Chana Saag is a vegetarian chickpea curry cooked with greens in a tangy onion-tomato based sauce that is perfectly spiced with turmeric, cumin seeds 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 under 30 minutes, using few basic ingredients, this Chana Saag is packed with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. A sprinkle of homemade garam masala gives perfect warmth to this dish and the tangy flavors from dry mango powder rounds up the flavors really well.
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 thrilled to see how flavorful and easy my stove-top Chana Saag recipe was in the pressure cooker!
What is Saag?
- Saag refers to leafy green vegetables like mustard greens, collard greens and spinach. Since spinach is more readily available, that is my go-to green for this recipe. But you can also use other leafy greens such as mustard greens, beet leaves, swiss chard or kale.
Chana Saag Variations:
- You can make pot in pot white rice along with chana saag when using canned chickpeas. Add 1 cup basmati rice, 1.5 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of salt in a stainless steel pot and place over the tall trivet.
- If using pre-soaked chickpeas, add extra 1/2 cup of water and pressure cook for 25 minutes followed by 10 minute natural pressure release. You can also make pot in pot brown rice when using soaked chickpeas as they have similar cook time to brown rice. Add 1 cup brown rice, 1.5 cups of water in a stainless steel pot and place over the tall trivet.
- To make vegan Chana Saag, simply substitute ghee with oil.
- Substitute spinach with your favorite greens like finely chopped kale, swiss chard or beet leaves.
Here are the easy steps for healthy and tasty Chana Saag recipe:
- Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode and add ghee and onions. Cook for 2 minutes or until the onions become translucent. Add ginger, garlic, ground cumin, turmeric, red chili powder and salt (photos 1 – 2).
- Stir the spices and add tomatoes. Mix well and add the chickpeas (photos 3 – 4).
- Add 1/3 cup of water and mix well. Optional Pot in pot rice directions – To make white basmati rice – Add 1 cup basmati rice, 1.5 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to a stainless steel pot. You can also add 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds and 1 bay leaf. Place a tall trivet in the Instant Pot and place the rice pot over it (photos 5 – 6).
- Close the Instant Pot lid and pressure cook for 4 minutes followed by 10 minute natural pressure release. Note if you are just cooking chickpeas you can also quick release at this point. Carefully take out the rice pot and the trivet. Add aamchoor powder (or lemon juice) and garam masala (photos 7 – 8).
- Add spinach and set the Instant Pot to saute mode. Cook for 2 minutes or just until the spinach starts to cook down. Turn the Instant Pot off to avoid overcooking of the spinach (photos 9 – 10).
Enjoy hot with steamed rice, naan or parathas!
Video showing how to make Chana Saag in the Instant Pot:
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- 1 15 oz canned 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 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon ginger grated
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mango powder amchoor or 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon ghee or oil for vegan
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 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.
- Add ginger, garlic, cumin powder, turmeric, red chili powder and salt. Cook for 30 secs.
- Add tomatoes and mix everything together. Add 1/3 cup of water and chickpeas. Mix well.
- 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)
- Quick release the pressure or if you have time Natural Release is fine too. Open IP lid and set on Saute mode.
- Add garam masala and dry mango powder. Add Spinach. Mix everything together and cook for 2-3 mins.
- Serve hot with Rice or Naan
If using pre-soaked chickpeas, add extra 1/2 cup of water and pressure cook for 25 minutes followed by 10 minute natural pressure release. You can also make pot in pot brown rice when using soaked chickpeas as they have similar cook time to brown rice. Add 1 cup brown rice, 1.5 cups of water in a stainless steel pot and place over the tall trivet.
To make vegan Chana Saag, simply substitute ghee with oil.
Substitute spinach with your favorite greens like finely chopped kale, swiss chard or beet leaves.
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Hey there! I am a techie turned recipe developer, cooking instructor, and food blogger. I love food and enjoy developing easy and healthy recipes for busy lifestyles. I live in New Jersey with my husband and two sons.