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FTC Disclosure: Delicious Obsessions may receive comissions from purchases made through links in this article. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.Read our full terms and conditions here.

If you love saag, you’re going to love this Easy Instant Pot Palak Saag. It’s a twist on a classic dish that was created during an intense craving for Indian food during my pregnancy. I gobbled it down by the bowl full. It has all the rich, warming flavors of your favorite Indian restaurant, but it’s easy peasy to make at home in your Instant Pot!

I love saag. It is something that I ALWAYS get when I go to my favorite Indian or Nepalese restaurants. I’m a huge fan of spinach, but when combined with the rich spices and coconut milk that these restaurants use, it makes my tastebuds sing.

If you read my First Trimester Recap blog post, you will remember that I talked about this strange period around week 8 of my pregnancy where all I wanted was Indian food. And lots of it. I spent that whole week eating frozen Indian-style dinners from my health food store to soothe my cravings. And then I ended up with a huge container of fresh spinach that needed to be used, so I decided to make a batch of saag at home.

The amazing (and wonderful) thing about Indian food is that there is so much variation on the same dish. Depending on the region where the dish is coming from, the herbs and spices used might vary. That’s why there are so many different curry versions out there. Each region is going to have their specific style of food and it might taste similar or even totally different than the next region.

Saag is no different. I consider this version my own personal twist on a classic. I chose to add tomatoes, which is not something you always see but is traditional depending on the region you are in. 

What is Saag?

In the simplest of terms, saag refers to any green leafy vegetable dish that is found in the Indian sub-continental region. So not just India, but Nepal, Pakistan, etc. It is most commonly made with veggies like spinach, mustard greens, fenugreek, collard greens, etc. These greens are cooked down with aromatic spices and sometimes heavy cream, yogurt, or coconut milk. 

You might see saag served by itself, or combined with different meats or other types of veggies. Each restaurant, like each region, is going to have their own personal twist that they put on their saag dishes. 

In America, “saag” is pretty much used to describe any type of Indian veggie dish made with leafy greens. But there actually is a technical distinction between saag made with only spinach and saag made with a combination of greens.

Palak refers to the dish made exclusively with spinach. Palak is Hindi for spinach. Because the type of greens available will vary depending on the region, true “saag” typically refers to dishes made with a combination of greens (like spinach and other greens together).

Oh! And then you’ll also see the addition of the word “paneer” with saag sometimes. This refers to the addition of paneer cheese (a traditional Indian cheese) to the creamy veggie dish. So you might see Palak Paneer or Saag Paneer listed on your restaurant’s menu or buffet. Yum! 

Easy Instant Pot Saag :: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Options // deliciousobsessions.com

Common Spices Used in Saag

One of the things I love about Indian food is the use of rich, flavorful spices. The most commonly used spices in saag recipes (and in Indian food in general) are:

  • Ginger
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Chili pepper
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic
  • Fennel
  • Turmeric
  • Garam masala (which is another spice blend)

Like I mentioned above, the combinations and quantities of each spice is going to vary depending on the region. That’s why curries always taste different depending on who is making them. And it’s one of the things I love most about Indian food.

Notes About Easy Instant Pot Palak Saag

I love how easy this recipe is to make in your Instant Pot. Plus, it makes cleanup a breeze. That said, if you don’t have an Instant Pot, don’t worry! I’ll put alternative directions in the Notes section of the recipe below for you. 

Psst… But seriously. Why don’t you have an Instant Pot? 🙂

Also, as I mentioned above, the spices in saag are totally customizable. Don’t like a certain spice (or happen to be out of it)? Want to add more of one and less of another? Go for it! I’m pretty sure it will still taste amazing!

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Easy Instant Pot Saag :: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Options // deliciousobsessions.com

Easy Instant Pot Palak Saag :: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Option

Easy Instant Pot Palak Saag :: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Option

Yield: 4-6 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

If you love saag, you're going to love this Easy Instant Pot Palak Saag. It's a twist on a classic dish that was created during an intense craving for Indian food during my pregnancy. I gobbled it down by the bowl full. It has all the rich, warming flavors of your favorite Indian restaurant, but it's easy peasy to make at home in your Instant Pot!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh spinach leaves
  • 8 oz fresh kale leaves
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1" fresh ginger, grated (or 1/4 tsp ground ginger)
  • 1/4 cup butter or ghee (can omit and use coconut oil for dairy-free, but the butter or ghee really give a deeper depth of flavor)
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (or equivalent of a jarred diced tomato)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, yogurt, coconut milk, or coconut cream

Instructions

  1. Place your spinach and kale in your Instant Pot with 1 cup of water.
  2. Cover and choose Manual for 3 minutes.
  3. When the time is up, do the quick pressure release and remove the spinach to a colander. Squeeze as much of the water out as possible and then chop the spinach into small pieces. Set aside for a few minutes. Pour off any water that remains in the Instant Pot.
  4. Dice your sweet onion. Grate your fresh ginger (if using) and set the ginger aside.
  5. Turn the Instant Pot to Saute and melt the butter or ghee (or coconut oil).
  6. Add your diced onions and cook until translucent.
  7. Add all of your spices and fresh ginger. Saute until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
  8. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  9. Add the cream (or yogurt, coconut milk, etc.) and stir.
  10. Add the chopped spinach. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring continually.
  11. Taste for salt and adjust if needed.
  12. Turn off the Instant Pot, replace the lid (it doesn't need to be locked, just placed on top) and let the saag sit for 10-20 minutes so the flavors can meld together.
  13. Remove from the Instant Pot and serve! Enjoy!

Notes

STOVETOP DIRECTIONS

If you don't have an Instant Pot, don't worry! You can still make this recipe. Just follow these steps:

  1. Place your spinach and kale in a large frying pan with 1 cup of water.
  2. Cover and steam over medium heat until completely wilted.
  3. Remove from the pan and squeeze as much of the water out as possible. Chop the spinach into small pieces. Set aside for a few minutes. Pour off any water that remains in the frying pan.
  4. Dice your sweet onion. Grate your fresh ginger (if using) and set the ginger aside.
  5. Heat your frying pan over medium heat and melt the butter or ghee (or coconut oil).
  6. Add your diced onions and cook until translucent.
  7. Add all of your spices and fresh ginger. Saute until fragrant (about 2 minutes).
  8. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  9. Add the cream (or yogurt, coconut milk, etc.) and stir.
  10. Add the chopped spinach. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring continually.
  11. Taste for salt and adjust if needed.
  12. Turn off the burner and replace the lid. Let the saag sit for 10-20 minutes so the flavors can meld together.
  13. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 254 Total Fat: 20g Saturated Fat: 13g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 56mg Sodium: 449mg Carbohydrates: 16g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 8g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 6g
IMPORTANT! PLEASE READ!!! This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered from Nutritionix and we often find their calculations to be slightly inaccurate based on the whole food ingredients we use on this site. Nutrition information can vary for a recipe based on many factors. We strive to keep the information as accurate as possible, but make no warranties regarding its accuracy. We encourage readers to make their own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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