Chana Saag – Instant Pot {Chickpeas and Spinach Curry}

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Chana Saag – A vegetarian, chickpeas and spinach dish cooked in onion, tomato based tangy sauce and spiced with turmeric, cumin and garam masala.

In addition to the restaurant-like Chana Masala, this chana saag dish is a staple for weeknight meals and also a good make-ahead dish for pot lucks and dinner parties. Cooked in no time and Chana Saag is packed with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Here is a link to my original stovetop Chana Saag adapted from a favorite blog!

Since I started cooking in the Instant Pot, I am attempting many of my stove stop dishes in it. I have to agree that there are a few recipes like my Pineapple Sheera, that is so much better cooked stovetop. Then there are many others like the Spinach Daal, Dum Aloo and Palak Paneer that are SO effortless and flavorful in the Instant Pot. It saves time and I do not need to stand around the stove too long. I was not surprised to see how flavorful and easy Chana Saag recipe was in the pressure cooker.

Check out the nutrition label for the chana saag calories and key nutrients in it!

chana saag instant pot

Usually I soak dried chickpeas overnight and cook them for 25 mins in my instant pot. There are many days when I forget to soak my chickpeas and the organic canned chickpeas have come in handy. Note: Instant Pot manual does have cooking times for unsoaked chickpeas but I was not too happy with that outcome. I am yet to try the slow cooker option on the Instant Pot! I bet Chana Saag in slow cooker mode would be perfect, just stir in the spinach, garam masala and aamchur in the end.

I love using homemade ghee in my recipes but if you are looking for to make your chana saag vegan, use your usual cooking oil instead and it will still be as delish!

So in this video I am using canned chickpeas that need 4 mins of Manual(Hi) cook time. Pre-soaked chickpeas cook well in 25 mins of Manual(Hi) Cook time. A sprinkle of homemade garam masala gives a perfect warmth to this dish and the tangy flavors from dry mango powder compliments all the spices well.

Here is the Chana Saag recipe!

4.2 from 10 votes
chana saag instant pot
Chana Saag - Instant Pot
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins
A Vegan, chickpeas and spinach dish cooked in onion, tomato based tangy sauce and spiced with turmeric, cumin and garam masala.
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 3
Author: Archana Mundhe
  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas rinsed and drained, or or 2 cups soaked chickpeas (1 cup dry, soaked overnight)
  • 4-6 cups fresh baby spinach chopped
  • 1 medium tomato diced
  • 1 small onion chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ginger grated
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin or roasted cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp dry mango powder amchoor or 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp ghee or oil for vegan
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Turn Instant Pot to saute mode. Once the 'hot' sign displays, add ghee. Add onions and mix well. Cook for 2 mins with a glass lid on.
  2. Add ginger, garlic, cumin powder, turmeric, red chili powder and salt. Cook for 30 secs.
  3. Add tomatoes and mix everything together. Add 1/3 cup of water and chickpeas. Mix well.
  4. Close Instant Pot with pressure valve to sealing position. Cook on Manual(Hi) for 4 mins. (If using pre-soaked chickpeas cook for 25 mins)
  5. Quick release the pressure or if you have time Natural Release is fine too. Open IP lid and set on Saute mode.
  6. Add garam masala and dry mango powder. Add Spinach. Mix everything together and cook for 2-3 mins.
  7. Serve hot with Rice or Naan


25 thoughts on “Chana Saag – Instant Pot {Chickpeas and Spinach Curry}

  1. What if you wanted to add paneer to it? Would you recommend adding it in here (and when) or would you recommend trying to make it in the Instant Pot (if so do you have a recipe)? Thanks!

    1. Caroline, I am not sure about chickpeas and paneer together but spinach goes very well with paneer. There is a Palak Paneer recipe on my blog that you might want to take a look at.

    1. Caroline, I actually start with dry chickpeas most of the times. I soak them overnight and the cook time is Manual(Hi) 25 mins instead of Manual(Hi0 5 mins for canned. I do prefer the overnight soaked chickpeas. Have so much freshness to them. Hope this helps. I have also more details in the actual recipe. Let me know if you have any other questions. Let me know how you like this yummy dish!

  2. Archana-I made this chana saag. Tasty and flavorful. But to answer Caroline-I used dried chick peas that I soaked in warm water for almost 18 hrs. I used the high manual setting for 25 mins. The chick peas were cooked but not soft and tender enough for my liking so I gave it an additional15 minutes of manual high cooking and they came out just as I wanted them to be-intact but soft and easily crushed between fingers. Other than taking so long, the prep is easy and the dish is flavorful.

    1. Kalyani, so glad that you enjoyed this dish! I agree that pee soaking in warm water is the way to go! And yes depending on how soft you like them you can definitely increase cook time. The key is to stir in the spinach in the end to keep the bright green color. Thank you again for trying my recipes and your valuable feedback!

  3. Doubled the recipe for the four of us + leftovers. Very tasty – I swapped out 1.5 cups of diced, canned tomatoes & a 12 oz. package of frozen/chopped spinach. My chili powder from Lotte is VERY hot (!) and even though I doubled the recipe, I only added 1 tsp to suit our spice needs. I added more garam masala too because I like the aromatics.

    1. Karyn, So glad you enjoyed this. I agree canned tomatoes and chopped frozen spinach comes in very handy! And yes more garam masala is always good. I have few other IP recipes with garam masala that you might enjoy!

    1. I have a family of 4, I usually soak a cup of dry chickpeas which after soaking is almost 2-1/2 cups. Also dry chickpeas have a long shelf life.

          1. This dish was amazing! I accidentally added the garam masala with the other spices but it didn’t seem to matter. Why is it added at the end?

            Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe. It is on my favorites list for sure!

          2. Thank you for letting me know! So glad you enjoyed this dish. I agree with you that it does not seem to matter when you put garam masala. The only reason I add in the end is to make it more or less spicy and aromatic. Also since I toast my spices for the garam masala, it do not need to be sautéed again with the remaining ingredients.

  4. If I am using pre soaked chole (1 cup), how much water do I need to add? Love the recipe and I am going to try it tomorrow

    1. Add about 1/3 cup of water. You need just enough for the IP to come to pressure. If there is extra water in the end, just put IP on saute for few mins and it will evaporate. Let me know how it comes out.

  5. This is SO GOOD. Used dried chickpeas soaked overnight and the 25 minute mark worked nicely. The 2nd time I made it I used 22 minutes and let the pressure release naturally, also turned out great. Both times I doubled the recipe and the leftovers went quickly.

    Might I make a modest suggestion to include the chickpea amount in cups as well as canned? E.g instead of

    1 15oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained

    could be

    1 15oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained, or 2 cups soaked chickpeas (from approximately 1 cup dry)

    would have saved me some googling 🙂

    1. Hi Karl! I am so happy that you enjoyed this recipe. I agree with you on the amounts in cups and cans. In fact I am working on a black eyed pea curry recipe and I have amounts for dry and soaked. I will also fix this recipe so it is easier to follow. Thank you for your valuable inputs and feedback.

      1. I second Karl’s request! Also…I am so excited to have come across your blog. I am trying to incorporate more Instantpot AND vegetarian meals, so your blog covers both of my needs very well. I noticed when making the Aloo Ghobi (which was lovely) that you used 1/4 cup water and here the recipe calls for 1/3 cup. I thought the Instantpot NEEDED to have a minimum of 1 cup of liquid? I am afraid of burning the bottom. I definitely doubled or tripled the water for the Aloo…

        1. Hi Heather! Thank you for your feedback. I have update this recipe to include measurements for soaked chickpeas. I agree that Instant Pot needs 1 cup of liquids but it does not have to be all water. Many veggie release a lot of water as they are cooked. Especially cauliflower has a lot of water contents and just 1-2 tablespoon of water is also good enough. Since there is no evaporation of water in Instant Pot, less water works great of these vegetable dishes. Hope this helps

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