This oven-baked paneer (Indian cottage cheese) with veggies is an easy and healthy appetizer that will please everyone. This gluten-free and protein-rich baked paneer is a very versatile recipe, and you can serve this in many ways.
Paneer is an Indian cottage cheese that you can get from Indian supermarkets. When hot milk is curdled using any sour agent like lime juice or vinegar, we get paneer.
This recipe is my healthy version of the famous Indian appetizer Paneer tikka. I have added chickpea flour to the traditional tikka marinade so that it is filling and protein-rich.
Though you can serve this as an appetizer, this also makes a delicious filling for tortillas and sandwiches.
Traditional paneer tikka is grilled using a Tandoor. You can even grill it in the oven. But in this recipe, we are baking it in a sheet pan. So you can easily make this appetizer for large gatherings and parties.
- Make the marinade
Heat a pan or skillet and dry roast the chickpea flour on low heat for about 6 to 8 minutes. The flour shouldn't smell raw.
Take a mixing bowl and add all ingredients for the marinade - roasted chickpeas flour, yogurt, red chili powder, salt, oil, dried fenugreek leaves.
Mix everything well using a whisker and keep it aside.
- Prep the paneer and veggies
Chop the paneer into 1-inch cubes. Next, chop the bell peppers and tomato and deseed them. Then chop them into 1-inch cubes.
You can use any color bell pepper and onion to make this dish. Chop the onion as well into 1-inch squares.
- Mix the batter
Take the marinade and add this chopped paneer and veggies to it. Mix it well so that the chickpea flour mixture is coated well with all the veggies.
Keep this marinade aside for about 30 minutes. If you are marinating them for more than 30 minutes, keep the batter in the refrigerator. You can marinate the mixture overnight as well.
- Bake the paneer
Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C. Take a baking tray or sheet pan and line it with the parchment paper. Transfer the paneer mixture to the baking tray and spread it evenly.
Keep the baking tray in the oven and bake it for 25 to 30 minutes at 180 degrees C. Paneer and veggies should be browned on the top.
Once done, take the baking tray and let it cool down a bit.
The delicious baked paneer is ready to serve!
Recipe Notes & Variations:
- I used tomatoes and bell pepper in this recipe. Still, other veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, baby corn will go well in this recipe.
- You can even use parboiled baby potatoes or potato cubes to make this baked side dish.
- Want to make this recipe vegan? Replace paneer with firm tofu and yogurt with any plant-based yogurt. You can skip tofu and make this only with veggies as well.
- If you want to make this on the stovetop, prepare the paneer marinade in the same way. Heat a grilling pan and grill the individual paneer and veggie cubes and serve it.
- You can reduce or omit the chickpea flour from this recipe. However, by using chickpea flour, this dish will be filling and protein-rich.
- You can refrigerate the marinade for a day or so. And do not keep it at room temperature for more than 30 minutes.
- If time doesn't permit, you can skip the marination and directly bake this once you have paneer batter ready.
- Use thick yogurt as we want the marinade to be thick. Greek yogurt works very well here.
- If you are using plant-based yogurt like coconut yogurt, skim the top layer to get thick yogurt.
This baked paneer with veggies is a great appetizer. Apart from that, you can serve this as a sandwich or tortilla.
To make a sandwich using this baked paneer, stuff the bread with this paneer and veggie cubes and grill it. Your delicious and filling sandwich is ready in no time. This sandwich will taste good even if it is cold, making a good lunch box item.
Similarly, you can use this dish as a tortilla filling and make rolls using it.
This dish tastes best when you have it immediately. But you can store this in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Then, to reheat it, bake the paneer again for 5 to 10 minutes.
Oven baked paneer (Dry paneer recipe)
- 1 cup paneer cubes Around 150 gms paneer block
- ½ cup yoghurt
- ⅓ cup chickpea flour
- 1 green bell pepper
- 2 tomatoes
- 1-2 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon kasuri methi leaves (dried fenugreek leaves) (if using powder, use ½ to 1 tsp)
- Salt to taste
- Dry roast the chickpea flour for 6 to 8 minutes on low to medium heat. There should not be any raw smell in the flour.
- Chop paneer (Indian cottage cheese), bell pepper, and tomatoes into cubes. I usually remove seeds from tomatoes so that they will not become soggy.
- Now take a mixing bowl and add yogurt into it. Then add roasted cumin, red chili powder, salt, oil, dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi), roasted chickpea flour, and mix it well. Use a whisker and whisk it very well so that there are no lumps in the marinade.
- The batter should be a bit thick and ribbon consistency. If it's too thick, you can add 1 or 2 tablespoon of water. And if it's too thick, it will not be coated well with the cottage cheese and veggie cubes.
- Now add paneer, bell pepper, and tomato cubes to the marinade and mix everything well.
- If you have time, let this veggie marinade sit for about 30 minutes.
- When you are ready to bake, take a baking tray and transfer the mixture into it.
- Bake it for 30 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. Baking time usually depends on the oven type and size. So make sure to check it once at around 20 minutes time frame.
- When the top layer is evenly browned, remove the baking tray from the oven. If it is not browned, bake for another 5 to 10 minutes.
- And the delicious and healthy baked paneer is ready to serve!