How To Make This High Protein Vegan Paneer

This dairy-free paneer recipe is a new take on the classic

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2 Minutes Read

A block of chickpea flour made into a vegan paneer Try this easy-to-make magic protein 'paneer' made from chickpea flour - Media Credit: Radhi Devlukia-Shetty

Discover a delightful twist on a classic favorite with Radhi Devlukia-Shetty’s magic protein “paneer” recipe from her new cookbook JOYFULL.

Inspired by a happy kitchen accident, this recipe transforms chickpea flour into a soft yet firm paneer substitute. Packed with plant-based protein and a mild flavor, this recipe is perfect for anyone craving the mouthfeel of paneer in a vegan format. Whether you enjoy it in curries, wraps, or even scrambled, this chickpea paneer is sure to impress and satisfy.

So, what is paneer? It’s a type of fresh cheese common in Indian cuisine. It’s made by curdling milk with an acidic ingredient like lemon juice or vinegar. Paneer is soft yet firm and doesn’t melt when cooked. You’ll find it in curries, grilled dishes, and snacks. However, this dish is made with chickpea flour, also known as gram flour or besan. It comes in two main types: traditional gram flour made from brown chickpeas and white chickpea flour.

Read more: 6 Vegan Chickpea Recipes

Gram flour has a finer texture and milder flavor compared to its white counterpart. This makes it ideal for a variety of culinary uses, from baking to making savory dishes. What’s more, both types are packed with protein and fiber, making them excellent choices for those looking to add more plant-based nutrition to their diets.

You can make this chickpea paneer by heating chickpea flour with water and you can create a dough-like consistency that, when cooled and cubed, mimics the texture of paneer. This method not only provides a delicious plant-based alternative but also ensures a high-protein, affordable option compared to traditional paneer.

Read more: 20 High Protein Vegan Dinner Ideas

Magic protein ‘paneer’

This vegan paneer is very versatile, affordable, and super easy to make. Once you've learned how to make it, you'll want to add it to any and every dish. Fry it, stew it, put it in wraps, and especially curries. This chickpea paneer will absorb the flavors you cook it in and is full of protein and fiber making it ideal for vegan diets.
A block of chickpea flour made into a vegan paneer
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Duration35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup besan or gram flour (chickpea flour)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, whisk the flour with 2 cups water until very smooth.
  • Transfer the mixture to a deep heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Whisking constantly, cook until the mixture becomes rather thick, like polenta, for 10 to 15 minutes. Taste to check the texture—it should not feel “floury” in your mouth. (But also, don’t judge the texture or flavor based on this one tiny bite; it will change a lot after some time in the fridge.)
  • Quickly transfer the mixture to a nonstick sheet pan. Use a silicone spatula or oil your hands to press it into the pan. It doesn’t need to fit the pan perfectly—it can press up against one side of the pan and you can simply push it into a rectangle about ½ inch thick.
  • Refrigerate until fully set, about 10 minutes. Cut the “paneer” into 1½-inch cubes and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
When choosing your flour just note that brown chickpea flour is finer and milder than white chickpea flour. 
If you don’t have a nonstick baking sheet, you can line a regular baking sheet with parchment paper

Excerpted from JOYFULL: Cook Effortlessly, Eat Freely, Live Radiantly .Copyright @ 2024 by Radhi Devlukia-Shetty. Photography Copyright © 2024 by Alanna Hale. Reproduced by permission of Simon Element, and imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.

Read more: 20 Vegan Recipes That Contain Omega-3

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