Updated: Nov 15
Full of vegetables, antioxidants and flavour with very little fuss.
The holy grail of healthy meals is to find something that is quick, can be made without a trip to the supermarket AND is delicious. This recipes delivers on all of those essentials.
Sag Paneer is an Indian classic which literally means spinach cheese. Despite it's green good looks, the dish doesn't taste as 'spinachy' as you'd expect. The balance of warming, anti-inflammatory spices, tomato and firm paneer cheese (or halloumi) provides a light, yet hearty dish.
The benefits of this dish spread beyond nutrition. It is also quick and cheap - you just need to be organised. The majority of ingredients in the dish comes from store-cupboard essentials that I always recommend you have in the cupboard, fridge or freezer (link to list at the end of the recipe).
Reasons Why I Love this Dish
Easy protein option: Paneer (or halloumi) cheese are good sources of protein with long use-by dates (unopened), so great to keep stock of in the fridge for meals in a hurry. You could also substitute tofu for the cheese.
Veg boost - packed with spinach, onions and tomatoes, it provides 2-3 portions of vegetables per serving and plenty of fibre, prebiotics and polyphenols for gut health.
Anti-inflammatory herbs - ginger, turmeric and chilli are warming and help to reduce inflammation.
Frozen spinach is cheap and prevents food waste associated with fresh leaves.
Sag Paneer - quick and easy
Serves 4-5 with rice, easily doubled for leftovers.
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
450g frozen spinach (or equivalent fresh)
250g paneer (or halloumi or tofu), cut into cubes
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder / cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
4 tbs coconut oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tin whole / chopped tomatoes
3 tbs Greek / natural yoghurt
1/2 lemon, juice
Remove the spinach from the freezer and place in a colander. You don't need to need to defrost it, but it does make things go a little quicker. Crush your garlic first and set aside to enjoy maximum health benefits.
Mix all the spices together in a small bowl with the salt (turmeric, chilli, cumin, pepper and garam masala).
Put the paneer in a mixing bowl and toss in 1/2 of the spice mix. You can do this up to a day before cooking.
In a medium-sized saucepan heat up 2 tablespoons of the oil and gently fry the paneer until golden. Remove and set aside.
Melt the rest of the oil to the pan and sauté the onion until soft. Add the remaining spices and sauté gently for 30 seconds.
Add the spinach and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. If you are using whole tomatoes, break them up with the back of a spoon.
Add the cooked paneer and garlic and simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
Finally stir in the yoghurt and test for seasoning. Add more salt or pepper as needed.
Remove from the head and stir in the lemon juice.
Serve with rice or cauliflower rice.
Leftovers are delicious - warm up thoroughly before serving.
You can also use the spinach base to poach chicken or fish instead of cheese/tofu.
Is your store cupboard helping you make quick and easy dinners? Download my essential list here.