Quick and healthy saag (Indian spinach recipe)

I love Indian food. Let me say that again: I love Indian food. What I don’t love is that often times it takes a long time to make and often times it has more butter and cream in it than I care to admit. This recipe was one that I got from an Indian woman in Ft Collins who taught a cooking class through Ft Collins’ recreation office. I loved her recipes because they were quick to make and significantly more healthy than the Indian food you often get at restaurants. Oh, and my toddler loves them too.

For this recipe you could make paneer (cheese) by curdling milk, squeezing the whey out, etc. I just don’t have the time for that these days, so instead, I pan fry extra firm tofu using a little bit of oil, cutting the tofu into smaller chunks, and pan frying over a medium to medium high heat. I’ve found this helps get most of the water out of the tofu and makes it quite tasty and perfect for this recipe (or to use in a stir fry).

The recipe calls for either fresh or frozen spinach. It said one bunch. After cooking up a pretty large bunch of spinach, I felt it wasn’t enough, so I used a bunch of kale and added it to the recipe as well. I couldn’t tell on taste at all. Maybe next time I’ll use all kale instead if I have it!

saag and tofu

Yet again, I forgot to take a picture until after my family had eaten almost the whole thing!



  • Spinach (2 bunches or 2 cups chopped frozen spinach. I would bet you could use even more). I had one bunch of spinach and one of kale and that worked great.
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 tabs oil
  • 2 cloves garlic,chopped (I use bottled and minced)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 green chili (which I forgot when I made it)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp garam masala (you can find at places like the Savory Spice Shop)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 3/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • pinch of turmeric

1) Remove ends of spinach, separate the leaves and wash thoroughly. Drain completely (I use a salad spinner). If using frozen spinach, thaw for a few minutes or microwave for 2 minutes

2) Place a 2 quart pan on the heat (I do it on medium). Add 1 tsp oil to the pan, add the spinach leaves and cover the pan to allow the spinach to steam until tender. Remove from heat

3) Grind the steamed spinach leaves to a coarse paste in the blender and set aside

4) Chop the onion finely and the green chili finely

5) Place the same 2 quart pan on the heat (medium to medium high). Add 2 tabs-ish of oil (you can likely add just one, if you want). Add the cumin seeds to the hot oil and allow to spurt (mine never really spurted, but basically cook for a couple minutes). Add the turmeric

6) Add the chopped onion and garlic and fry until light brown (hard to tell when this happens with the turmeric in there, but basically 4ish minutes). Add the blended spinach and chopped chili and mix. Add the garam masala and cumin powder and salt to taste. Mix all ingredients well. Cover and steam this for 2-4 minutes (I added the pan fried tofu in right before this so it could all steam together).

Eat! And eat! My toddler loves tofu (must be the texture), so this was a great way to get him to eat some greens at the same time.


2 thoughts on “Quick and healthy saag (Indian spinach recipe)

  1. Pingback: Kids in the Kitchen: Cooking with Toddlers | Denver Metro Moms Blog

  2. Pingback: Kids in the Kitchen: Cooking with Toddlers

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