Beet Greens and Spinach Saag with Tofu

Saag is a classic Indian dish typically made with cubes of paneer cheese, but in this plant-based version we’ve swapped the dairy for nutrient-rich tofu. Beet greens (the leaves at the top of beets that you might typically throw away) team up with spinach to form the base of the savory sauce so you don’t waste a single scrap of food. A mouthwatering medley of cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, garlic, and cumin infuse the greens with a rich depth of flavor, while tender corn kernels add a sweet crunch to every bite. Serve this vegan saag over a bed of cooked whole grains or with a side of whole wheat pita bread for maximum deliciousness!

By Darshana Thacker Wendel,


  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1½-inch piece serrano chile, finely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 bunch beet greens and stems, finely chopped (5 to 6 packed cups)
  • 10 oz. fresh spinach, finely chopped (6 cups)
  • 1 12-oz. package extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • ¼ cup unsweetened, unflavored plant-based milk
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro


  • In a large skillet toast cumin seeds over medium 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the next five ingredients (through serrano) and ¼ cup water. Cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally and adding water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.
  • Stir in tomato, turmeric, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and ¼ cup water. Cook 5 minutes more or until tomatoes soften. Season with salt and black pepper.
  • Add beet greens and ½ cup water; cook 10 minutes more or until greens wilt, stirring occasionally. Add spinach; cook 2 to 3 minutes more or until spinach turns bright green.
  • Remove from heat and cool vegetables for a few minutes. Transfer vegetables to a blender. Cover and blend until smooth.
  • Return blended mixture to skillet. Add tofu and corn; heat through. Stir in milk and lime juice. Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with cilantro.

Comments (4)

(5 from 3 votes)

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Mine came out purple but delicious. Second day I added chickpeas. Making it for the third time today. It's a keeper.


Very nice and reminiscent of the non plant-based version. Got better the second day. Served on cooked millet.

Arlene Sherman

Could kale be used instead of beet greens?

Kellie R

Arlene: Swiss chard or mustard greens (peppery taste) can be good substitutes. You can also substitute more spinach. Hopefully you already found an alternative. I plan to sub mustard greens later on this week. Good luck! :)

About the Author

Headshot of Darshana Thacker

About the Author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a whole-food, plant-based chef and former culinary projects manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit and follow her on Instagram for more.
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