Layered with flavour, but simple to prepare, this Indian-inspired spinach dish comes together in about 30 minutes. This is a versatile dish that can be served as a main or a side. You can make it vegan or vegetarian or add chicken to it. If you are vegetarian or omnivore, you can also fortify it with paneer, which is fresh Indian cheese made from whole milk. However you choose make it, Saag pairs perfectly with something starchy such as rice or naan bread.
TL;DR Summary of Making Spicy Indian Spinach (Saag)
This Indian-Spiced Spinach starts with frozen spinach. You could also use fresh spinach if you like, you’ll just need to steam and drain it. You’ll need about 10 cups of fresh spinach.
This spinach is made oh-so-flavourful with a full-on bouquet of aromatics, starting with onion, ginger, and garlic. The dry spices are coriander, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes for a bit of heat. You can leave out the pepper flakes if you like spice but not heat. Finally, you need a little bit of neutral oil for frying and your choice of plain yogurt for finishing the dish.
You can vary this recipe by adding paneer, which is a fresh Indian cheese made with whole milk. You can purchase store-bought paneer or make your own. Most large grocery stores or Indian groceries will carry paneer.
Although it’s not traditional, you can also stir in cooked cubed chicken.
Making Indian-Spiced Spinach: The Process
This dish starts with frozen spinach. Cook the spinach according to the package instructions, then drain and then set aside.
Next, add the oil to the frying pan and fry the onions, ginger, and garlic for about 4-5 minutes until starting to brown slightly. Add in all of the dry spices and continue frying for about 15 more minutes. You’ll need to stir this every few minutes. The mixture will get dryer as you fry it. Add a tablespoon of water whenever you need to, to prevent the mixture from burning or sticking to the pan. After you’ve finished cooking the spice mix, stir in the spinach and yogurt and cook until heated through. Almost done! The last step is to blend the spinach. You can blend it right in the pot using a hand blender (immersion blender) or transfer it to a blender.
If you want to make either of the variations – with paneer or with chicken, you just add these in at the end and heat through.
This recipe was adapted from Aarti Sequeira’s Paneer: Spinach with Indian Cheese recipe.
Making this for Mixed Diets?
This Indian-Spiced Spinach is super easy to make vegan or vegetarian, or even both. If you’re making both versions, the process and ingredients are identical until the very end, where you add the yogurt and heat through. You can also simplify the cooking by omitting the yogurt and allowing dinners to add their own.
If you are making one of the variations, with paneer or with chicken, you also add those ingredients at the end and just heat through.
Other Vegetable Dishes
- Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Ginger Brown Butter (Vegan or Vegetarian)
- Potato Salad for Pickle Lovers (Vegan or Vegetarian)
- Zucchini and Green Pea Fritters (Vegan or Vegetarian)
- Vegan Green Bean Casserole
- Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower (Vegan)
- Sweet and Spicy Pearl Onions (Vegan or Vegetarian)
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