we have to be honest, we learned this essential tip from the owner of the liquor store below our apartment. (True story!) Whenever we share our meals with him, he also gives us invaluable feedback and tips like this nugget. Trust us, there really is a difference!
Next, the onion is added and browned along with grated ginger, garlic, crushed tomatoes and turmeric and everything is then brought to a simmer. Then, add the fresh amaranth leaves and cover the skillet to allow them to wilt.
Finally, add the coconut milk and stir to combine. And BOOM– You then have phenomenal vegan saag paneer at home that features nutrient packed amaranth leaves!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- Tofu – Packed with protein, tofu is the perfect replacement for cheese in this amazing dish.
- Dry Spices – Spices are one of the main elements of this dish. From coating the tofu to flavoring the amaranth. Garam masala, cumin and more will make your taste buds very happy.
- Grated Ginger and Garlic – As if this recipe needed more flavor! 😄 Grated ginger and garlic bring earthiness and an intense aroma that hits you before you even take a bite.
- Crushed Tomato – Acidic tomatoes help to mellow the spices and their liquid wilts the amaranth into almost a purée.
- Amaranth Leaves – Similar to spinach and super nutritious amaranth is the green you didn’t know you needed in your life.
- Coconut Milk – Creamy coconut milk brings all of these great flavors together and adds an element of richness to this meal.
FAQ & Vegan Amaranth Saag Paneer Tips:
What is the difference between Palak Paneer and Saag Paneer?
- Typically saag refers to a combination of spinach and mustard greens, in northern India. Palak is the Hindi word for spinach. Therefore, the only difference is that saag paneer can be made with any leafy greens (Hello Amaranth!) but Palak Paneer refers to a curry made with spinach leaves only.
What do Amaranth leaves taste like?
- Fresh amaranth leaves have a taste that is very similar to spinach. They can be eaten raw or cooked. However, don’t confuse the leaves with the seeds of the amaranth plant. The seeds are also delicious with a nutty flavor and can be used instead of rice, quinoa, or any other grain.
Experiment with different kinds of Garam Masala
- Every family in India has a slightly different version of garam masala. If you are buying this spice mix, we recommend trying different varieties to see which one you ultimately like the best or you can always try making your own from scratch. Here is a Garam Masala Recipe from IndianHealthyRecipes.com to try.
Really Brown your Tofu
- We love this recipe when the tofu is extra brown. This ensures that the tofu is firm on the outside but is still soft and tender on the inside. In other words, YUM!
- Serve over a bed of basmati rice or another grain of your choice (think quinoa, millet, teff, or even amaranth. Yep, amaranth on amaranth is a real possibility! 🤣).
- Add a sprinkle of fresh chopped cilantro for a bright flavor addition.
- To go big, serve it alongside warm garlic naan. And yes, now you can find pre-made vegan naan or you can always make your own like Vaishali from Holy Cow Vegan. Try her recipe for Garlic Vegan Naan if you’re feeling adventurous!
Finally, if you have made this amaranth saag paneer recipe, we would love to hear what you think! Please comment down below and be sure to rate the recipe. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Thanks so much!
Additionally, you can also take a photo and tag us on instagram. We would love to get your feedback! Happy cooking!
Enjoy restaurant-style Indian food at home with this healthy Vegan Amaranth Saag Paneer, featuring cubed tofu and fresh amaranth leaves.
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 16 oz. Firm Tofu (1/2 inch cubes)
- 1 Tbsp Garam Masala
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Garam Marsala
- 1 Tbsp Ground Coriander
- 1 tsp Red Pepper Flake
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 Medium Onion (Diced Small)
- 3 Garlic Cloves (Peeled and Grated)
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger (Peeled and Grated)
- 14 oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
- 2 tsp Ground Turmeric
- 5 Cups Amaranth Leaves (Chopped Fine)
- 13 oz. Can Coconut Milk
- In a large high-sided frying pan over medium heat, add 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Add the cubed tofu and allow to cook, stirring occasionally until browned on all sides. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of garam masala over the tofu and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes stirring frequently. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Wipe out the frying pan and return it to medium heat. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil as well as garam masala, coriander, red pepper flakes (optional) and cumin. Cook, stirring constantly until the spices are fragrant approx. 1 minute.
- Next, add the diced onion to the spices and cook, stirring frequently until the onion has started to brown. Approx. 3 minutes. Now add the garlic, ginger, tomatoes and turmeric to the pan. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
- Once the pan is simmering, set the heat to low and add the chopped amaranth. Cover the pan and allow the amaranth to wilt. Approx. 2 minutes. Uncover and add the coconut milk. Bring the heat back to medium and allow the pan to come to a simmer. Then add the tofu back to the pan.
- Cook to saag for an additional 5 minutes to thoroughly heat the tofu.
- Serve immediately along with rice or your favorite grain. Enjoy!
- Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- The equipment listed above contains affiliate links to products that we personally use, love, and recommend!
Keywords: Vegan Amaranth Saag Paneer, Amaranth Leaf Recipe, Vegan Tofu Paneer Recipe
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