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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Vegan Matar Paneer (with Tofu Paneer!)

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This healthy version of matar paneer (made with tofu paneer!) is so rich and comforting it pretty much melts in your mouth when you take a bite of it. Made with only five ingredients, you can enjoy gourmet, restaurant-quality Indian food at home in just 20 minutes! 

tofu paneer, mattar paneer in a white dish with peas and curry sauce

Traditional matar paneer is absolutely delicious, buttery and satisfying. But it’s also not very healthy for you, and it’s not vegan friendly. That’s why I knew I wanted to make my own version of matar tofu paneer that would be both healthy and delicious. It still has all the traditional Indian classic flavors, but it’s not as high-calorie as regular matar paneer. 

The sauce for this vegan matar paneer is creamy, rich, and full of spices, and the tofu paneer just melts in your mouth when you take a bite. I love this lightened up version so we could indulge more often!

Tools and Equipment You’ll Need

Recipe Ingredients and Notes

ingredients for mattar tofu

What do you need to make tofu paneer? Only 5 simple ingredients!

  • Garlic: Minced
  • Onion: Diced
  • Peas: Use frozen peas to save on time and prep.
  • Extra Firm Tofu: Cut into cubes and pressed to get the extra water out. You can use up to 1 16oz block of tofu if you want a chunky curry, or 1/2 the block for a smoother curry.
  • Maya Kaimal Curry Sauce: The secret ingredient to getting tons of flavor without spending a lot of time in the kitchen. About 1 bottle will do the trick!

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1: Press Tofu using either a tofu press or a heavy pan for at least 15 minutes, to remove as much water as possible.

tofu being pressed with a pan

Step 2: Cut the tofu into cubes. Pan fry the tofu cubes in a large pan, heated over medium low heat, with 2 tsp olive oil.

sauteed tofu in a pan

Step 3: Saute the garlic and onions with 1 tsp olive oil over medium high heat, until the onions have cooked down and are translucent.

sauteed onions in a pan

Step 4: Add the tofu, the curry sauce and the peas, stir to combine. Let it all simmer together for about 10-15 minutes, until the Matar Tofu is cooked through and ready to eat. Season with salt as needed before serving.

tofu paneer, mattar paneer in a white dish with peas and curry sauce

Can you believe how easy that is?

Usually I’m not a fan of jarred sauces, but this one is incredibly authentic and doesn’t have any weird preservatives added to it. It has the perfect balance of flavors – with black pepper and coriander paired with aromatic coconut milk and curry leaves.

Oh, and did I mention: it’s vegan and gluten-free. This tofu paneer recipe turned out amazingly well. You won’t even be able to tell that I used tofu instead of paneer cheese. For anyone who has contemplated making Indian food at home in the past, you have to try this easy vegan matar paneer recipe!

What Makes This Tofu Paneer Recipe Healthy?

  • Protein: Besides the fact that tofu paneer tastes absolutely amazing you’ll be happy to know that it’s also filled with protein. Each serving will give you 14 grams of plant based protein.  
  • Low Calorie: Tofu is a much lower calorie alternative to paneer (which is higher in fat and calories, as it’s a whole milk cheese). Each serving of this recipe has only about 230 calories!
  • Nutrients: In addition to being low calorie and having a great serving of protein, you will also get some valuable nutrients in this dish. Iron, calcium, manganese, fiber, copper, and zinc are all found in this recipe. 

Will Kids Enjoy This Matar Paneer Recipe?

While this is a more “adventurous” recipe for kids, most kids will end up enjoying this recipe (once they try it) because of the rich flavors and mild spices.

If you do have a child that isn’t interested in eating it, that is completely okay. Try giving them a small helping to start off with and maybe pair it with a piece of naan or their favorite bread. With some encouragement they’ll get used to the flavors and be more likely to try a little bit here and there. 

tofu paneer, mattar paneer in a white dish with peas and curry sauce

Recipe FAQs

What Is Paneer?

Paneer is a cheese that is commonly found in Indian foods. It’s a fresh cheese, and you can eat it right away after it has been made. One unique thing about paneer cheese is that it does not melt as other cheeses do. 
Using tofu is a great option for a plant-based paneer alternative, because it looks and has a texture very similar to paneer, only it’s lower in calories/fat and vegan-friendly.

How Do You Store Leftover Matar Paneer?

To Store: Let it cool down all the way, then place it inside of an airtight food storage container. It will keep in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
To Reheat: Place the tofu paneer in a microwave safe dish and warm it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes until it’s ready to serve.
Note: I don’t recommend freezing this dish, as tofu doesn’t tend to freeze well (it changes its texture once it’s frozen and then defrosted).

What Do You Serve With Tofu Paneer? 

There are several ways you can enjoy this recipe:
On Its Own: You can eat it by itself and it’s super filling and delicious that way.
With Bread: Whole wheat naan, whole wheat tortillas, whole wheat pita all taste great with this dish.
With Salad: For more veggies, serve a salad made with greens, cucumbers, tomatoes and onions on the side. You can also steam or saute your favorite veggies to serve as a side dish.
With Rice: Brown rice, quinoa, a mix of brown & white basmati rice, or even other grains like barley, farro, etc. pair well with this recipe.
With Garnishes: Chopped cilantro, a fresh squeeze of lime or lemon juice, or even some crushed cashews would taste great on top.

Top Tips For Making Tofu Paneer

  • Try to cut the tofu in evenly diced pieces, so it cooks evenly. 
  • Pressing the tofu and then pan frying it so it’s brown and crispy on the outside is critical to making tofu paneer that actually tastes like paneer!
  • Feel free to add in as much tofu as you like. I usually stick with adding about half a block, but you can always add more or less depending on how many people you’re feeding. My version of this recipe serves four people. 
  • Be sure to allow the ingredients to simmer together, so that way the spices and everything gets a chance to marry and create a beautiful and vibrant dish. 
  • If you want to make this recipe soy-free, you can substitute chickpeas, veggies, or seitan for the tofu.
  • For more indulgence, add 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk to this recipe.
tofu paneer, mattar paneer in a white dish with peas and curry sauce

Check Out These Incredible Indian Recipes!

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tofu paneer, mattar paneer in a white dish with peas and curry sauce
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Matar Paneer (made with Tofu Paneer!)

This healthy version of matar paneer (made with tofu paneer!) is so rich and creamy it pretty much melts in your mouth when you take a bite of it. Made with only five ingredients, you can enjoy gourmet, restaurant-quality Indian food at home in just 20 minutes! 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Vegan
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 229.1kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 3 tsp olive oil divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • 1 16oz block extra firm tofu pressed, and cut into cubes. Use as much of the block as you like (for a creamier curry, use 1/2 the block)
  • 1 bottle of Maya Kaimal Madras Curry Sauce
  • 1 dash salt more to taste if needed

Instructions

  • Press Tofu using either a tofu press or a heavy pan for at least 15 minutes, to remove as much water as possible.
  • Cut the tofu into cubes. Pan fry the tofu cubes in a large pan, heated over medium low heat, with 2 tsp olive oil.
  • Saute the garlic and onions with 1 tsp olive oil over medium high heat, until the onions have cooked down and are translucent.
  • Add the tofu, the curry sauce and the peas, stir to combine. Let it all simmer together for about 10-15 minutes, until the Matar Tofu is cooked through and ready to eat. Season with salt as needed before serving.

Video

Notes

Top Tips For Making Tofu Paneer
  • Try to cut the tofu in evenly diced pieces, so it cooks evenly. 
  • Pressing the tofu and then pan frying it so it’s brown and crispy on the outside is critical to making tofu paneer that actually tastes like paneer!
  • Feel free to add in as much tofu as you like. I usually stick with adding about half a block, but you can always add more or less depending on how many people you’re feeding. My version of this recipe serves four people. 
  • Be sure to allow the ingredients to simmer together, so that way the spices and everything gets a chance to marry and create a beautiful and vibrant dish. 
  • If you want to make this recipe soy-free, you can substitute chickpeas, veggies, or seitan for the tofu.
  • For more indulgence, add 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk to this recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 229.1kcal | Carbohydrates: 10.9g | Protein: 14.1g | Fat: 14.9g | Saturated Fat: 3.4g | Sodium: 411.2mg | Potassium: 17.7mg | Fiber: 2.6g | Sugar: 2.9g

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34 responses to “Vegan Matar Paneer (with Tofu Paneer!)”

  1. I just wanted to let you know that I made this tonight and it was a hit! My 5 year old loved it and asked for seconds. The best part was how quick I whipped this up. I did add more peas, but other than that, I followed your recipe to a tee so thank you for posting this!

  2. Hi Anjali,

    I just stumbled upon your website a few weeks ago and love it! I’m wondering where you bought the Maya Kaimal Madras Curry? Was it at Trader Joe’s? I love that this jarred Indian sauce has less sodium than other brands that I have seen. Thanks so much!

    • Hi Paaru! Thanks so much – it’s so nice to meet you! I bought the curry sauce at Whole Foods, but you can also order it online 🙂 Hope that helps!

  3. Hi Anjali! I love your blog and have made many recipes with great sucess!! i want to make this recipe but do not have many choices of grocery stores and no Trader Joes. Do you have a suggestion about what I can use instead of the jarred sauce? Thanks so much!!

    • Hi Jess!! Aww thanks so much! I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying my recipes. Hmm so regarding the sauce — you could try making your own using crushed tomatoes and Indian spices but I don’t have an exact recipe for that yet. Another alternative would be to order the sauce I used online — I think Amazon and other specialty food retailers will sell it online. You can also just look in your local grocery store for an Indian curry simmer sauce, or a curry sauce – and that might work! It might be a little bit of trial and error until you can figure out what works. I hope this is helpful! Let me know if you have any other questions!

    • Thanks so much Sunnie! It’s so nice to meet you 🙂 If you like tofu in coconut curry, I’m sure you will love this recipe!

  4. Hubby and I love Mattar Paneer I am sure that with our healthier lifestyle this will become a new favorite. Cant wait to make it. Looks amazing and so simple. I am excited 🙂

    • Yay!! Your husband sounds a lot like mine – he can’t get enough of Mattar Paneer 🙂 Hope you both loved this recipe!

  5. Inspired by all of your other recipes, I made this last week using Trader Joe’s Curry Simmer Sauce and it was delicious! Please keep the awesome recipes coming 🙂

  6. Made this tonight, but accidentally bought Trader Joe’s “Thai Red Curry Sauce.” It was still amazing. Scooped it up with some Reya brand Naan from Costco, and the anti-veggie boyfriend loved it. Thanks for posting!

    • Oh awesome!! I’m so glad it turned out well – I’ve used Trader Joe’s Thai Red Curry Sauce before in a Thai stir fry, and it was delicious 🙂 Good to know that it works in this dish too!

    • Oh great! Yes this is the perfect recipe for anyone who needs to avoid dairy 🙂 I’m sure tofu will taste wonderful in Shahi Paneer too!

  7. This looks so delicious! And easy to make! The best part is not just that it’s healthier and simpler to prepare, but that its quicker for us to enjoy! Comfort food for the fall season! 🙂

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