Aloo Palak is a robust vegan Indian side dish with classic Indian flavors. With just a few changes, Aloo Palak can make a great Indian soup too!
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What is Aloo Palak?
Aloo Palak is an Indian side dish made with primarily potatoes, spinach and onion. The onion is sautéed until soft, potatoes are added then the spices and aromatics. Spinach is added last, often with tomatoes. Everything is cooked until soft.
For a brighter color, you can cook it with the lid off. I like to cook with the lid on as it helps the potatoes cook better.
Some people like it on the dry side and will cook with the lid off to help the water from the vegetables escape. If you want a gravy consistency, just leave the lid on.
How to make Aloo Palak Soup
The recipe starts off the same. Fry onions, then potatoes, spices and chillies, and spinach. The difference is that I used tomato puree instead of chopped tomatoes and added vegetable broth. I processed half of it in a food processor then added it back to the pan to simmer and thicken.
This soup was hearty enough for me to have as a dinner entree with a side of crusty bread.
If you love spinach too, may I suggest trying a spinach curry known as Palak Paneer? For a dive into Middle Eastern cuisine, Spinach Fatayer is really easy to make thanks to a shortcut with pre-made biscuit dough.
Pro Tips For This Soup
- If you want to make this a low fat recipe, use just 3 tablespoons of oil in the beginning to cook the onion until soft. Add the spices, ginger, garlic, chillies and cook for 1-2 more minutes stirring constantly. Then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer covered until potatoes are soft. Take out half of the solids with a slotted spoon and process that in the food processor or blender. Add back to the soup and bring back to a simmer for 10 more minutes covered.
- For a creamier soup use starchy potatoes like Idaho or Russets. You may also substitute 1 cup of cream or half & half for 1 cup of broth.
- If you are like us where one of us wants meat in our soup and the other loves vegetarian soup, divide the soup in half and add shredded chicken to the other.
- For a more firmer ‘bite’ use waxy potatoes such as New potatoes.
- For an in-between option, Yukon Gold is the gold standard. I went with New potatoes because I bought a 50lb bag of them. Next time, I will use the Yukon Gold, if I can find them.
If you are making your own broth, you will need to check out this post on How to Make Broth. It also gives you clues as to when homemade broth is a must or if you can get away with store bought broth.
What I Love Most About This Soup
In addition to being satisfying and delicious, it’s healthy, vegan and almost clean eating. What I mean by clean eating is that most of the ingredients are raw, un-processed ingredients that are healthy.
This soup is also easy to make. It’s not a quick soup but no special skills are required. Just sauté, process, simmer.
Tips For Clean Eating
I used canned chillies because I like them and I can easily get them all year round. Simply substitute fresh chillies of your choice for a clean eating version.
Good tomatoes are hard to find where I am. I almost always use canned tomatoes. They are a different variety than the usual, tasteless tomatoes that are selected for shipping long distances rather than taste. If you have access to good tomatoes or are just a clean eating fan, feel free to substitute fresh for canned.
If all you know is boxed, canned and frozen, clean eating can be daunting. You will have to use raw ingredients you have never cooked before, such as veggies you have never tried. I’m looking at you parsnip.
I use a lot more raw, unprocessed ingredients than I used to. I still enjoy a good short cut here and there. Especially when it comes to dough.
Do you have any tips on clean eating? Have you ever heard that term before? It’s they way everyone cooked before 1945.
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