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Indian Saag with Chickpeas

  • 40 m
  • 50 m
EatingWell Test Kitchen
“Paneer, a fresh cheese that tastes like a cross between mozzarella and feta, is a common ingredient in vegetarian Indian recipes. To make this healthy Indian spinach recipe vegan, substitute tofu for the paneer and use “lite” coconut milk instead of yogurt. ”


    • ¾ cup brown basmati rice
    • 1½ 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
    • ¾ cup diced fresh tomatoes or drained canned diced tomatoes
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ 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.
  • To have the most success cooking whole-grain rice, use a pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook on your coolest (or simmer) burner, making sure the rice is simmering at the lowest bubble. When preparing a recipe that calls for less than 1 cup of dry rice, like this, we found that rice is done quicker than when cooking a larger amount. So, when cooking a small batch of rice, start checking it after 30 minutes to make sure it doesn't burn.
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