Palak Paneer Recipe Without Onion and Garlic

by Aditya Kaur
Creamy Spinach and Cottage Cheese Dish

Palak paneer is a well-loved vegetarian dish in Indian cuisine, known for its creamy spinach and paneer cheese combination. However, many traditional recipes call for the use of onion and garlic, which may not align with everyone’s dietary preferences or restrictions. For those looking for a palak paneer recipe without onion and garlic, this article provides a comprehensive guide to creating a flavorful dish while omitting these ingredients.

Whether it’s due to personal dietary choices, religious beliefs, or simply preference, the need for an onion and garlic-free palak paneer recipe is becoming increasingly common. This article aims to cater to individuals who are seeking alternative ways to enjoy this classic Indian delicacy without compromising on taste.

In this article, we will explore an array of ingredients that can be used as substitutes for onion and garlic in the preparation of palak paneer. Additionally, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to clean and blanch the spinach, make paneer from scratch (with options for store-bought paneer), blend the palak into a smooth puree, and cook the dish with an array of spices and seasoning that do not include onion and garlic.

By offering a detailed guide on how to prepare palak paneer without onion and garlic, we hope to provide a practical solution for anyone searching for alternative recipes that suit their specific dietary needs. Whether you are a seasoned cook looking to experiment with new flavors or someone who simply loves Indian cuisine but needs to avoid certain ingredients, this article has got you covered.

Get ready to delight your taste buds with our delicious, aromatic palak paneer recipe that doesn’t skimp on flavor.


When preparing a palak paneer recipe without onion and garlic, it’s essential to ensure that the dish still carries the same delicious flavors and aroma that make it so popular. To achieve this, it’s important to use alternative ingredients that can enhance the taste of the dish while omitting onion and garlic. Here is a list of all the ingredients required for making palak paneer without onion and garlic.

Fresh Spinach

The star ingredient of palak paneer is, of course, spinach. Use fresh spinach leaves for this recipe, as they will provide the best flavor and texture. Make sure to clean and blanch the spinach properly before using it in the dish.


Paneer is another key component of palak paneer. You can either make paneer at home or use store-bought paneer for convenience. If you choose to make your own, you will need milk and an acidic ingredient like lemon juice or vinegar.


Since we are omitting onion and garlic from this recipe, ginger becomes an important element for adding flavor. Finely grated or minced ginger can bring a aromatic and zesty kick to the dish.


Tomatoes can be used to give the palak paneer a tangy flavor without needing to rely on onions or garlic. Diced tomatoes or tomato puree can be added to the spinach puree to enhance its taste.


Essential spices for palak paneer include cumin seeds, coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder (or fresh green chilies), garam masala, and salt. These spices will add depth and complexity to the dish without needing onion and garlic.


To give your palak paneer its creamy consistency, you’ll need some dairy products such as heavy cream or full-fat yogurt. These ingredients will help balance out the flavors in the absence of onion and garlic.

By utilizing these alternative ingredients thoughtfully, you can create a flavorful palak paneer dish that doesn’t rely on onion and garlic for its taste profile. In the next sections, we’ll explore how to prepare the spinach, make paneer from scratch or utilize store-bought options, blend the palak with other key ingredients, cook with spices without using onion or garlic, as well as additional tips for ensuring a delicious outcome when preparing this beloved Indian dish.

Substitutes for Onion and Garlic

When preparing a palak paneer recipe without onion and garlic, it is important to find alternative ingredients that can replace the flavor profile and aroma they provide. There are several substitutes that can be used to enhance the taste of the dish without compromising on its authenticity. Some of these substitutes include asafoetida (hing), ginger, shallots, and fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi).

Asafoetida, also known as hing, is a popular ingredient in Indian cooking that provides a similar umami flavor as onions and garlic. It is commonly used in vegetarian dishes and can easily replace the pungent flavor of onions in palak paneer. Additionally, ginger can add a spicy kick to the dish while providing a subtle hint of sweetness that complements the earthy flavors of spinach and paneer.

Shallots are another excellent substitute for onions in palak paneer. They have a milder and sweeter flavor compared to regular onions, making them a great alternative for those who do not consume onion or garlic. Similarly, fenugreek leaves, also known as kasuri methi, can add a unique bitterness to the dish while enhancing its overall flavor profile.

Vegetarian Spinach and Paneer Dish

In addition to these substitutes, it is essential to use other aromatic spices such as cumin seeds, coriander powder, garam masala, and turmeric to elevate the taste of palak paneer without onion and garlic. These spices not only add depth to the dish but also help in masking the absence of onion and garlic by providing robust flavors.

Overall, by utilizing these alternative ingredients and spices effectively, it is possible to create a flavorful palak paneer dish without compromising on its traditional taste. Experimenting with different combinations of substitutes can also lead to exciting variations of the recipe that cater to different dietary preferences while still remaining true to its cultural roots.

Alternative Ingredients for Palak Paneer Without Onion and Garlic

Substitute Flavor Profile
Asafoetida (Hing) Umami flavor similar to onions
Ginger Spicy kick with subtle sweetness
Shallots Milder and sweeter flavor than regular onions
Fenugreek Leaves (Kasuri Methi) Adds unique bitterness and enhances overall flavor

Preparing Palak (Spinach)

When making palak paneer without onion and garlic, it is essential to start with fresh and vibrant spinach. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to clean and blanch the spinach for the recipe:


  • 2 bunches of fresh spinach
  • Water
  • Ice cubes

1. Clean the Spinach: Start by washing the spinach thoroughly under cold running water to remove any dirt or impurities. Trim off any thick stems or wilted leaves.

2. Blanching Process: In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt to the boiling water. Prepare an ice bath by filling a bowl with cold water and adding ice cubes.

3. Boil the Spinach: Submerge the cleaned spinach in the boiling water for about 2 minutes. This will help retain its vibrant green color while also removing any bitterness.

4. Ice Bath: After blanching, quickly transfer the spinach into the ice bath to stop the cooking process. This will help maintain its bright green color and crisp texture.

5. Drain and Squeeze: Once cooled, drain the spinach from the ice bath and gently squeeze out any excess water using your hands or a clean kitchen towel.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your palak paneer dish has beautifully blanched spinach as its base, providing a fresh and vibrant flavor without relying on onion and garlic for taste enhancement.

Making Paneer

To make palak paneer without onion and garlic, it is essential to have the perfect paneer. While store-bought paneer is readily available, making paneer at home can be a rewarding experience and allows you to control the ingredients used. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to make paneer at home.

Ingredients for Homemade Paneer

The ingredients required for making homemade paneer are simple and minimal. All you need is whole milk, lemon juice or vinegar, and a cheesecloth or muslin cloth for straining.

Step-by-Step Process

1. Heat the Milk: In a heavy-bottomed pan, bring the milk to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom.

2. Add Acid: Once the milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat and slowly add the lemon juice or vinegar while stirring continuously. The acid will curdle the milk and separate the whey from the curds.

3. Strain the Curds: Line a colander with a cheesecloth or muslin cloth and place it over a bowl. Pour the curdled milk through the cloth to separate the whey from the curds.

4. Rinse and Drain: Gather the cloth with the curds inside and rinse it under cold water to remove any residual taste of lemon or vinegar. Then, twist and squeeze out any excess liquid before shaping it into a block.

5. Pressing Process: Place the wrapped paneer on a plate or tray and put some weight on top of it (like a heavy pot) to press out any additional liquid for an hour or two.

For those who prefer convenience, store-bought paneer is widely available in grocery stores and online markets. Look for fresh paneer that is soft yet firm in texture for best results in your palak paneer recipe without onion and garlic.

Now that you have learned how to make homemade paneer as well as options for store-bought paneer, you’re ready to proceed with preparing your flavorful palak paneer dish without using onion and garlic.

Paneer and Spinach Delight

Blending the Palak

When making palak paneer without onion and garlic, creating a smooth and flavorful puree is essential. Blending the palak with other key ingredients is what gives the dish its signature texture and taste. Here’s how to do it:

Ingredients needed for blending:

  • Fresh blanched spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Green chilies
  • Ginger
  • Cashews (optional)

Step-by-step blending process:

  1. Start by ensuring that your blanched spinach is thoroughly drained to remove excess water.
  2. In a blender, combine the blanched spinach, roughly chopped tomatoes, green chilies, ginger, and cashews (if using).
  3. Blend the ingredients together until you achieve a smooth puree. If necessary, add a small amount of water to help with the blending process, but be cautious not to make the puree too watery.

Substitutes for onion and garlic in the puree:

Since we are making a palak paneer recipe without onion and garlic, it’s important to find suitable substitutes to enhance the flavor of the dish. Instead of using these ingredients, you can opt for asafoetida (hing), fenugreek seeds (methi), or even fennel seeds (saunf) to add depth to the puree.

It’s important to note that while these substitutes won’t exactly replicate the flavor of onion and garlic, they will contribute their own unique taste to the dish.

Creating a smooth and well-blended palak puree is crucial for achieving an authentic taste in your palak paneer recipe without onion and garlic. By following these detailed instructions, you can ensure that your dish has all the flavors and textures that make palak paneer such a beloved Indian delicacy.

Cooking the Palak Paneer

Once you have prepared the pureed palak and the paneer for your palak paneer recipe without onion and garlic, it’s time to start cooking the dish. This step-by-step process will guide you through adding all the necessary spices and seasoning to create a flavorful and aromatic dish that is perfect for serving with rice or roti.

First, heat some oil in a pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds and let them splutter. Then, add 1 teaspoon of ginger paste and 1 teaspoon of green chili paste to the pan. These ingredients will add depth of flavor to the dish without relying on onion and garlic.

Next, it’s time to add your dry spices. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon of coriander powder, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder, 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala, and salt to taste. Stir these spices into the mixture to create a fragrant base for your palak paneer.

Then carefully pour in the blended palak puree into the pan. Let this simmer for a few minutes before adding in your homemade paneer cubes or store-bought paneer. Gently mix everything together, making sure that the paneer is coated with the palak mixture.

Allow the palak paneer to simmer on low heat for about 5-7 minutes, giving all the flavors a chance to meld together. Once done, turn off the heat and garnish with a drizzle of cream or a dollop of yogurt if desired. Your flavorful palak paneer without onion and garlic is now ready to be served alongside some warm roti or steamed rice.

By following these simple instructions using alternative ingredients instead of onion and garlic, you can create a delicious palak paneer that everyone can enjoy regardless of dietary restrictions.

Ingredients Measurements
Oil 2 tablespoons
Cumin Seeds 1 teaspoon
Ginger Paste 1 teaspoon
Green Chili Paste 1 teaspoon

Tips for a Flavorful Palak Paneer

When making palak paneer without onion and garlic, it’s essential to find alternative ways to enhance the flavor of this classic Indian dish. While onion and garlic are commonly used in traditional recipes, there are several tips and tricks you can employ to create a flavorful palak paneer without these ingredients.

One key tip for enhancing the taste of palak paneer without onion and garlic is to use a combination of spices and seasonings. For example, you can experiment with garam masala, cumin, coriander, and turmeric to add depth and complexity to the dish. Additionally, using fresh ginger can provide a similar pungency that you would typically get from garlic, while adding a unique flavor profile to the dish.

Another important tip is to focus on building layers of flavor through cooking techniques. For instance, you can start by sautéing whole spices such as cumin seeds or mustard seeds in hot oil to release their aromas before adding other ingredients. This process can infuse the oil with a rich aroma that will carry through the entire dish.

Additionally, consider incorporating tangy elements such as tomatoes or yogurt to balance out the flavors in the absence of onions and garlic. Tomatoes can add natural sweetness and acidity to the dish, while yogurt can contribute a creamy texture and slight tanginess.

Healthy Indian Spinach and Cottage Cheese Dish

When preparing your palak paneer without onion and garlic, don’t be afraid to get creative with your choice of greens. While spinach is traditional for this recipe, you can also experiment with other leafy greens like kale or Swiss chard for added depth of flavor. These alternatives can bring their own unique qualities to the dish while still staying true to its essence.

Lastly, tasting and adjusting as you cook is crucial when making palak paneer without onion and garlic. Since these two ingredients often serve as foundational elements in many recipes, it’s important to continually adjust your seasoning throughout the cooking process until you achieve the desired balance of flavors in your palak paneer. With these tips in mind, you can create a delicious and satisfying palak paneer recipe without onion and garlic that will surely impress your family and friends.

Serving Suggestions

As a popular and flavorful Indian dish, palak paneer is a favorite among many people. However, for individuals who do not consume onion and garlic due to dietary restrictions or personal preferences, finding a suitable recipe can be challenging. This article aims to address this need by providing a palak paneer recipe without onion and garlic.

In addition to the recipe itself, it is important to consider how to serve and enjoy this delicious dish with accompanying sides or bread. Here are some ideas for serving palak paneer:

One classic way to enjoy palak paneer is with a side of steamed basmati rice. The fluffy texture of the rice complements the creamy spinach curry, creating a satisfying meal. The mild flavor of basmati rice also allows the richness of the palak paneer to shine through.

Another popular option for serving palak paneer is with naan bread or roti. These traditional Indian breads provide a perfect vessel for scooping up the flavorful spinach and paneer curry. The chewy texture of naan or the thin, soft layers of roti add an extra dimension to the dining experience.

For a complete and balanced meal, consider serving palak paneer with a simple salad on the side. A refreshing cucumber and tomato salad tossed in lemon juice, salt, and pepper can provide a contrast in flavors and textures, making each bite of palak paneer even more enjoyable.

Incorporating pickles or chutneys into the meal can also enhance the overall dining experience. A tangy mango pickle or spicy green chutney can add depth and complexity to the palate when paired with palak paneer.

Finally, if you prefer a lighter option alongside your palak paneer, consider serving it with plain yogurt or raita. The coolness of yogurt can offset some of the heat from spices used in the dish while adding a creamy element to each bite.

When it comes to serving palak paneer without onion and garlic, there are numerous options for accompanying sides or bread that can elevate this classic dish into an unforgettable dining experience. By being mindful of different dietary preferences and restrictions, we can ensure that everyone can enjoy this beloved Indian cuisine.


In conclusion, the palak paneer recipe without onion and garlic offers a delicious alternative for those with dietary restrictions or preferences. By omitting these commonly used ingredients, individuals can still enjoy this popular Indian dish without compromising on flavor. This recipe provides a clever workaround by using substitutes and alternative ingredients to maintain the essence of palak paneer.

The use of asafoetida, ginger, and other flavorful spices helps to enhance the taste of the dish without relying on onion and garlic. Additionally, the step-by-step guide provided in this recipe ensures that anyone can successfully recreate this classic dish at home, regardless of their dietary restrictions.

Not only does this recipe cater to individuals who avoid onion and garlic for religious or personal reasons, but it also caters to those looking for a healthier version of palak paneer. The use of fresh spinach and homemade paneer offers a nutritious alternative to store-bought ingredients, making this dish an even more appealing option for health-conscious individuals.

Ultimately, the importance of catering to different dietary preferences and restrictions cannot be understated. By providing alternatives like the palak paneer recipe without onion and garlic, we are able to ensure that everyone can partake in the joys of Indian cuisine without feeling excluded. Whether it’s for religious, health, or personal reasons, having inclusive recipes available allows us to share and enjoy meals together with friends and family.

So whether you’re preparing a meal for yourself or hosting a dinner party for guests with varying dietary needs, this palak paneer recipe offers a versatile option that is both flavorful and accommodating. Try it out today and discover how delicious and satisfying this dish can be even without onion and garlic.

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