Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Crock Pot Saag (Spinach) "Paneer" and HGK's Top Ten List?

Last night I gave a talk at my local Whole Foods. I titled it "Healthy Girl's Top Ten Tips for Plant-Strong Success." The audience was a group of adults who are participating in The 21 Day Weight Loss Kickstart based on the book of the same name by Dr. Neal Barnard.

I wanted to convey the message that it is important to keep up a healthy eating commitment long past the 21 days and also to give them lots of ammunition on how to stay Plant-Strong in America in the year 2011. "Thank you" to Ellen Darby of Whole Foods for allowing me to share my experience, strength and hope with people in this way. It really means a lot to me.

I know that staying plant strong can be very tough for many people. Beginning tomorrow, I am going to post my top ten tips, one at a time, for ten days. Sometimes with a recipe, sometimes not. I sincerely hope that each of you reading this blog will add your two cents in the comment section to every idea and concept that I propose. Together we can really help each other stay Plant Strong!

But before I begin, another recipe! I'd worked on perfecting a recipe for Indian Saag Paneer for over a year, first lightening it up to fit within the Weight Watchers plan, and then morphing it into a vegan Saag "Paneer" using baked tofu. A traditional Saag Paneer includes cubes of Indian cheese and heavy cream--not Healthy Girl friendly at all. Because it is my number one favorite Indian dish, I've now adapted it into a crock pot recipe so that I can eat it even while I have my makeshift kitchen.

Crock Pot Saag "Paneer" (Tofu)
serves 8

6 medium or 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 Tbsp minced (or grated) ginger
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce (I used Trader Joe's low fat Marinara Sauce in the green can)
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 can low fat coconut milk
2 16 oz. bags frozen spinach (or 3 10 oz. boxes), thawed
1 bag fresh baby spinach
2 packages marinated tofu-cut into 1" cubes

Place all ingredients except for fresh spinach and tofu into a crock pot. Let cook for either 4 or 6 hours, depending on when you want to eat.
Before serving, add fresh spinach and stir. When fresh spinach is wilted, puree entire mixture with a handheld immersion blender. Fold in tofu cubes and let warm in crock pot. Serve over brown rice or with naan.
Keeps well in the refrigerator for leftovers.

And speaking of my makeshift kitchen, here's a little peak on where we are at right now with Healthy Girl's Dream kitchen. Lights, walls and a ceiling! Next week . . . cabinets!!!!


JL goes Vegan said...

Love this recipe (bookmarked)! How great that you gave a talk, Wendy. I'll be they found you very inspirational.

Hey, new "after" pic! You look hot!

Susan said...

hi Wendy. Please provide more details for 'marinated tofu' - do you have a favorite brand/flavor? What about marinating the tofu myself? What spices/herbs/flavors do you recommend? Thanks!

Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen) said...

I have only experimented with the varieties that Trader Joe's sells and have found all of their flavors to be great. The texture is also perfect for this particular application. You wouldn't really even know that it wasn't the traditional Indian Paneer cheese because the textures are so similar! As far as marinating and baking extra firm tofu yourself, see my instructions here:
Both low sodium soy sauce and Bragg Liquid Aminos work very well as a simple way to add flavor to a baked tofu. I have not tried other seasonsings yet. Hope this helps!

The Collage Experience said...

Fantastic inspirational talk last night at Whole Foods!!! Ya wowed the crowd!!! Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Recipe looks great! Wendy~~I notice you post your cholesterol drop, but how much weight did you lose after going plant strong?

Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen) said...

40 pounds!

Kelly@RahRaw said...

That sounds good! Indian food is kind of new to me, so I'm excited to try new things! Could you use a VitaMix to blend instead? (I don't have a handheld immersion blender)

PlateFullofPlants said...

Wendy you're in my head! I was just thinking that I needed to get a healthy indian recipe soon. I've had a serious taste for some good indian food. When I was a meat eater I used to love Chicken Saag. I'll be trying this recipe soon. Thx!

Jane Esselstyn RN said...

SOOO thrilled to have a recipe for my favorite Indian dish! I haven't had it forever b/c it is so creamy and cheese -filled. Thank you!
My question is what to use if one does not have a crock pot?

Alipet813 said...

Can't wait to see your posts over the next 10 days or so. As a beginner trying to be plant strong I am excited to see what you and your followers say.

Not sure if I like Saag Paneer, but it looks good.

I also love your new pics. You look fabulous!

Julie Ann said...

Looks delicious! The coconut milk, especially, sounds like a great idea. Can't wait to hear your top ten tips!

Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen) said...

Jane-here is my original Saag Tofu recipe that did not employ a crock pot:

Thanks for the encouragement guys!

Brenna said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! There are no words to describe how good this saag is. Actually, there are a few :)


Amy said...

One of my goals is to start eating healthy and then start educating others. I have to get there first though. I have a background in social work and would love to utilize it with nutritional education. Thanks for keeping me inspired!

Kerry said...

I made the saag recipe for dinner last night and ate it again for breakfast. Delicious!

Davis said...

Good Information. Thank you for sharing and I want to share information about Madras Bistro which provides our guests with an authentic North and South Indian vegetarian dining experience. We are located in Hackensack, New Jersey and serve a wide selection of dishes representing the tastes of India.

Priya Gulati said...

How big is the can of coconut milk?

Wendy said...

The can of coconut milk is approximately 15 ounces.

Wendy said...

15 ounces

Amber McCarthy said...

I want to try this recipe out next week and saw that you said you get marinated tofu from Trader Joe's. I went yesterday and didn't see anything called marinated tofu. Is it the baked tofu? I ended up getting the extra firm organic tofu, but I don't know if that will end up the same. Seems like the texture should be close to paneer. You think it would still be good using that or should I try putting some spices on it?

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