Saag, which simply means “greens” in Sanskrit, is a traditional Indian dish that can be made in many different ways. This particular saag recipe uses spinach as the main green, as it is easy-to-access, nutrient rich, and has a milder flavor than some of the other leafy green options out there. Although spinach is the main ingredient, the real flavor from this recipe comes from the generous amounts of complimentary ingredients such as onion, garlic, cilantro, and spices – resulting in a harmonious blend of deliciousness and healthy eating!
I chose to keep this particular Saag recipe (which often contains paneer, milk, yogurt, or buttermilk) dairy-free for several reasons. Overall I love the flavor as it is and really felt there was no need. Without using dairy this recipe becomes less heavy and congestive, making it much more beneficial for Kapha-types and during times of weight loss. Further, dairy (specifically cheese, yogurt, and milk) eaten with legumes of any kind is considered an improper food combination, and my absolute favorite way to enjoy this recipe is beside a bowl of mung dal and basmati rice! If you do not agree with me however, the water can easily be replaced by buttermilk, cream, whole milk, or greek yogurt for a more rich and creamy result (great for Vata types!).
This Spinach Saag recipe will be a wonderful meal option for building the blood (great for anemia!), strengthening the bones, aiding in weight loss, improving heart heath, and promoting eye health. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K; folic acid (great for pregnancy!), iron, calcium, and fiber. With high amounts of antioxidants and chlorophyll, this dish is equally as beneficial for reducing signs of aging, alleviating inflammation, preventing cancer, and beautifying the complexion. It can be a great meal or side dish option for balancing Vata and Kapha, and is best to be enjoyed during the fall, winter, and early spring seasons.
Dairy-Free Spinach Saag Recipe
- Cutting board and knife
- Large, deep sauté pan
- Measuring spoons and cup
- 16 ounces baby spinach leaves, chopped
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- Fresh ginger (2-inch cube), finely minced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
- 3 tablespoons ghee (use 2 tablespoons for Kapha)
- 1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seeds, whole
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, whole
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 teaspoon Vata Churna*
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 lime, juiced
1. Prepare by chopping the spinach, onion, garlic, ginger, and cilantro to have at hand for cooking.
2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add in the ghee.
3. Once heated, add in the chopped onion, brown mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes stirring frequently.
4. Add in the minced garlic and grated ginger. Cook here for 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Add in the turmeric powder, cayenne pepper (if using), and Vata Churna (or spice blend of choice). Stirring constantly, cook here for 30 seconds.
6. Add in 1/4 cup of water and then the chopped spinach. Stirring constantly, cook here for 5 minutes or until the spinach has wilted and turned a bright green.
7. Turn the heat off, but keep the pan on the hot burner. Add in the cilantro, lime juice, and the remaining 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Stir well.
Ingredient tip: Heavy cream, whole milk, or Greek yogurt can be used to replace the water to make this recipe a bit more creamy, Vata-reducing, bone strengthening, and delicious.