*I hope you are all staying safe during the time of this COVID-19 pandemic. In these trying times, let us try and find silver linings. Let us focus our time and energy to better connect with our families, especially our children. Much love- Swetha *
This is an easy vegan Saag (Indian style spicy greens) recipe. This is a rustic Indian dish that is originally from the Punjab region. This is the kitchen-sink version of greens – made Indian style!!
Into the Instant Pot some/all of these go:
- fresh greens
- herb stalks
- green peas
- frozen greens (those rolled-up spinach packets in the back of the freezer, you know what I am talking about…), etc.
Convert your leftover greens into a delicious, spicy sabzi (side dish) that you can serve with roti’s, parathas or tortillas.
One more thing: This dish uses slightly more oil than normal. But greens by themselves are low in calories + the fat pairs well with the fat-soluble vitamins in the greens + makes for a tasty dish!! The texture is pleasing. Your kid will eat it!! Do I need to justify more?
Easy Vegan SaagCourse: RecipesCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 bunches of fresh greens + few ounces of frozen greens +optional (frozen peas, edamame)+ herb stalks
3 cubes frozen ginger (or 1tbsp ginger paste)
1 finely chopped green chili*
1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder (can use paprika as a substitute)
1/2 cup water
1/2 medium onion chopped
2 tsp Jaggery solution (use 1 tsp molasses or 1/2 tsp sugar as substitute)
1/2 tsp salt
- Add your assortment of greens, 1/4 spoon of salt and 1/2 cup of water to the instant pot. Set it to cook at pressure for 10 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release.
- Open the instant pot. There will be about 1/2 cup of green water at the bottom. Strain the water out and use it as stock for any other recipe. Using a hand blender coarsely grind the cooked greens.
- Heat about 3 tbsp oil in a pan to medium heat. Saute onions on medium heat. When the onions brown, add green chilies, ginger paste and saute.
- Add the kashmiri chili powder and saute for about 10-15 seconds. Pour the pureed greens into the pan.
- Stir fry the greens on high heat for a couple of minutes. Add the jaggery and remainder of oil. Continue stirring on heat. Check for salt and adjust to taste.
- *Add more green chili for a spicier version.
What makes this vegan saag so tasty? It is a very simple recipe. The combination of gentle greens with a liberal dose of extra virgin olive oil cooked in simple spices makes it so yum!! .
What ingredients are used and why?
- Ginger and green chilis are standard accompaniments to the traditional Saag. Greens being the mildest of vegetables are best flavored with mellow flavors.
- I also added Kashmiri chili powder for an extra zing that is needed when paired with bland rotis, tortillas etc.
- The tiny splash of sweetness (jaggery) rounds out the flavors and mellows any bitterness from the greens.
Everyday greens in most cuisines are usually simple recipes – salt, fat and simple spices (if at all).
I started thinking about how different countries pair greens with different Fats (oils).
Here are some examples:
Name of the greens dish : Country: Fat (Oil) Used
- Gomae: Japan: SpinachGreens + Sesame seeds/oil
- Horta: Greek: Wild Greens + Olive Oil
- Creamed Spinach: American: Spinach + Butter/Cream
- Keerai Poriyal: South Indian: Greens + Coconut
- Saag: Punjabi (Indian): Winter greens + Butter/Ghee
- Haaq: Kashmiri(Indian): Chard + Mustard Oil
So, switching out different fats may be an easy way to keep your greens cooking exciting!!
In this vegan version of Saag recipe, I have switched olive oil for the butter. Despite the swap, the dish is as tasty as ever.
I hope this ‘Vegan Saag (Greens made Indian Style)’ helps you deliver a tasty and nutritious dish at your home on a regular weekday without too much stress or hassle.
Let me know your thoughts and comments below. I look forward to reading them.
Stay safe, everyone!!