Canada’s New Food Guide has stirred up a lot of great conversation around what Canadians should consider including in their menu planning for a healthy, balanced diet. Some of those items on the menu include plant-based proteins and more vegetarian entrées.
You may have noticed that restaurants and cafés are including more vegetarian and vegan options, as well. More and more people are choosing vegetarian dishes to cook at home or when dining out because they are often loaded with flavour and rich in protein. Trying an alternative protein and veggie dish can also open people up to trying a dish outside of their own culture or comfort zone. With this in mind, we wanted to share with you one of our favourite vegetarian dishes to cook and hope it inspires you to try something new with your next meal!
Paneer is a fresh cheese popular in a wide range of Indian cuisine. So popular, in fact, that you can order a McSpicy Paneer at McDonalds© or Paneer Burrito at Taco Bell© in India. Paneer is high in protein (1 serving in this recipe has over 18 grams of protein!) and you can add as much spinach as you can fit into this recipe – bonus! Our Saag Paneer recipe borrows elements we’ve appreciated from numerous other recipes, which also includes some elements of a masala paneer. We hope you enjoy!
- 400g package Paneer Cheese, cubed
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Salt
- ¼ Onion
- 4 cloves Garlic
- 1” Ginger
- 1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 Tbsp Chili Flakes TIP: Omit the chili flakes if you have a tame audience, you can always add on top to taste for those who enjoy spice.
- 1 cup Tomato Sauce TIP: We like to use a homemade tomato sauce that is blended with whatever veggies we have on hand to increase the nutrients and flavour of the dish.
- 2 Tbsp Garam Masala (We use PC black label spice mix, and usually add extra!)
- 142g package of Fresh Baby Spinach …or more!
- ½ cup Half & Half Cream TIP: Skim milk can work for this recipe as well, but the cream adds a luxurious richness.
- Toss paneer with chili powder, turmeric and salt and set aside for 15 minutes for flavours to meld.
- Puree onion, garlic and ginger together.
- Heat vegetable oil in pan over medium heat. Toss in the paneer and brown on all sides, for approximately ten minutes.
- Remove paneer from pan and set aside.
- The oil will now be yellow and smell great. Add onion/garlic/ginger paste and chili flakes to pan. Sweat down until soft and fragrant.
- Add tomato sauce. Let it come back up to a bubbly simmer. TIP: Look for the oil to gather around the edge of the pan, like little puddles.
- Add garam masala and incorporate into tomato sauce. This is the time to taste and add more garam or salt as needed.
- Gradually add the spinach into the sauce. Stirring and letting it cook down before adding more spinach.
- Once all your spinach is incorporated and wilted, slowly incorporate the cream, stirring constantly.
- Add the seared paneer cubes back into the pan. Add let it simmer for another 5 minutes.
We love to serve this dish with naan or rice, with a simple chopped veggie salad on the side!