Sharing a really unique pan-fried paneer salad today! Full of toasted grains, summer cucumbers & corn, a simple vinegar and oil dressing, and lots of fresh herbs. It’s hearty and satisfying, yet really light and crisp. Perfect light lunch or dinner side dish!
I’ve been SO excited to share this pan-fried paneer salad recipe for awhile now, just haven’t gotten around to getting in on the site! But just in time for the end of summer, it’s finally here!
It’s a salad packed full of flavor that’s incredibly refreshing, yet satisfying at the same time. It’s a mix of toasted grains, crisp produce, fresh herbs, and crispy paneer cheese. The combo is truly delicious, with hints of vinegar and honey.
pan-fried paneer salad – the details
So the main inspiration for this dish was the pan-fried paneer. If you’re not familiar with paneer, it’s a fresh Indian cheese that cooks up beautifully. You can usually find it at most stores (I got mine at whole foods). It comes tightly sealed in a package, so just open it up and pat off any excess liquid. You’ll want the paneer nice and dry before it hits the hot oil. I like to cut the cheese into cubes so that each piece gets nice and golden. It just takes a couple of minutes per side to get a beautiful golden crust and become warm + soft.
Since the cheese is very savory, I kept the rest of the salad nice and light. It’s basically a quick mix of grains (cooked for a little longer than usual so they become a bit toasted), fresh cucumbers, shallots for an onion/garlic bite, red fresno pepper for a subtle heat, sauteed corn, and thinly shaved radishes.
You’ll also add a little vinegar, honey, and olive oil to make a quick dressing. The final touch? LOTS of fresh herbs. They really make this salad taste so, so good. I used fresh dill, basil, and mint. Use what you love – parsley or chives would be great as well.Print
Pan-Fried Paneer Salad with Toasted Grains
a light, refreshing salad with toasted grains, cucumber, corn, radishes, and pan-fried paneer cheese
- ½ cup grain blend (quinoa, millet, buckwheat)
- kosher salt
- 2 baby cucumbers, very thinly sliced
- 1 small shallot, very thinly sliced
- ½ red fresno pepper, very thinly sliced
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- vegetable oil
- ½ lb paneer cheese, cut into ½” cubes
- 2 ears corn
- 4 radishes, very thinly shaved
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- ¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn
- Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the grains and a pinch of salt. Bring back to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook for about 15-18 minutes, or until the water has absorbed and the grains are slightly toasted on the bottom (watch closely so they don’t burn). Turn the heat off, let sit for 5 minutes, and then fluff the grains with a fork. Allow the grains to cool.
- Meanwhile, combine the sliced cucumbers, shallot, red fresno pepper, red wine vinegar, and honey in a mixing bowl. Toss well and let sit for 10 minutes to marinate.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add enough oil to generously coat the bottom. Pat the paneer cheese cubes very dry. Once the oil is hot, place the cheese into the skillet. Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden. Transfer the cheese to a plate lined with paper towels. Season with a pinch of salt.
- Add a little olive oil to the skillet. Slice the corn kernels off the cobs. Add the corn to the oil. Quickly saute until caramelized and tender. Season with a pinch of salt.
- Add the grains, corn, radishes, olive oil, dill, mint, and basil to the cucumber bowl. Mix well and season with salt to taste. Serve with the pan-fried paneer on top.
You can use any grain you’d like for this – farro, brown rice, quinoa, etc. would all be great.