Saag Paneer Tofu is a a vegan spin on the famous North Indian Spinach and mixed greens aka Saag Paneer. Instead of paneer we are using tofu to make this Saag vegan . This Indian Vegan tofu curry is rich in lot of nutrients mainly calcium, iron and protein . Make it as a dump meal in your instant pot or the traditional way over the stove top . Both ways it is comforting and delicious. . Saag Tofu is vegan as well as gluten free Indian curry that takes less than 10 minute preparation time. If you love to make easy Indian vegetarian curries in your Instant Pot then do give this recipe a try!
Is there a big bag of salad mix sitting in your fridge ?? And you don’t want to eat salad in this cold weather than turn it into Saag . Do you dread eating Kale ? Do you think kale tastes like garbage raw and can’t get it to taste good? I promise this recipe won’t turn you down. I love using a mix of Kale, spinach , collard greens, mustard greens . Sometimes I use Arugula and Swiss Chard too. Basically any greens that you would love to or hate to eat raw just throw it in. The combination of greens with simple Indian spices makes this curry taste delicious!
Sarsoon da saag and makai di roti with a side of ( gud ) jaggery and dahi pretty much sums up healthy winter binging!!!
So what is Saag?
Saag is a mixed green leafy vegetable curry originating from India. Some just make saag using Spinach alone while some use combination of available leafy greens like mustard greens aka sarsoon , batua , spinach, methi leaves . Some households use collard greens , kale , arugula too . Basically cooking greens with indian spices , loads of ginger, garlic, onion and making it gravy like consistency. To add richness to the saag curry , it is cooked in ghee and finished off with generous dollop of butter. Some even add heavy cream or corn meal slurry to thicken the curry .
Saag is delicious on it’s own but you can add Paneer , Tofu or medley of cooked vegetables to make it more substantial .
Saag aka Mixed greens curry is a staple in North Indian homes especially during winters when Mustard greens and Spinach are available in abundance. In India greens are a seasonal affair. You do not get great quality spinach or other green leafy vegetables all year round like we it here in the United States. That is the reason people there consume a lot of green leafy vegetables throughout the winters.Being in the USA I make this saag curry all year round with different combinations of greens.
How to make Vegan version of Saag Paneer ?
Paneer is vegetarian but not vegan .It is made with milk and known as Indian cottage cheese. For making Saag Paneer vegan we simply swap the paneer with tofu and use oil and vegan butter or coconut milk in our curry . Tofu can easily be used instead of paneer and you won’t notice much of a difference. Trust me Vegan version of Saag Paneer i.e Saag Paneer Tofu is very delicious and easy to make.
How to make Saag Paneer Tofu the easiest way using an Instant Pot –
Today I will show you how easy it is to make this Saag curry in an Instant Pot.
Mince some onions, green chilies , ginger and garlic
You roughly chop the leafy greens of your choice. ( See notes for possible combinations )
Put everything to the Instant Pot . Add water . Close the lid and cook for 5 minutes . Then perform a quick release.
Puree the greens with immersion blender , add your choice of thickener ( see notes) and serve as is or with tofu or a blend of cooked veggies.
A generous squeeze of lemon juice is a must just before serving the curry.
The entire process of making this Indian vegetarian curry in an Instant Pot takes around 25 minutes start to end.
What to serve with Saag Paneer Tofu curry ?
Traditionally Saag is served with a side of makki di roti ( cornflour tortillas) , jaggery and chilled yogurt.
We like Saag with hot roti’s or parathas . Some steamed rice or pulav , raita and salad is a great option to a complete meal experience.
Instant Pot Saag Paneer Tofu recipe –
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Instant Pot Saag Paneer Tofu (Vegan Spinach mixed greens Indian curry )
- 500 grams / 1 lb extra firm Tofu
- 10 cups Spinach 13oz/ 350 grams Spinach
- 8 cups / 250 grams packed kale + collard greens + mustard green combination * or your choice . see notes
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil of choice * see notes
- 2 green chilies deseeded & chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic or garlic paste
- 2 teaspoon ginger grated
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 teaspoon kasoori methi , dried fenugreek leaves
For corn flour paste
- ⅓ rd cup water / plant based milk of choice *
- 1.5 tablespoon yellow corn flour / makki ka atta/ masa harina
- Switch on the Instant Pot on Sauté mode.
- Add in oil.
- Wait for 30 seconds to warm up and then add cumin seeds and onions.
- Sauté onions for 2 minutes or until translucent.
- Add in the ginger garlic green chilies and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add in garam masala and stir in for 10 seconds.
- Add in ½ cup water now.
- Now slowly add in the greens in batches.
- Press the greens down with the spoon so that it wilts and follow with more greens until everything fits into the pot. It shouldn’t take more than a minute.
- Press cancel to cancel Sautee mode.
- Close the IP with the lid, knob on SEALING position.
- Press MANUAL HIGH 5 minutes.
- Once the pin drops down open the IP.
- Now with the help of immersion blender blend the mixture until smooth.
- OR You may blend it in the pot blender after it cools down.
- Switch the Instant Pot on the Saute mode again.
- Whisk the yellow corn flour/ makki atta with water and add it to the pureed mixture.
- Stir for a minute until it thicken a bit .
- Add in kasoori methi.
- Give a taste test and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Stir in some pressed and cubed tofu. ( You may pan fry them before adding if desired).
- Mix well with the gravy.
- Switch on the IP on sauté mode again and cover it with a simple lid. ( as the saag tends to splatter )
- Let the gravy simmer for 1 minute covered and the switch off the Instant Pot.
- This is for tofu to absorb the flavors.
- Open the lid, give it a stir.
- Serve warm with roti or rice.
- Just before serving add in a splash of freshly squeezed lemon and dollop of butter. ( Important of great taste ).
Other nutritious recipes using greens -Instant Pot aloo palak ( Spinach potato curry ) PIP method. Vegan Quinoa pasta with arugula pesto. Instant Pot Loaded greens black eyed peas butternut squash chili Classic Indian Palak Paneer ( Lush Green version) Cheesecake Factory copycat vegan Mexican santa fe salad (the dressing is to die for!)
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Turned out yummy. I added 2 more green chilies as we love spicy saag.