Flavors of India: Aloo Palak (potato + spinach curry)

For more on the flavors of India series, check out: Dhal Aloo Kofta, Payasam Pudding, Gluten-free naan and Malai Kofta.

Pure, natural, flavorful, colorful, exciting and rich are just some of the words that come to mind when I think about my food experience in India.

All of the ingredients were straight from the source, you could taste the purity.

Flavor combinations I had never dreamed of, danced on my tongue and brought an instant smile to my face.

Chutneys, banana leaves, and curries livened up the color of every dish.

The variety was vast. I had no issue staying intrigued and curious at all times.

Dairy was unpasteurized and in it’s most purest form, making it easy to digest and added incredible richness to everything. Butter and ghee were consumed in excess and enjoyed thoroughly.

As the days of my visit continued, I developed a new-found respect for my body and a fresh perspective on the principles of nourishment. I only ate when I was hungry, sat in silence while I enjoyed my meals, chose foods with intuition over logic, and in turn, came home with a healthier relationship with food.

Oh yes, and a strong urge to eat Indian inspired meals at least twice a day.

Thankfully, I foresaw missing the curries, puddings, and samosas, so on the last day of my trip, Jody; a fellow yogi and dear friend, and I signed up for a 2 hour cooking class with a local kitchen.

Seriously, it was the best idea ever.

Although I annoyed the teacher to no end when I chose to sub out milk for water, butter for cashew paste, and wheat flour for chickpea flour, I learned how to make authentic Indian food, Healthful Pursuit style – limited dairy, gluten-free, healthy, and delicious.

What more could a girl ask for?

Over the next 6 weeks, we’ll be exploring the techniques, spices and recipes I was introduced to on what was easily my favorite day in India. And heck, who knows… if you all like Indian food as much as I have come to love it, then maybe we’ll just continue with weekly Indian recipes?


First up, aloo palak.

It’s easy, quick, delicious, vegan, and will pretty much rock your world.

No lie.

Healthy Aloo Palak (Potato + Spinach Curry)
Recipe type: Vegan, Gluten free, Dairy free, Sugar free, Yeast free, Corn free, Grain free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
Aloo palak is a curry dish popular in North India and made up of tomatoes and potatoes smothered in a spinach based sauce. It’s best served with rice, naan, or chapati. There are many other aloo dishes. Some with cheese (palak paneer), lentils (palak daal), or mixed vegetables (palak bahar). Generally it’s loaded with dairy, but I’ve made a dairy-free aloo palak that everyone can enjoy!
  • 1 small potato, quartered
  • ½ tomato, quartered
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup red onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon himalayan rock salt
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance or ghee *see note
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chat masala
  • 2 tablespoon cashew paste *see note
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  1. Steam the potato for 15 minutes, or until crisp-tender. When complete, set aside with fresh tomato.
  2. Add vegetable oil, onion, and salt to a preheated frying pan on medium-high heat and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add spinach and cook until just wilted. Remove from heat and blend with water until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Place earth balance, cumin seeds, ginger, and garlic in a pre-heated frying pan on medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add spinach puree and remaining masalas, coriander, cumin, cashew paste and water.
  4. Add tomato and potato and cook until just heated.
  5. Serve on a bed of rice.
If ghee is used, recipe is no longer vegan

To make cashew paste, grind 1 tablespoon raw cashews in a coffee grinder. Drop into a bowl and add 1 tablespoon water.

View Nutritional Information (once on page scroll down)

Also, speaking of ingredients… many of you have been inquiring about the possibility of me setting up an ingredients page, a list of items I use most frequently here on the blog. After a bit of planning, I’m happy to report that the page is up and running! You can go to it here, or find it on the main navigation menu at the top of the blog.

Would love to know what you think of it, or if you feel I’ve missed any items.

Now that I have 6 recipes behind my belt, I’d love to know – what are your favorite Indian dishes?

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Comments | Leave Your Comment

  1. Hooray! Indian food!!! I would love to learn how to make a dairy-free tandoori chicken (it’s usually marinated in yogurt, right?) And how about a grain-free, gluten-free naan… If anyone can make it happen, YOU can.

    • Oh my gosh, funny you said that… I was elbow deep in rice flour last night trying to make a gluten-free naan. It’s proving to be a difficult task, but it can be done. It will be done!

      • Can’t WAIT! What do you think about using a bit of coconut flour? Maybe chia seeds for stickiness? The wheels are turning… ;)

        • coconut flour was a huge failure. Never again. Chia is a good idea. I think I may have mastered the recipe this morning… so we’ll see. Going to make them again this weekend before posting the recipe.

  2. I was looking forward for this recipe…It looks yummy and sure tastes great. I grew up having this kind of food. Hence, I can vouch on it’s taste. I’m eager to know more about your experience in India :)

  3. This is awesome! I love Indian food so I’m so excited for this series :) And I’m really interested in hearing more about your trip! Oh and a chickpea masala recipe would be amazing!

  4. I’m so excited for these recipes. I need to just commit to trying some out even though they intimidate me. Whenever I get indian food I’m usually confused as to what to pick because they always seem so similar to me (although I know that’s not really the case). This will be a good way to learn some of the differences.

  5. Ohhh I am looking forward to getting a look into all these Indian foods! And I appreciate the explanations you put along with your recipes–because for newbie foodies like me, it helps to know what you’re talking about without having to google it! :)

  6. I LOVE INDIAN FOOD!! I’ve only ever dared to make a few currys and tikka masala so I’m happily surprised at how simple this looks. Thanks for posting- this is going to make me very, very happy.

  7. Bring on the Indian food! It’s an addiction I happily suffer from… I like it all, and the hotter the better. :)

    P.S. Love your ingredients page! Our pantries must look a lot alike.

  8. Ooooh yay I’m so excited for this series! That’s so awesome that you guys did a cooking class – had I been there, I would have been all over it too! I love the freshness of homemade Indian food, especially when the spices are ground from the toasted seeds. I don’t know if I can decide on a favourite Indian dish…. I looooove tandoori prawns, dhal, chicken tikka masala (although more prawn tikka masala these days because I’m eating less chicken), and all the flavourful spiced rice dishes. Is it odd that I’m craving curry at 7:45am!?!?

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