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