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Saag Paneer with Chickpeas
and Basmati rice

Active: 45 Total: 45

We're excited to bring back this authentic Indian meal of cheese (paneer) and chickpeas in a rich spinach sauce. This is a Cook Smarts classic, first featured back in 2015. Fragrant spices add color and flavor to the dish. 



Saag Paneer with Chickpeas:
  • Onions, medium - 1 , diced
  • Jalapenos - 1 , diced; seeds removed for less spice
  • Garlic - 2 cloves , chopped
  • Ginger, fresh - 1 tsp , grated
  • Frozen chopped spinach - 16 oz , defrosted and drained of as much liquid as possible
  • Tomatoes, diced (14 oz / 397 g) - 1 can
  • Cheese, paneer - 8 oz , cubed (sub extra-firm tofu)
  • Cilantro leaves - 1/4 cup , chopped
  • Beans, garbanzo (14 oz / 397 g) - 1 can , drained and rinsed
  • Turmeric, ground - 1 Tbsp
  • Oil, cooking - 2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp
  • Coriander, ground - 2 tsp
  • Cumin, ground - 1 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
  • Yogurt, plain or Greek - 1/4 cup (plus more for serving)
Basmati Rice:
  • Water - 1 3/4 cups
  • Rice, uncooked Basmati - 1 cup


  1. Cook rice - Fill a saucepan with water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then add rice. Bring to a simmer, cover, turn heat down to low and cook until rice has absorbed all the liquid, 15 to 18 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  2. Onions / Jalapenos / Garlic / Ginger - Prep as directed and combine. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  3. Spinach - Defrost spinach in microwave or in a bowl of warm water. When completely thawed, drain well in a colander. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

  4. Make sauce - Combine spinach and tomatoes (including liquid) in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead).

  5. Paneer / Cilantro - Prep as directed. Store separately. (Can be done 1 day ahead)

  6. Beans - Drain and rinse.

  7. Marinate proteins - Toss paneer and beans with turmeric and some salt. Set aside to marinate for at least 5 minutes.

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  1. Heat a large nonstick pan with first part of oil over medium heat (using a nonstick pan will really help to prevent paneer from sticking, but you can also use extra oil and sear the paneer and beans in the same pan you’ll use to cook the sauce). Add paneer and beans. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.

  2. Heat a Dutch oven with second part of oil over medium heat. Add onions, jalapenos, garlic, and ginger. Saute until very tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with some salt.

  3. Add in ground coriander, cumin, and garam masala. Saute until fragrant, ~1 minute more.

  4. Pour spinach and tomato sauce over aromatics, stirring well to release any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.

  5. Reheat rice if made ahead. 

  6. Remove sauce from heat and stir in yogurt. Gently fold in paneer and beans. Season to taste with some more salt and more spices if you’d like.

  7. Top paneer with cilantro. Enjoy with rice.



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