Wish Upon A Dish: Indian Saag with Chickpeas ♥ Week One EatingWell's LoseIt! Challenge

January 20, 2015

Indian Saag with Chickpeas ♥ Week One EatingWell's LoseIt! Challenge

This dish is perfect for Meatless Monday and I love that there is no mention of curry. Saag is a spinach dish often served with paneer cheese and comes from the Northern part of Indian where dishes are not as spicy. I don't mind the spice, I can not eat curry powder.
I have made some suggestions and adjustments to make it even more family friendly.

Knowing The Nudge does not love vegetables the way I do, I opted to add a cup of sliced chicken pieces big enough for me to overlook and him to enjoy, and also a garlic clove (could use 1 teaspoon powdered).
Cook's note: No paneer in your market? I found Armenian frying cheese, which is the same as Halloumi.

Total time is under 1 hour, and since there is no knife work I would label it Beginner. Easy enough for a tween who loves to cook.

To make this vegan, substitute lite coconut milk (for the yogurt) and firm tofu for the cheese).

Since the amount of rice is under 1 cup and the next meal also included Basmati, make a double batch. I make all my rice in the microwave with great success. I do recommend a corning ware style round casserole with glass lid. Follow the directions on the package and cook on #5 for the recommended time. Let it sit for 10 minutes, covered, until ready to eat and then fluff with a fork. Refrigerate half for upcoming lettuce wraps.

If you have eaten diet foods that are bland and unappealing, I find that EatingWell is not afraid of flavor but a shake of Tobasco or Sriracha certainly could not hurt.


Indian Saag with Chickpeas
Makes 4 servings

  • 3/4 cup brown basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces paneer cheese or 16-ounce package water-packed extra-firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 3/4 cup diced fresh tomatoes or drained canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt


  1. Bring rice and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to maintain a low simmer, cover and cook until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed, 30 to 40 minutes (see Tip). Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add paneer (or tofu) and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onion, chickpeas, ginger, garam masala and cumin. Cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in spinach, tomatoes and salt and cook until hot, about 3 minutes. Return the paneer (or tofu) to the pan and cook, gently stirring, until hot, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt. Serve the rice with the stew.


Per serving : 513 Calories; 25 g Fat; 11 g Sat; 6 g Mono; 59 mg Cholesterol; 50 g Carbohydrates; 26 g Protein; 9 g Fiber; 539 mg Sodium; 624 mg Potassium

3 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 2 starch, 1/2 vegetable, 1/2 lean meat, 2 high-fat meat, 1 1/2 fat

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