Say cheese: Indian recipe provides a low-sodium alternative

Homemade paneer is delicious and a good way to eat healthy low-salt cheese.

4 teaspoons olive oil

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon red chili powder

1 tablespoon garam masala

2 teaspoons turmeric powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups paneer cheese (or extra firm tofu)

Warm 2 teaspoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions, ginger and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Wash spinach leaves thoroughly, but don’t dry them; the water will help them cook down. Add the spinach, tomatoes, peppers and spices. If the spinach will not all fit, add it in batches or warm half in a separate pot until it is wilted, then combine. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer until the vegetables can be mashed to a soft pulp, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and blend contents in a food processor or blender until mostly smooth. Return to skillet and continue to simmer another 20 minutes to allow spices to penetrate the dish.

While the spinach is simmering, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a separate skillet over medium heat. Cut the paneer (or tofu) into small cubes and pan-fry until golden brown. Serve sauce hot over paneer cubes with roti, naan, pita or other flatbread.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 183

Carbohydrates: 14 g

Protein: 10 g

Sodium: 49 mg

The information in this column is meant for people who want to keep their kidneys healthy and blood pressure down by following a low-sodium diet. In most cases, except for dialysis patients, a diet high in potassium is thought to help lower high blood pressure. These recipes are not intended for people on dialysis without the supervision of a registered dietitian.

[Katy G. Wilkens is a registered dietitian and department head at Northwest Kidney Centers. A recipient of the Susan Knapp Excellence in Education Award from the National Kidney Foundation Council on Renal Nutrition, she has a Master of Science degree in nutritional sciences from the University of Washington. See more of her recipes at www.nwkidney.org.]