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  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 5 cups

A staple of Northern Indian cuisine, saag is a spinach dish best enjoyed with grains or Indian bread to soak up its soupy deliciousness. Rather than paneer, this vegan saag recipe is studded with chickpeas, for a satisfying touch of starchiness.

Tip: Chile peppers contain oils that can irritate your skin and eyes. Wear plastic or rubber gloves when working with them. 

Vegan saag with chickpeas shown in copper bowl


  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1½-inch piece serrano chile, finely chopped (see tip in intro)
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 bunches (1 lb.) fresh spinach, washed and drained
  • 2 15-oz. cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice


  1. Heat a large skillet over high until a few drops of water sizzle when sprinkled in the pan. Add cumin seeds; toast 1 minute. Add onions, garlic, ginger, serrano chile, and ¼ cup water. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until onions are tender, stirring frequently and adding water, 1 to 2 Tbsp. at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.
  2. Add the next five ingredients (through cinnamon) to skillet. Season with salt and black pepper. Cook, uncovered, about 5 minutes or until tomatoes are soft. Stir in spinach; cook about 10 minutes more or until spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; let cool slightly.
  3. Transfer spinach mixture to a blender; add 1 cup water. Cover and blend until smooth. Return sauce to skillet. Add chickpeas. Cook until heated through. Stir in lime juice.

Comments (4)

(4 from 3 votes)
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Lydia2 weeks ago
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This is a go-to of ours. I do triple the spices, but the taste is delicious!

Cynthia McCaskill1 month ago
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I am forever disappointed in the spice flavoring of almost all their recipes, this one included. It tastes very “American bland”. The flavors are nothing compared to what you get in a real Indian restaurant.

Kate2 weeks ago
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I agree. I doubled, if not tripled most of the spices and the lime juice. That was all it needed and did the trick!

Will3 months ago
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Sooooo good

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about the author

Darshana Thacker

Darshana Thacker is chef and culinary project 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 for more.

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