Indian Spiced Sauteed Spinach (Saag)
Sauteed spinach is a classic Indian side dish, often called ‘saag.’ And spinach, like other leafy greens, acts like a flavor sponge and soaks up all of the delicious spices in this Indian spiced sauteed spinach recipe!
Fresh ginger and whole yellow mustard seeds add a zesty kick of umami goodness to this recipe. I’m going to show you how to make saag at home to serve as a side dish, or as a fun, flavorful addition to a vegan Buddha bowl or hummus bowl!
Originally, I designed this Indian spiced sauteed spinach recipe for my spicy chickpea Buddha bowl. And, I’ve gotta say, it’s especially yummy with a bit of spicy hummus at the base of my bowl! It’s vegan, full of flavor, but not too spicy, and it’s incredibly simple to prepare.
Best of all, this Indian spiced sautéed spinach makes it SO easy to eat your nutritious leafy greens!
Did you know that saag can be made with other leafy greens?
Saag doesn’t have to be made exclusively with spinach, and is often made with a combination of other leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, or even bok choy! Feel free to swap out your leafy greens of choice in this recipe!
Sautéed Spinach Ingredients
- Avocado Oil. I love using avocado oil because it has a very neutral flavor, is heart-healthy, and has a low smoke-point, which makes it perfect for cooking on the stove!
- Shallots. Mild and sweet, shallots are a bit more subdued than onions, but are an excellent addition.
- Garlic and Ginger. Garlic is an absolutely crucial ingredient here. It adds such a wonderful fresh umami flavor and perfectly complements and offsets the bitterness of the spinach. Also, fresh ginger adds complex warm spice notes as well as some subtle sweetness to offset the bitterness of the spinach! If you find that fresh ginger is a bit too spicy, feel free to substitute with ginger powder instead!
- Seasonings. Cumin and turmeric are classic Indian spices that add a nutty and citrusy flavor to this dish, and of course, I also added salt and pepper to taste to help bring out some of the bright flavors of the other spices in this dish.
- Mustard Seeds. The mustard flavor in this dish is not exactly subtle, and I think that’s a good thing. It’s one of the stars here and it beautifully complements the spinach, and that’s all thanks to using mustard seeds instead of liquid mustard or ground mustard. I find that the seeds add a rich complexity to the already tangy flavor that mustard brings to a dish!
- Spinach (of course!) Sautéed spinach can be absolutely delicious on its own, even without much seasoning, but it can also be bitter. However, that bitterness actually adds so much depth to this recipe!
How To Make Sautéed Spinach.
1 Sautee Shallots and Garlic
In a saucepan with a drizzle of Avocado oil, cook shallots and garlic over medium heat for a few minutes, until fragrant.
2 Add Ginger and Spices
Add fresh ginger, cumin, and turmeric and cook for another minute. Remember, you can feel free to add any spices that you like here. Don’t be limited to the recipe, this is your dish!
3 Add Spinach
Add spinach and toss gently, then cover the pan until the spinach has reduced and is nice wilted. This will take less time than you think, and it will reduce a LOT, so don’t be afraid to load up on as much spinach as you can fit in the pan!
4 Add Remaining Seasonings.
Once your spinach has reduced to your liking, add your mustard seeds along with salt and pepper to taste.
5 Serve and enjoy!
Now all that’s left to do is enjoy! I love to include this as a component to a dish, but it’s also great as a side dish, or on its own. The choice is yours!
What should I serve saag with?
This recipe is an essential part of my Indian Inspired Vegan Hummus Bowl which I highly recommend if you’re looking for a nutritious, balanced, plant-based meal all packed into one delicious spicy bowl!
This tart acidity of this recipe would also be a perfect companion to my Easy Instant Pot Butter Chicken, balancing out those rich and savory butter chicken flavors.
What’s the deal with saag?
Saag has been a part of Indian cuisine for centuries, and is a very important part of Indian culinary tradition!
The use of assorted leafy greens in cooking can be attributed to the availability and abundance of these veggies in the region. Saag dishes are also known for being super nutritious, as leafy greens like spinach are rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber!
Indian Spiced Sauteed Spinach (Saag)
- drizzle of oil
- 2 shallots, diced
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 lb 10-12 cups fresh spinach
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- In a saucepan, cook oil, onions, and garlic over medium heat for a few minutes, until fragrant.
- Add fresh ginger, cumin, and turmeric and cook for another minute. (Feel free to add any spices that you like!)
- Add spinach and mustard seeds, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss until spinach is wilted, about another minute.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Yields ~1 ½ cups Indian spiced sauteed spinach.