Kale saag because kale is not just a salad. Hello wonderful readers. Today I am sharing one of our house favorite everyday menu recipe – kale saag with chickpea & tofu vegan gluten free.
Kale plus spinach plus chickpea and tofu all simmered in indian spices – packed with nutrition and deliciousness. Protein overload which keeps you filling for a long time. Something that you can include in your weekly menu. Seriously this saag is that good. Kale makes a wonderful addition to your salad. It comes with truckload of benefits too . So why not make the most out of it. If you are looking ways to add this healthy green in your day to day meal menu then you will surely love this version of saag.
We are a big fan of sarsoon da saag . The mustard greens and batua simmered with the spices with a side of rice and some warm makki ki roti is just irresistible. Being in states it’s really difficult to source mustard greens and never found batua. You generally spot sarsoon in winters at the Indian grocery stores. Other days you’ve gotta be lucky to find them. So thought if not sarsoon then any other green should work fine right. I googled up and saw so many saag versions. Since then I have started making saag using various greens which totally satisfies our cravings and fills us with required nutrition . I have been making kale saag for years now and I am super excited to share this recipe with you today.
So what is this saag made of
Kale and spinach are the greens I have used . Simmered with indian spices . Thickened by roasted cornflour – the yellow one . I have used a combination of ghee and mustard oil which gives a fantastic outcome.
Saag tastes wonderful on it’s own without any toppings but I had to add some for extra nutrition .
So dunked in some pan roasted tofu and boiled chickpeas for a protein power packed meal. Feel free to use either one or add your own favorite veggies.
Don’t like tofu ? replace it with paneer or even potatoes .
We love ghee , but if you are vegan use vegan butter .
How is it cooked
Well it’s done with couple of ways . Always use a way that suits you the best – considering time and appliance on hand . Some cook slowly over gas top in a large pot , some cook in slow cooker and some pressure cook it. Some cook it for hours and some express .
Some purée it , some just wilt . It all depends on your preference .
How have I cooked ?
I have used an express way ……devil smile 🙂
But it tastes great and as good as the long process plus it helps retain the color as well.
Please go through the notes for tips and substitutes .
Lightly adapted from Manjula’s Kitchen . I adore her. Learned a lot from her in my early days of cooking .
kale saag with chickpea & tofu vegan gluten free
- For steaming
- 3 cups water
- 5 cups washed and roughly chopped Kale leaves approx.
- 4 cups washed and roughly chopped Spinach approx.
- For cooking.
- 1 tablespoon mustard oil *
- 1 tablespoon ghee *
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated garlic *
- 2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger*
- ¼ cup fresh tomato puree
- 1 cup finely chopped onion.
- 2 green chilies deseeded*
- Spices needed
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- Pinch of hing/ asafoeteida
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 /2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 teaspoon sugar *
- 2 tablespoon lightly roasted yellow corn flour/ cornmeal / makki ka atta
- ¼ cup water or more if needed.
- Salt to taste
- Fresh Lemon juice to taste
- 1 cup pan fried cubed firm tofu *
- 1 cup boiled chickpeas *
- Let's start with the blanching method.
- In a big cooking pot bring 3 cups water to boil. Add in salt , few drops of lemon juice .
- To the boiling water slowly add in the kale and spinach little by little in batches , pressing it in by back of the spoon.
- Once the greens are added to the pot , let it steam for 2 minutes until wilted.
- Meantime prepare a second bowl with 2 cups of water and 8-9 ice cubes. This is done for cold water bath .
- With a slotted spoon transfer all the wilted greens in the cold water bowl. This will help the greens retain color.
- In a heavy bottom non stick pan , heat up the oil and ghee.
- Once warm ,add in cumin and hing .
- Now add in chopped onions, bay leaf , some salt sprinkle and let it sweat for 2-3 minutes until translucent .
- Now add in the ginger garlic paste and cook it for a minute.
- Add in the tomato puree , some more salt and all the spices mentioned except sugar.
- Let it cook for 2-3 minutes on low heat .
- Meantime drain greens from cool water and transfer them to a blender. Pulse the wilted greens alongwith the green chilies to form a coarse paste. You may puree it completely according to your preference.
- Now add the mixture to the pan , stirring continuously as it may splutter.
- Cover the pan halfway and let the saag cook for 2 minutes .
- Add corn flour to the water to make a smooth paste. Slowly add it into the pan stirring well .
- Let it cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add some water if needed to adjust the consistency .
- Taste test and add sugar if needed.
- Now add in the chickpeas and tofu or any desired veggies.
- Add in a good squeeze of lemon juice .
- Serve warm with a side of roti or rice.
- You can top the saag with a dollop of butter too just before serving 🙂
Possible substitutes or additions-
- If vegan , sub ghee with oil or vegan butter as well.
- Sub yellow corn flour with 2 tablespoon whole wheat or roasted gram flour or ¼ cup boiled and pureed channa dal / split yellow gram lentil.
- You can sub store bought ginger garlic paste for fresh.
- You can serve saag as is or add in tofu , chickpea , paneer , potatoes or medley of mixed veggies .
Helpful tips to make the best Kale Saag -You do not need a lot of water to steam/boil. The greens will wilt within seconds , hence you can keep on adding the greens in the pot by pressing it down. If you do not have a slotted spoon ,you may even drain water in a strainer . Cool water bath help preserve the green color and avoid saag to turn brown. I have added a bit of sugar as kale is tad bitter. Mustard oil imparts excellent flavor close to sarsoon ka saag , sub it with regular vegetable oil or butter if needed. I like to roast yellow corn flour before adding as it gives a nutty flavor to the saag but you can use as is.
If you can’t find kale then arugula, broccoli rabe , radish leaves, swiss chard and collard greens make an excellent replacement too. Doesn’t this sound wonderful!
Hope you like this recipe and do give it a try.
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