A recipe for fresh, green Saag Chana or Saag Chole, a blend of leafy greens mixed in with creamy garbanzo beans or chickpeas, and garnished with roasted potatoes.
If you love tasty, spicy Indian chickpea dishes like chana masala and chickpea curry, you will love this Saag Chana I have for you today.
This is a healthy recipe and a popular Indian restaurant dish made with leafy greens and chickpeas. There are many, many versions of Saag Chana out there, and many do not blend the greens, but I rather like giving them a chance to get all smooth and silky in the blender before mixing them up with the chickpeas. But there is texture too in this recipe, from onions and tomatoes, and, of course, the chickpeas.
Saag Chana is traditionally made with spinach, but I used some Swiss chard instead because I had some on hand, and it is quite possibly my favorite green to cook. Along with the leafy chard there's some mint and some coriander and a few spices to add incredible flavor. All of this goodness is topped off by crunchy roasted potatoes, an optional garnish.
As with most recipes here, this is an easy-to-make dish. And it doesn't take long to come together. Try it. You'll be glad you did.
More tasty chickpea recipes
- Chana Bhatura or Chole Bhatura
- Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas
- Thai Curried Chickpeas with Thai Red Curry Paste
- Lebanese Chickpea Stew
- 1 bunch spinach (chopped. Or use baby spinach or swiss chard or another quick-cooking green)
- 14 oz chickpeas (canned or cooked)
- 2 teaspoon coconut oil
- 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 large onion (diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- ½- inch knob ginger (grated)
- 1-2 green chili peppers (chopped. Two chilies make this fairly spicy, so use one if you'd like less heat)
- 2 tablespoon mint (chopped)
- 2 tablespoon cilantro (chopped)
- 1 medium tomato (finely diced)
- 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup (or tomato paste)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 tablespoon cashews (soaked in ¼ cup water)
- Salt to taste
For roasted potato garnish:
- 2 medium potatoes (chopped in a small dice)
- A pinch cayenne
- Oil spray
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Blend the cashews with water until you have a very smooth paste.
- Place the potatoes on a baking sheet sprayed with oil, toss them with the salt and cayenne, then spread in an even layer. Spray the tops once more with oil. Roast in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked and golden. Set aside.
- Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a saucepan. Add the cumin and coriander seeds and stir-fry until the coriander seeds darken a couple of shades.
- Add half the onions, green chilies, ginger, and garlic. Season with some salt.
- Saute the onions, stirring frequently, over medium-low heat, until they are softened and translucent.
- Add the mint, coriander, and spinach or chard. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chard has wilted, about five minutes.
- Place the spinach-coriander-cumin-onion mixture in the blender, add enough water to make a thick paste, and blend until very smooth.
- In the same saucepan, heat the remaining oil.
- Add the mustard seeds. When they sputter, add the remaining onions.
- Season with salt and saute until the onions become soft and translucent.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste or ketchup.
- Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes are reduced almost to a pulp.
- Add the blended greens, garam masala, and the chickpeas. Stir well and let the mixture come to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Add the cashewnut paste and let the sauce heat through. Turn off the heat.
- Add the lemon juice and salt if needed. Garnish with the roasted potatoes.
- Serve hot with rice or rotis or naan.
Vaishali! I just discovered your website as a "new" vegan (I've been vegan for a year now) still discovering and just tried your chana saag recipe. No lie but my husband just said,"this tastes almost just like the restaurants," and then proceeded to eat 3/4 of the saag (while I ate a quarter) for which I was so happy! I can't wait to try more recipes! Looking forward to exploring more!
Love your recipes. bagara baingan and saag chana are my favorites.
Thank you very much for sharing.
Jay, I think I understand what you are saying... I see some people with dogs who treat them like puppets... sit, lie down, play dead, paw, be quiet, bark, jump, sit... We often see neurotic behavior such as chewing on furniture, howling when left alone in dogs who are isolated from canine companionship. Dogs are pack animals... It seems more natural for them to live with their own kind. However man has so destroyed the natural order, that the safest place for a dog is probably with a caring guardian(s)... who allow(s) them to be a dog, not an extension of their egos.
Given that the life of a street dog is so hard... I am grateful for those who help them and for the dogs who manage to get by. I am deeply disturbed that there are no street dogs in the USA.... where most wind up being disposed of. I like the Indian model because it gives the dogs a chance to live... and the hope for a better life. There is no such hope in the kill shelter system of dominion. Hope for dogs and all animals lies with ahimsa.
Also I think another reason I like the system in India is that the neighborhood cats and dogs are independent, fend for themselves and are more like 4 legged neighbors than some pet owned by a human.
That is just what a few of the guys around our building would do! They would take the dogs into the building and onto the roof whenever the van would do its rounds.
🙂 Good times. I can only imagine the plight of street animals with all the overcrowding in Bombay now, though. Fortunately, there are more groups dedicated to animal welfare springing up in the city and elsewhere in the country...
Interesting recipe. It took me years to accept chana as another ingredient along with greens. I was too accustomed to the chole made with kabuli chana. I did not like the other regular chana at all.
It is tough to get over a loss like this, what can help is knowing that he had a great life. I have never had pets, though I like cats. I like the system in India where the neighborhood cats just stroll in and out of peoples houses.
I hope your weekend goes better than forecast.
Hi Jay, I remember we had a number of cats that strolled in and out of homes in our neighborhood in Bombay-- and one or two stray dogs that everyone fed. Although they didn't receive any veterinary care, they were loved and had decent lives. I remember my brother and I would hide Moti, one of the neighborhood stray dogs, in our balcony each time the pound van came by. 🙂 They never got him.
I thought about whether to post this response, as the primary purpose of your blog is to provide delicious vegan food... which I have used and enjoyed so many times.
While we may have many dogs and cats who lose their homes, I don't think it is an overpopulation problem, but a moral failure that they are killed as an easy out. We have a human overpopulation problem, but humans are not euthanized by the millions... What we have in the west is an ethic that values human life, is so obsessed with human importance... that the life of a dog, no matter how loyal, heroic or friendly may be destroyed for any excuse. As you note, 'behavioral problems' seems to be the excuse of the day for killing harmless, decent, life affirming dogs....
India's respect for the lives of street dogs is rooted in ahimsa... reverence for life. The destruction of so many millions of dogs here is based on dominion - the notion that human lives matter more, that animals exist for the benefit of humans, rather than for themselves.
Dogs of all animals should not be thrown out with the trash if they are not part of a human family....My feelings about dogs are not unique. You might like this beautiful memorial for a dog by Lord Byron:
A Memorial to Boatswain
Newstead Abbey, November 30, 1808.
Near this spot
Are deposited the Remains of one
Who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the Virtues of Man without his Vices.
This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
If inscribed over human ashes,
Is but a just tribute to the Memory of
BOATSWAIN, a DOG
Who was born at Newfoundland, May, 1803,
And died at Newstead, Nov 18th, 1808.
Thank you for your kind words,
Ruth, I agree with every word you wrote. And thanks for sharing that beautiful poem-- I kept thinking how perfectly it describes my Opie. Or every dog I've had.
I love the idea of using chard. There are so many vegetables in the grocery stores in the US that I have no idea how to use. So it's great when something is incorporated into a dish I'm familiar with. I always thought the difference between saag something and palak something was the type of greens used? Is that not the case?
I'm glad you and your family are slowly healing over the loss of Opie. I've never had a pet, so I can't say I know exactly how you feel, However I've enjoyed reading your stories about him and your grief over his loss shines through very clearly. My thoughts and wishes are with you all.
Also, final quick note, I tried making naans for the first time last week and it came out very well!! Thank you for patiently answering all my questions. I have about half the dough in the freezer for later! I love all your recipes! I'll be trying this one too!
Hi Krithika, so glad you tried the naans! Saag, so far as I know, refers to any leafy green-- spinach, mustard, etc. And thanks for your comforting words on Opie-- he is very much missed, and it's so kind of you to keep us in your thoughts.
Here in Oregon we are fortunate to have mostly no kill shelters. I take no shame in preaching to anyone that is thinking of getting a pet that they should consider adoption.
The saag looks wonderful. I am going to make it with mustard greens.
Ambica, That's the best kind of preaching because it saves lives-- good for you! 🙂 Here in DC too they are trying to keep dogs in shelters until they are adopted-- and their stay is often sponsored by locals -- but given the animal overpopulation problem created by breeders and puppy mills, I always wonder where the shelter's bar is when they say the only put down animals with "behavioral issues." Many animal groups are now showing that it is possible to work with animals with behavioral issues and rehabilitate them, and I look forward to the day when all dogs with a history of behavioral problems (usually caused by bad people who treat them badly) are given another chance by offering them love and compassion. We do it for humans who should know better-- if Michael Vick were a dog, he would be long gone.
Thank you for the wonderful recipe. I'm looking forward to making it this weekend. Do you have any suggestions for replacing the tomatoes and tomato paste as I'm sensitive to the nightshade veggies?
And now you have me wanting to adopt a doggie! Been wanting to but I live to travel and that makes it more difficult...but maybe in the near future I will just do it and deal with the travel as it presents itself.
Hi Monika, the tomatoes offer acidity and some sweetness. I gave this some thought and I think roasted red bell peppers would be great here, and add more lemon for the tartness. If you try it, let me know how it turned out.
I'd like to tell you about Rugby... and how he found me... I lost a beautiful young calico, Mishka. She was hit by a car. It was very sad, as she had so much to live for... There was now an opening in my home as well as my heart... though I was not making any effort to find someone else... I was walking through China town, with the street filled with people, on a cold damp saturday morning... when I felt something tugging at the back of my pants.... It was a kitten, about 6 months old, filthy, with concave sides.... I picked him up, put him under my jacket and told him he had a home... I was ready. For the next 18 years he had a wonderful cat life... To this day no one can explain how he chose me, the street was teaming with people.
The burden put on people who are distressed by the pressure to adopt or see an animal killed is unfair, and a sorry contradiction of compassion. I much prefer the odds given to street dogs or cats in India, where no matter how difficult life may be.... they are allowed to live, with the possibility of help and rehabilitation.
There two different views of compassion.... Ahimsa, the ideal of some Indian religions, is founded on reverence for life. The paradigm of the west is based on human supremacy, where violence to animals may be excused for human benefit.... It is expensive to keep homeless animals alive in shelters. The easy out offered, by the western ethic of dominion, tolerates the killing of homeless dogs, with the excuse that the dogs are better off dead. I wonder if that is what the dogs think?
in any case, you will know when you are ready for a new friend, you can't force it... and someone else will also know.
It will be a tribute to Opie when this happens.... to the love he gave you so freely.
Hi Ruth, you are a kind and compassionate soul. Your kitty was lucky to find you-- I think animals have an instinct about people, they just know who is their friend. 🙂 Desi, who has an almost obsessive love for dogs, will walk up even to dogs who are supposed to be not friendly, and they will slobber all over him. I have always felt the same way about the street dogs and cats in India-- allowing them to live is much better than finishing them off prematurely in pounds. It can be a hard life, but it's better than no life at all.
I enjoy reading all your recipes but recently found out through a blood test that chickpeas and a few of my other favorite foods cause inflammation in my body. I have had to stop eating them for 6 months. Now of course it seems I'm being inundated with recipes using chickpeas!! Looking forward to you publishing some chickpea-free foods. And I can't wait to read when you get a new furry friend. I share your heavy heart concerning Opie.
Hi Wisteria, I do love those chickpeas, don't I? 🙂 I have tons of chickpea-free recipes in the archives, though-- check out the recipe list already, which is perhaps the best way to browse the entire blog.
I definitely will also be posting more non-chickpea recipes in future so stay tuned. Thanks for your kind words on Opie.