Saag Aloo, is a beloved vegetarian dish from Northern India. Saag Aloo offers a harmonious blend of flavors and textures by combining tender potatoes with vibrant spinach or other dark leafy greens. I made this recipe sattvic, and it is a great dish for those following Ekadasi Vrata or Caturmasya Vrata.
Folks get things twisted about Saag Aloo, thinking it’s probably the same thing as Aloo Palak. Palak specifically means spinach, but saag can mean any dark leafy green (including spinach). So you can make this dish with spinach, as I have here, or substitute whatever dark leafy greens are growing in your garden.
Saag Aloo, meaning "greens and potatoes" in Hindi, is a classic Indian dish with roots in the country's northern regions. Aromatic spices such as cumin, coriander, turmeric, and ginger infuse the dish with warmth and complexity. Punjab, known for its creamy Saag Aloo, and Rajasthan, renowned for its spicier variants, are just two examples of how different regions in India have their own distinct variations of this beloved dish. Prepare to discover the diverse tapestry of flavors that make Saag Aloo a staple in Indian households.
Some folks complain that Indian food is too carbohydrate-heavy, and doesn’t have enough veggies. Dishes like saag aloo, aviyal, Punjabi bhindi, shakarkandi ki chaat, peerkangai kootu, olan, and lauki ki sabji are here to prove you wrong, and open you up to the wide world of veggie-packed Indian cuisine!
Get ready to savor the vibrant hues, aromatic aroma, and irresistible flavors that define this timeless Indian classic. Grab your apron, and let’s make your new favorite spinach dish!
🥰Why you are going to adore the ever-loving heck outta this recipe
😸Quick as a cat
This Saag Aloo recipe is designed to save you valuable time in the kitchen. With simple and readily available ingredients, along with clear instructions, you can quickly whip up a wholesome meal.
Pure and Sattvic
This Saag Aloo recipe is crafted with a focus on sattvic principles. Sattvic foods are considered pure, clean, and nourishing, promoting clarity of mind and spiritual well-being. Most importantly (to me at least), this recipe is suitable for bhoga offerings, perfect for honoring deities. Furthermore, it adheres to Ekadasi restrictions, allowing you to enjoy a delicious meal on fasting days. One of the most precious stories about the easy availability of Prasadam in Kali Yuga is the story of Narada Muni sharing Visnu’s remnants with Lord Siva, which is found in the glorious Caitanya Mangala.
Food made without harming animals is essential to find personal and spiritual peace. Furthermore, it’s just a decent way to live, not to kill or harm anyone, and the benefit of a vegan diet is that you are contributing to a more sustainable world.
Do you hate gluten with all of your heart and soul (or does it seem to be the one hating you)? Either way, you are safe in the warm, spinachy-arms of this delightful dish.
✅Well-Tested and Approved Worldwide
Like all of the recipes I share on my blog, this potato and spinach curry recipe has undergone rigorous testing by myself and a diverse group of recipe testers from around the globe. Each step has been carefully scrutinized to ensure the best possible outcome, guaranteeing a delicious and satisfying experience for you and your loved ones no matter where you live on planet earth.
🥔Notable ingredients and substitutions
Spinach (or other dark leafy greens)
Spinach AKA Palak is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with vitamins A, C, and K, iron, and antioxidants. I firmly believe dark leafy greens should be considered “the meat of a vegetarian diet” They promote healthy digestion, strengthen the immune system, and contribute to overall well-being. If spinach is not available, you can use other dark leafy greens like kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, Sarson (mustard greens), or Methi (fenugreek leaves). If you use kale, keep in mind it will not break down nearly as much as spinach does, so use about 50% as much kale as you would for spinach.
For cooking, I always opt for mature, bunched spinach rather than baby spinach. Baby spinach is ideal for salads, has a lighter green color, and is a little slimier when cooked. However, if mature bunched spinach is not readily available, frozen spinach (which is generally frozen in the mature state) can be a suitable substitute. Ensure to thaw and drain the frozen spinach thoroughly before incorporating it into the recipe, as excess moisture can affect the final texture. While it may not offer the same fresh and vibrant qualities as mature spinach, frozen spinach can still contribute its unique taste and nutrient profile to create a delicious Saag Aloo.
Russet potatoes provide a creamy texture and mild flavor to the dish. They are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and potassium which is why they are also bangin' in ekadasi parval sabji. If russet potatoes are not available, you can use Yukon Gold, red potatoes, or any other starchy potato variety. For this recipe, I would recommend peeling whichever one you go with.
Asafetida (or asafetida) is a spice commonly used in Indian cooking, in dishes from phool makhana subzi to Navratri Kala Chana. It is known for its distinctive flavor, aroma and digestive benefits. It’s fantastic in sattvic dishes like this one to provide the pungent flavor and aroma that people normally get from cooking with onions and garlic. I recommend using the easy-to-measure powdered asafetida, rather than the dark resin block variety.
Green Chili (Hari Mirch, or Pacha Milagai)
Small Indian green chilies add just the right amount of heat. You can even have them on their own as a green chili pickle. They contain capsaicin, which stimulates metabolism and aids in weight loss. Green chilies are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, promoting immunity and overall health. Use jalapeños or Thai bird’s eye chilies if you prefer.
Turmeric (Haldi, or Manjal)
Turmeric powder is a golden root that looks sorta similar to ginger. It contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound. Turmeric aids in digestion, supports joint health, boosts immunity, and promotes radiant skin.
📖 Making the perfect saag aloo
Lemme walk you through rivers of steaming spinach to a fragrantly spiced, potato-studded mountain. Or (booooring…) you can just follow along with the easy-to-print recipe card towards the bottom of this page.
In a medium pot, place the diced potatoes and cover them generously with water. Cooking the potatoes over high heat until they become fork-tender should take approximately 10-12 minutes. To check their doneness, insert a fork into a potato cube; it should easily slide through.
You can alternatively steam the potatoes if you prefer.
Once cooked, drain the potatoes and set them aside.
While the potatoes are cooking, heat olive oil over medium heat in a separate pan. After about a minute, when the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds. Allow them to sizzle for a few seconds until they become fragrant, releasing their aromatic flavors into the dish.
Next, stir in the minced green chili and grated fresh ginger. Sauté these ingredients for approximately one minute until fragrant.
Add the washed and chopped spinach, including the stems, to the pan. Stir the spinach well, ensuring it is coated with the aromatic spices. Cook it for a few minutes until it wilts.
Pour in 1 cup of water. Cover the pan and let the spinach simmer for about 6 minutes until it reaches a tender consistency.
Once the spinach is cooked, allow it to cool slightly before transferring the contents of the pan to a blender or food processor.
Puree the mixture until it becomes smooth and creamy. Depending on the size of your blender or food processor, you may need to do this in batches to ensure thorough blending.
In the same pan used for cooking the spinach, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the asafetida, ground turmeric, Kashmiri red chili powder, coriander powder, and garam masala. Stir these spices well, and cook for about 30 seconds until aromatic.
Now, pour the pureed spinach and drained potatoes into the pan with the spices. Stir everything together, ensuring that the spices are thoroughly incorporated into the spinach mixture.
Season the dish with salt according to your taste.
If the mixture appears too thick, you can adjust the consistency by adding a splash of water. On the other hand, if the mixture is too thin for your liking, continue to cook it for a few more minutes to allow some of the liquid to evaporate.
Here are saag aloo's best friends. Together they might just make the best meal you ever had in your life:
Puree Preference: The texture of the Saag Aloo is a matter of personal preference. When pureeing the spinach, you can simply pulse it in the blender for a chunky texture or make it a smooth sauce. Alternatively, if you prefer to have some texture in the dish, you can add finely chopped spinach leaves directly when adding the potatoes to the pureed saag.
Pairing with Bread: Saag Aloo pairs well with various bread options. Traditional choices include Amritsari kulcha, Kerala Parotta, roti, or chapati.
Adjust Seasoning: While following the recipe, taste the Saag Aloo along the way and adjust the seasonings according to your preferences. If you prefer a spicier dish, you can add more green chilies or Kashmiri red chili powder. If you enjoy milder flavors, you can reduce the spice quantities.
Time-Saving Tip: To save time, you can prep the ingredients in advance. You can also wash and chop the spinach earlier and keep it refrigerated until ready to use. This way, the preparation work is already done when you are ready to cook.
Oh KALE no: If you substitute kale in place of spinach, keep in mind it doesn't reduce nearly as much. Use about half the amount of greens called for in this recipe if you use kale.
Yes, Saag Aloo is a healthy, completely plant-based dish, containing no cholesterol and requiring no frying. Spinach, the main ingredient in Saag Aloo, is rich in essential nutrients like vitamins A, C, and K, iron, calcium, and fiber. Potatoes provide carbohydrates and some vitamins, while adding texture to the dish. By using minimal oil and incorporating wholesome ingredients, Saag Aloo is a nutritious addition to your meal, especially when paired with whole-grain bread or rice.
Yes, Saag Aloo is gluten-free, provided you use gluten-free spices and other ingredients. Potatoes and spinach are naturally gluten-free, and the spices commonly used in Saag Aloo, such as turmeric, cumin, and coriander, are also gluten-free.
The one ingredient you need to be careful about is the asafetida. Various brands of asafetida powder contain wheat starch to prevent clumping. Make sure you use hing that is pure and free of wheat if you have a gluten sensitivity, or are strictly following Ekadasi vrata.
Yes, Saag Aloo can be frozen for later use. To freeze Saag Aloo, allow it to cool completely and transfer it to airtight freezer-safe containers. Label and date the containers, and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you're ready to enjoy it, thaw the Saag Aloo in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.
The level of spiciness in Saag Aloo can vary depending on personal preference and the amount of green chili used. Green chilies can add heat to the dish, but the spiciness can be adjusted to suit individual tastes. If you prefer a milder version, you can reduce or omit the green chilies. Additionally, Kashmiri red chili powder, which is commonly used in Saag Aloo, typically adds more vibrant color than intense heat.
❄️See ya later, ‘frigerator
Allow the Saag Aloo to cool down to room temperature before refrigerating.
Transfer the dish to an airtight container to maintain freshness.
Label the container with the date to keep track of its storage time.
Place the container in the refrigerator and store it for up to four days.
Transfer the desired portion of Saag Aloo from the refrigerator or freezer into a saucepan.
Add a splash of water or vegetable broth to prevent sticking and assist in reheating.
Heat the pan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to distribute heat evenly.
Once the Saag Aloo is heated through, taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
Remove from the heat, optionally garnish with fresh herbs, and serve hot alongside your choice of bread or rice.
Place the portion of Saag Aloo in a microwave-safe bowl.
If the dish is frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Sprinkle a few drops of water over the Saag Aloo to retain moisture during reheating.
Heat the Saag Aloo in the microwave on medium power for 2-3 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Garnish with fresh cilantro and mint if desired.
✌️My favey dishes to serve with saag aloo:
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Saag Aloo: North Indian Greens and Potato Curry
- Cilantro leaves
- Mint leaves
- In a medium pot, add the diced potatoes and cover them generously with water. Over a high flame, cook the potatoes until they are fork-tender. This should take approximately 10-12 minutes. Check the doneness by piercing a potato cube with a fork; it should easily slide through. Once cooked, drain the potatoes in a colander or wire mesh strainer and set them aside.
- Meanwhile, in a separate pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. After one minute when the oil is hot, add cumin seeds and let them sizzle for a few seconds until fragrant.
- Stir in minced green chili and grated fresh ginger, sautéing for about one minute to release their flavors.
- Add the washed chopped spinach (including the stems) to the pan. Stir well to coat the spinach with the spices and cook for a few minutes until it wilts down.
- Pour in 1 cup of water to help cook the spinach. Cover the pan and let the spinach simmer for about 6 minutes, or until it is tender.
- Once the spinach is cooked, allow it to cool slightly. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. You may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your blender or food processor. You can alternatively place the contents of the pan into a container and puree them using an immersion blender.
- In the same pan used for cooking the spinach, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the asafetida, ground turmeric, Kashmiri red chili powder, coriander powder, and garam masala. Stir well to combine the spices and cook for about 30 seconds until aromatic.
- Pour the pureed spinach back into the pan with the spices. Stir everything together to ensure the spices are well incorporated into the spinach.
- Add the cooked potatoes to the spinach mixture. Gently stir to coat the potatoes with the spinach and spices. If the mixture appears too thick, you can add a splash of water to adjust the consistency. If it is too thin for your liking, continue to cook for a few minutes to evaporate off some of the liquid.
- Season the dish with salt according to taste.
- Transfer the contents of the pan into an attractive serving dish and optionally garnish with cilantro and mint leaves.
- The texture of the Aloo Saag is a matter of personal preference. When pureeing the spinach, you can simply pulse it in the blender for a chunky texture or make it a smooth sauce. Alternatively, if you prefer to have some texture in the dish, you can add finely chopped spinach leaves directly when adding the potatoes to the pureed saag.
- If you want to add a tadka, simply pop brown mustard seeds, in hot oil and add whole cumin seeds, hing, curry leaves, and a pinch of salt. After briefly frying the spices, you can spoon the tempering onto the finished saag.