Reimagining a classic, this dish transforms the traditional warm spinach salad into a delightful vegetarian meal. Drawing on the iconic Indian combination of paneer and spinach, I’ve crafted a vegetarian-friendly dressing that seamlessly blends the essence and warmth of palak paneer into every bite.
About this Recipe
This dish is a creative spin on the warm spinach salad. Instead of bacon, we use paneer, the beloved Indian cheese, pan-fried to golden perfection. The dressing is carefully crafted to echo palak paneer’s warm, comforting flavors.
This Spinach and Paneer Salad stands out with its unique blend of Indian spices and the heartiness of paneer. It’s more than just a salad; it’s a full, satisfying meal with a fusion of flavors you won’t find in other recipes.
While experimenting to make this salad, I quickly recognized the importance of balancing spices and ingredients. My initial attempt using yogurt in the dressing didn’t work out, leading me to the surprisingly fitting mustard, a staple in salad dressings.
- Paneer: Indian cheese that’s soft yet chewy, fried in ghee for a caramelized exterior. Us store-bought, or homemade if you are feeling adventurous.
- Spinach: Fresh baby spinach forms a nutritious base.
- Ghee: Used for frying paneer and as a vegetarian alternative to bacon fat in the dressing. I usually make my ghee from butter.
- Spices: A selection of spices that bring the warmth and flavor of palak paneer.
- Be cautious when cooking garlic; it should be soft but not browned, as caramelization alters its flavor. Keep a close eye on it to achieve the perfect texture.
- I like the yellow mustard in this recipe, but Dijon mustard is also a good choice and add a little tanginess.
- If you do not want to use ghee, use a neutral, high-smoke point oil, such as avocado oil.
This salad is best enjoyed warm. If you choose to serve it cold, replace the ghee with oil. Ghee solidifies at room temperature, creating an unpleasant texture if served cold.
This salad is a complete meal in itself. However, it can also be served as a side with dishes like tandoori chicken. Complement this salad with other Indian-inspired dishes from our blog, such as quinoa salad or carrot sambharo.
Warm Spinach and Paneer Salad
- 8 oz paneer
- 9 oz baby spinach
- 1 red onion thinly sliced
- 8 cherry tomatoes halved
- 10 cashews split
- 1 Tbsp ghee
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ⅛ tsp garam masala
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- 2 Tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp mustard
- A Pinch red chili powder
- Cut the paneer into 1-inch cubes. Heat a pan and add 1 tablespoon of ghee. Add the paneer cubes and pinch of salt. Sauté the paneer, turning each piece until it is golden brown on all sides. When done, transfer the paneer to a plate and set aside.
- In the same pan, add cashews to the pan and toast them over medium heat until they turn golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Assemble the salad. In a large bowl, toss together spinach, onions, tomatoes, paneer and cashews. Set aside to prepare the warm dressing.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in a pan. When the ghee is hot, add cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a few seconds until they release a toasted fragrance. Add sliced garlic.
- When the garlic turns golden, add garam masala, and red chili powder and transfer to a small bowl.
- Add lemon juice and mustard. Whisk to form a dressing.
- Pour over the salad.