Five ingredients are all you need to make this EASY shortcut paneer skillet. Perfect for weeknights, this simple vegetarian dinner recipe has lots of flavor and can be on the table in under 30 minutes.
Clearly this is not an authentic paneer so-and-so recipe by any stretch of the imagination. Not at all. Just want to start with that!
As a habitual forgetter of taking meats and other proteins out of the freezer to thaw, I've been on the hunt for dinner recipes I could make on the fly using longer shelf-life pantry or refrigerator ingredients. Tofu and tempeh have been mainstays.
My local grocery chain is nice in many ways, but unfortunately not that adventurous in stocking ingredients from a variety of cuisines. Anise extract, tubed polenta, escarole, pastina, sweet Italian sausage links? Good luck with that, I've had to go elsewhere.
Needless to say I did a double take when I noticed paneer for sale in the deli cheese case. My husband and I love Indian food, and I knew it it was a nice source of protein and lasted for some time when unopened.
Thus this super-mega-shortcut paneer skillet was born. Five basic ingredients with simple prep and delicious flavor, this has been a weeknight dinner saver!
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- This speedy dish is the answer to the perennial "it's 6 pm, what can I make for dinner?" question.
- It has so much wiggle room: switch up the simmer sauce flavor, add leftover cooked veggies, etc.
- It's a filling dinner with really delicious flavor that's more semi-homemade than something like a frozen pizza (which I love too!).
- Paneer: This is a firm, neutral-flavored whole milk cheese that holds its shape once cooked (it doesn't melt). It's a wonderful source of vegetarian protein. While it looks a lot like tofu, it's a lot more nutritionally dense.
- Simmer Sauce: These can often be found in the "international" foods aisle of the grocery store. The size of the jar doesn't have to be precise. I've used many different flavors and find them all to be delicious here, such as tikka masala, korma, butter, curry, etc.
- Olive Oil: Another cooking oil can be used, such as avocado oil, coconut oil, or ghee.
- Sweet Potato: Yukon gold potatoes are a good alternative.
- Spinach: It will look like a lot of spinach going into the skillet, but it wilts down quickly. Only add it during the last 2 minutes of the recipe.
- Sauté the potatoes. Cook in oil for 10 minutes, or until browned and fork-tender. Transfer them to a plate for now.
- Brown the paneer. Add the remaining oil to the pan, then once heated, add the cubed paneer in a single layer. Brown on all sides, approximately 1-2 minutes per side. Paneer browns quickly so don't step away from the stove.
- Add sauce and spinach. Pour in the simmer sauce and give everything a big stir. Cook over medium-low until the sauce is heated, then add the spinach. Stir in as it wilts, then serve.
- Jasmine brown rice (such a great flavor!)
- Naan (Trader Joe's garlic naan in particular is always in my freezer)
- Ginger turmeric cauliflower rice
- Coconut basmati rice
More Speedy Weeknight Recipes
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Shortcut Paneer Skillet
- 1 large sweet potato cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 12-ounce package paneer cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 14- to 16-ounce jar simmer sauce slightly smaller/larger jar fine
- 1 cup fresh spinach leaves very well-packed
- Peel and cut sweet potato into ½-inch cubes. Cut the block of paneer into 1-inch cubes.
- Add 1 Tablespoon of oil to a large pan and set it on the stove over medium heat. Once heated, add the sweet potato and cook for 8-10 or so minutes, stirring occasionally, or until browned. Transfer the potatoes to a plate.
- Place the pan back on the stove and add the remaining 1 Tablespoon oil. Add the paneer cubes in a single layer and cook until browned, about 1-2 minutes per side.
- Add the sweet potatoes back to the pan, then pour in the simmer sauce. Adjust heat to medium-low and stir as the sauce warms.
- Once the sauce is heated, add the spinach and stir for 1-2 minutes as it wilts. Serve with rice, naan, etc. Refrigerate leftover portions and use within 3-4 days.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer