Serves 4 / Without the typical cream and cheese, this palak version is much lower in fat and calories.

¾ cup raw or roasted cashews
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon Garlic-Ginger Paste (page 41)
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons unrefined cane sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garam masala
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 heads spinach, washed and roughly chopped (some stems OK)

  1. Soak cashews in water to cover for 30 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
  2. Combine cashews and next 10 ingredients (onion through oil) in a food processor. Blend at least 3 minutes, until puréed. Remove to a bowl. Without rinsing processor, add spinach in batches and purée.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Pour cashew sauce into pan and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, until onion has mellowed. Add puréed spinach and cook, stirring frequently, for another 5-7 minutes, until soft and bright green in color. Salt to taste and serve warm.

PER SERVING: 253 cal, 53% fat cal, 16g fat, 3g sat fat, 0mg chol, 9g protein, 23g carb, 5g fiber, 577mg sodium

3 tips for authentic Indian cuisine

  1. Buy whole spices and grind small amounts with a spice grinder as needed. Whole spices retain their fragrant oils longer. Once ground, they immediately start to lose intensity.
  2. Dry-toast whole or ground spices for 30 seconds before using. This step can significantly increase a dish's flavors.
  3. Add a touch of sugar to balance the spices. Without it, too much of the strong, pungent flavors may take over.