Spinach with paneer cheese is one of the most popular dishes in Indian cuisine and one that is naturally low in carbs. It’s not very photogenic, but tasty!

Saag Paneer would normally be served with warm naan, a puffy, oven-baked flat bread. Check out my recipe for a low-carb, gluten-free version here

1 10-oz package frozen spinach or 2 cups cooked fresh spinach
1 medium red bell pepper, cored and seeded
2 tbsp light olive oil, coconut oil, or butter
2 leeks, white and light green part only, finely chopped (about 1½ cups)
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic, about 3 cloves
1 to 4 seeded green chilies or to taste, optional
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 cup water
8 oz paneer cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes*
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 and 1/2 tsp garam masala**
1 to 2 tsp fresh lemon juice or to taste
Salt to taste

If using frozen spinach, thaw completely. Drain spinach and press out the water. Place spinach in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste, scraping down sides of bowl frequently. Add red pepper to processor and blend until finely chopped but still visible. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the leeks to the pan and fry over a low heat for about 6 minutes or until softened. Add the ginger, garlic, and chilies and cook and stir for another minute. Add the turmeric and salt and cook for 30 seconds more. Stir in spinach and red pepper puree and water. The mixture should be loose, but not watery. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 3 minutes.

Add the paneer cubes, cream, and garam masala to the pan. Stir and cook for a few minutes, or until the spinach is creamy. Stir in the lemon juice. Transfer the mixture to a warmed dish and serve as a side dish or over cauli-rice as a main dish.

Makes 6 servings.

Each serving: 278 calories; 13.3 g protein; 21.2 g fat; total carbs: 9.9 g; fiber 2.1 g; 7.8 g net carb


*Paneer is a fresh cheese that can be found in many groceries or in Indian or Asian markets.

**Garam masala is a spice mixture that can be bought ready-made in regular or ethnic stores. My recipe for Garam Masala is in Nourished if you prefer to make your own.

Photo: “Saag Paneer” by Quadell – Self-published work by Quadell. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saag_Paneer.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Saag_Paneer.jpg
Pin It > http://www.pinterest.com/pin/224405993908969606/

(c) 2015, Judy Barnes Baker, www.carbwars.blogspot.com


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Judy Barnes Baker

The working title for my first book was, “You’ll Never Know What You Are Missing.” It summed up my goal: to make eating for health synonymous with eating for pleasure. Once you discover the secret, you will find that the very best food for weight management, longevity, the treatment and prevention of disease, and over-all health and happiness is also the most sumptuous, satisfying, and indulgent way of eating the world has to offer. You are invited to the feast. Enjoy!
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Judy Barnes Baker
9 years ago

Anonymous: I'm so glad you liked the recipe and took the time to tell me how it turned out! I was a bit concerned because it's hard to get a good picture of something like this and I was worried that no one would try it. Thanks!

Judy BB

9 years ago

Hello Robin,
I tried this recipe tonight and OMG it is sooooo good!!!!
The paneer cheese is a bit pricy,
($5 a lb.) but so worth it. And the lemon juice just brightens it and brings it all together into an exotic nourishing meal.
Thank you for posting this.

Judy Barnes Baker
9 years ago

Hi Robin. This has come up before. I print out my recipes all the time and they come out black on white, so I don't know why it doesn't do that for all of you. Try copying the recipe and pasting it on another page and see it that works. If not, let me know and I'll e-mail it to you.

9 years ago

Is there a way to print your recipes without a black background? I didn't see a way to do that and it uses so much ink and is difficult to read.

Any help is appreciated.


9 years ago

THANK YOU for this recipe! I'm excited to try it. I made a chicken soup with garam masala in it and I've been wanting low-carb Indian food.

For the other person who posted about rice, "riced" cauliflower is a great substitute. Once you pour a recipe like this over it, you have a super healthy alternative adding vitamins and fiber.

9 years ago

Thank you for posting this recipe! I saw it on a FB group and now I can't find the thread to comment and say thanks. I LOVE indian food and cut a lot out because I'm not 100% sure of the carbs in spices and miss the rice and such. Saag Paneer is one of my favs (mutter paneer too, but that is a bit to high carb for me right now) This recipe seriously made my night! THANK YOU!

John LeRoy Bundner
John LeRoy Bundner
2 years ago

Great photo and an even better recipe! This was a hit with my family and I’m sure it will be with yours!