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Saag Paneer & Chickpeas
with basmati rice and peas pilaf

Active: 35 min Total: 35 min
Saag = spinach and paneer = Indian cheese. We've made this classic Indian dish as weeknight friendly as possible, using frozen spinach and canned tomatoes. Enjoy the fragrant spices and aromatics that are part of every great Indian meal.
Smarts: We saute the paneer and chickpeas in turmeric, salt, and oil first for color, texture, and flavor.


Saag Paneer:
  • Spinach, frozen - 16 oz , defrosted and drained of as much liquid as possible
  • Onions, medium - 1 , chopped
  • Garlic - 2 cloves , minced
  • Ginger - 1/2 inch , grated
  • Jalapenos - 1 , seeded and diced
  • Cilantro (opt) - 1/4 bunch , chopped
  • Tomatoes, diced (14 oz / 397 g can) - 1 can , drained
  • Paneer - 8 oz , cubed
  • Beans, garbanzo (14 oz / 397 g) - 1 cup
  • Turmeric - 1 Tbsp
  • Oil, cooking - 1 1/2 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander - 1 Tbsp
  • Cumin, ground - 1 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
  • Yogurt, plain - 1/4 cup
Basmati Rice with Peas:
  • Basmati rice - 1 cup
  • Ghee or butter - 1 Tbsp
  • Cumin seeds (opt) - 1 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1/2 Tbsp
  • Peas - 1 cup


  1. Spinach - Remove from bag and thaw in microwave or place bag in a bowl of warm water. Once thawed, drain out as much liquid as possible using a colander.
  2. Onions / Garlic / Ginger / Jalapenos / Cilantro - Prep as directed. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
  3. Puree spinach - Drain tomatoes. Using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender, blend spinach and tomatoes until smooth. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
  4. Paneer - Cube.
  5. Garbanzo beans - Drain and rinse.
  6. Marinate proteins - Toss paneer and garbanzo beans with turmeric and some salt and marinate for at least 5 minutes.
  7. Rice - Rinse until clear. Heat a saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ghee / butter and then cumin seeds to melted fat (if not using cumin seeds, just add rice). Toast for about 1 minute and then add rice. Toast rice in the fat and then add in turmeric, some salt, and 1.5 cups / 235 ml of water for every cup of rice. Stir and then cover with lid and bring to a boil. Once water boils, stir, lower heat to a low-medium, and cover. Rice is done when it's absorbed all the water, ~15 to 20 minutes. If it's not done, leave the cover on until all water has been absorbed. Take cover off to release steam, fold in peas, and fluff with a wooden spoon after 5 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

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  1. Heat a non-stick pan (if not using non-stick, you'll have much more trouble with paneer sticking to the pan and will have to compensate by using more oil) over medium-high heat. Add first part of cooking oil and then paneer and garbanzo beans to heated oil. Saute until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add second part of cooking oil. Add onions, garlic, ginger, and jalapenos to heated oil. Saute and caramelize aromatics for 3 to 5 minutes. If they ever look like they’re going to burn, just add a splash of water.
  3. Add coriander, cumin, and garam masala. Saute for another 2 minutes with spices. Again, add a splash of water if ingredients look they’re about to burn.
  4. Fold in pureed spinach and tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in paneer and beans.
  6. Remove from heat and fold in yogurt. Season to taste with salt or any more spices. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy with basmati rice!



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