Saag Aloo is a popular Northern Indian dish made with potato (aloo) and spinach or other leafy greens (palak or saag). It’s naturally vegan and gluten-free.
The combination of the tender potatoes cooked in a flavorful spinach puree with a spicy tomato-based gravy makes it the perfect comfort food for any occasion.
I love making this cozy, hearty meal. It’s the perfect inexpensive midweek meal and better than at an Indian restaurant because you know it’s made with clean ingredients.
Have you had Chana Saag or Palak Paneer? This is similar to those two popular dishes!
I make this saag aloo recipe a little differently than Aloo Palak which is more like a potato spinach stir fry without a gravy. That’s another good option for you to try!
This Indian-style potato and spinach dish is
Hearty and simple | No fancy ingredients needed for this main dish! Plus get your family to eat the goodness of spinach and creamy potatoes – win-win!
Quick to prepare | Ready in 25 minutes with my tips on prep
Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free | Make sure the asafoetida you use is gluten-free
What is saag aloo?
Saag Aloo is a popular North Indian vegetarian dish that combines two main ingredients: “saag,” which refers to leafy greens like spinach, mustard greens, or fenugreek leaves, and “aloo,” which means potatoes.
So, you can use a variety of greens. I’ve used spinach in this recipe.
The leafy greens are typically cooked down to a soft, creamy texture, and the potatoes are added for a hearty and filling element.
It’s a delicious and wholesome choice for vegetarians and vegans.
Below are ingredient notes. Full ingredients and directions are in the printable recipe card at the end of the post.
Potatoes: They provide a hearty and starchy element to the dish, complementing the leafy greens. When cooked, they become tender and absorb the flavors of the spices and seasonings.
I used Russet potatoes. Sweet potatoes would make a delicious variation.
You can also use baby potatoes but they sometimes need a bit longer cooking time due to size.
Spinach: Spinach, or other leafy greens like mustard greens or fenugreek leaves, is the “saag” component of the dish. It adds a vibrant green color and a nutritious, slightly bitter flavor to the curry. Spinach is packed with vitamins and minerals.
Tomatoes: I used Roma tomatoes. Tomatoes contribute a tangy and slightly sweet flavor. They also provide moisture to the curry and help create a rich, saucy texture.
Ginger: Fresh ginger is finely chopped and adds a warm and aromatic kick to the dish. It brings a refreshing and zesty flavor that balances the richness of the curry.
Onion: Onions are typically chopped and sautéed to form the base of the curry. They provide a sweet and savory undertone to the dish and add depth of flavor.
I used red onions because that is what I had on hand. White onions are traditionally used and will have less impact on the color of the dish.
Garlic: Garlic, when minced or crushed, releases a pungent aroma and a robust, slightly spicy taste. It enhances the overall savory profile of the curry.
Cumin Seeds: Cumin seeds are a common spice used in Indian cuisine. They are briefly tempered in hot oil to release their earthy, nutty flavor, which infuses the curry with a delightful aroma.
Asafoetida: Asafoetida, also known as “hing,” is a pungent spice that is used in small quantities to enhance the overall flavor of the dish. It has a unique, umami-like quality.
Cumin Coriander Powder: This spice blend combines ground cumin and coriander seeds, adding a warm, earthy, and slightly citrusy flavor to the curry. It’s a common seasoning in Indian cooking.
Red Chili Powder: Red chili powder provides heat and a vibrant red color to the dish. The quantity can be adjusted to control the level of spiciness based on personal preference.
Salt: Salt is a fundamental seasoning that enhances the taste of all the other ingredients, balancing the flavors and making them more pronounced.
Sugar: A small amount of sugar is often added to balance the flavors and reduce the bitterness of the leafy greens. It adds a very subtle sweetness to the dish.
Garam Masala: It’s added towards the end of cooking to impart a final layer of aromatic flavor to the dish. If you run out or don’t have it on hand you can try making a quick Garam Masala Substitute.
Having the three steps below complete ahead of time makes this vegan saag aloo easier to make.
Place water to boil in a pot (for the spinach). While it heats up, chop the potatoes and tomatoes.
- Spinach Puree: Add spinach to a pot of boiling water to blanch for two minutes. Make sure there is enough water to cover the spinach.
Remove spinach with a slotted spoon and place it in a pot of cold water and ice. This will help to keep the bright green color. If you don’t care about the color you can skip the ice bath.
Remove from the ice bath and blend into a smooth puree once cooled. I used a countertop blender. Set the pureed spinach on the side.
2. Onion, garlic, ginger puree: While the spinach cools, place garlic cloves, ginger, and onion into a blender and blend into a paste. Add 1-2 tablespoons water if needed to help blend into a smooth paste. Set aside.
3. Chop: Chop tomatoes and potatoes
You can optionally add tomatoes to the blender with onion, garlic, and ginger but note that the color of the dish may change because of the tomato puree.
To save time during prep: Place water to boil in a pot (for the spinach). While it heats up, chop the potatoes and tomatoes. By then the water will be boiling, so blanch the spinach and remove it from the water to let it cool. While it cools, make the garlic, onion, and ginger puree. Then, finish the prep by making the spinach puree.
Making Easy Saag Aloo
You’ll need a large pan with a lid. I like using a non-stick pan.
1. Tadka: Add oil to a pan on medium-high heat. Once hot, add cumin seeds. Let sizzle for 15-20 seconds and add asafoetida.
2. Ginger, garlic, onion paste: Gently pour in ginger, garlic, and onion puree into the pan. Pour away from you so there isn’t a hot splash back on you. Mix and cook for about 3 minutes.
3. Tomatoes: Add tomatoes followed by salt, cumin coriander powder, and red chili to the pan. Mix and cook for 3 minutes.
4. Potatoes: Next, cubed potatoes and sugar go into the pan. Give it a good mix.
Add 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are knife tender. Uncover and mix twice in between to prevent sticking and check to see if cooked.
5. Spinach Puree: Pour in the spinach puree. Mix and let cook for 3 minutes. Turn the gas to a notch below medium heat so it doesn’t splash out.
6. Finishing Touch: Finish it off with garam masala and give it one last mix. Enjoy with rice, roti, or naan!
Storing and Reheating Tips
Refrigeration: Allow the Saag Aloo to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Freezing: If you want to store Saag Aloo for a longer period, consider freezing it. Place it in a freezer-safe container or airtight freezer bag.
Properly stored, it can stay good for about 2-3 months.
Portion Control: Consider dividing the Saag Aloo into smaller portions before storing.
This makes it easier to thaw and reheat only the amount you need, reducing the need for repeated thawing and reheating.
Thawing and Reheating: When ready to use, thaw frozen Saag Aloo in the refrigerator overnight.
Reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a little water or broth if needed to prevent it from drying out. Ensure it’s heated thoroughly before serving.
You can mix and match these options to create a well-rounded and satisfying meal when serving Saag Aloo.
- Indian Breads:
- Roti: Soft Indian flatbreads that are perfect for scooping up the saag aloo. Try gluten-free Sorghum Roti or Besan Roti.
- Naan: Another popular Indian bread, typically oven-baked and slightly leavened, which complements the dish beautifully.
- Paratha: Flaky, pan-fried flatbreads that add a delicious crunch to your meal. Malabar Parotta is a great pick!
- Rice Dishes:
- Protein Additions:
- Pickles and Chutneys:
- A fresh, crisp salad with cucumber, tomatoes, and onions can offer a refreshing contrast to the richness of this dish. Kakdi Koshimibir is a great pick.
- Yogurt: A simple bowl of yogurt or a yogurt-based side dish like cucumber raita can help balance the spiciness.
- Desserts: Finish your meal with a traditional Indian dessert like Yogurt Shrikhand or rice pudding (kheer) for a sweet ending.
Have you tried this palak aloo (Indian spinach and potato curry) recipe? If so, I would greatly appreciate it if you could leave a comment and rate it with stars. It would mean a lot to me to hear how it turned out. If you’re on Instagram, please tag me so I can see your creation. Thank you for your support!
25 Minute Saag Aloo Stovetop
- 1 Pot or InstantPot
- 1 Blender
- 1 knife
- 1 cutting board
- 3 potatoes 445 grams, 15.75 oz – peeled and cubed
- 16 oz baby spinach leaves 1 box
- 3 roma tomatoes 380g
- 1 tbsp ginger blended, 12g (approx. 1½ inch ginger root)
- 3 small onions 200g
- 4 cloves garlic 14g
- 1½ tsp cumin seeds
- ¼ tsp asafoetida
- 2 tbsp cumin coriander powder
- ¾ tsp red chili powder
- 2 tsp salt
- ¾ tsp sugar
- ¾ tsp garam masala
- ¼ cup water
- 4 tbsp oil
- Spinach Puree: Add spinach to a pot of boiling water to blanch for two-three minutes. Remove spinach with a slotted spoon and place in an ice bath to cool if you want to preserve the color. Blend into a puree once cooled.
- Onion, garlic, ginger puree: Meanwhile place garlic cloves, ginger, and onion into a blender and blend into a paste. Add 1-2 tablespoon water if needed to help blend. Set aside.
- Chop potatoes + tomatoes: Peel and chop potatoes into cubes. Place cubed potatoes in a bowl of water to prevent browning. Chop tomatoes.
Make Saag Aloo
- Tadka: Add oil to a pan on medium-high heat. Once hot, add cumin seeds. Let sizzle 15-20 seconds and add asafoetida.
- Ginger, garlic, onion paste: Gently pour in ginger, garlic, onion puree into the pan. Pour away from you so there isn't a hot splash back on you. Mix and cook about 2-3 minutes.
- Tomatoes: Add tomatoes followed by salt, cumin coriander powder, and red chili to the pan. Mix and cook 3 minutes.
- Potatoes: Next, cubed potatoes and sugar go into the pan. Give it a good mix. Add 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are knife tender. Uncover and mix twice in between to prevent sticking and check to see if cooked.
- Spinach Puree: Pour in the spinach puree. Mix and let cook 3 minutes. Turn gas to a notch below medium heat so it doesn't splash out.
- Finishing Touch: Finish it off with garam masala and give it one last mix. Enjoy with rice, roti, or naan!