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 this Instant Pot recipe, I am also sharing how to cook pot in pot rice along with chickpeas. A perfect weeknight gluten-free meal that can be easily made vegan!
This recipe originally published in April 2017 is updated with new photos, a video, and tips.
Cooked in under 30 minutes, using a few basic ingredients, this Instant Pot 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 round up the flavors really well.
In addition to the restaurant-style 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.
Since I started cooking in the Instant Pot, I am attempting many of my stove-top dishes in it. I love that classic Indian vegetarian dishes such as Spinach Daal, Dum Aloo, and Palak Paneer that are so quick and effortless in the Instant Pot. And now I am excited to share my stove-top Chana Saag recipe Using the Instant Pot!
Why I love making Chana Saag in the Instant Pot
✔️ Hands-free recipe that is ready in 30 minutes
✔️ You can make it with canned or dried chickpeas by simply increasing the cook time
✔️ Make pot in pot rice at the same time for a complete meal
So 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.
Here are some of the main ingredients you will need for this recipe:
- Chickpeas - I am using canned chickpeas in this recipe but you can use dry chickpeas instead. Please see my notes in the recipe card below for tips on using dried chickeas.
- Greens - I love to add boxed baby spinach but you can also use kale, mustard greens or a mix.
- Tomatoes - Diced fresh tomato or canned tomatoes with liquids work well.
- Ginger and Garlic Paste - I prefer using homemade ginger and garlic paste but storebought ones work equally well too.
- Spices - Garam Masala, Mild Kashmiri Red Chili, Turmeric is all that you will need. If you do not have dry mango powder, simply squeeze some fresh lemon in the end.
Here are the easy steps to make healthy and tasty Instant Pot Chana Saag:
- 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. Add tomatoes and chickpeas (photos 3 - 4)
- Add chickpeas, water, and mix well (photos 5 - 6)
- Place a tall trivet. Add 1 cup basmati rice, 1.5 cups water, and 1 teaspoon salt to a stainless steel pot. You can also add ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds and 1 bay leaf. Place a tall trivet in the Instant Pot and place the rice pot over it (photos 7 - 8).
- Carefully take out the rice pot and the trivet. Add amchur powder(or lemon juice) & garam masala (photos 9 - 10).
- 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 the spinach (photos 11 - 12).
Serve with warm pita bread, roti, or homemade parathas. For gluten-free options, serve with basmati rice or brown rice. Cooling beetroot raita pairs really well with the spicy flavors of this curry. And don’t forget to make the refreshing mango lassi that the kids and adults will love!
Substitues and Variations
- I love to cook pot in pot rice along with chana saag when using canned chickpeas. The cooktime for canned chickenpeas and rice is the same making it a great option for a whole meal. 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
- Prefer using dry chickpeas? Go ahead and soak them in water overnight. When cooking add an extra half a cup of water and increase the pressure cooking time to 25 minutes followed by a 10-minute natural pressure release. You can make pot in pot brown rice when using soaked chickpeas as they have a 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 neutral cooking oil
- Substitute spinach with your favorite greens like finely chopped kale, swiss chard, or beet leaves
Chana saag can be refrigerated for 5 days. For longer shelf life, freeze it. To reheat simply allow it to thaw and then reheat it in the microwave or stovetop in a pan.
Did you enjoy this protein-packed vegetarian curry? Here are some more Indian vegetarian recipes to try:
- Daal Makhani – Copy cat Madras Lentils Recipe
- Spinach Dal & Rice – Creamy lentils with rice cooked pot in pot
- Chana Masala – A classic restaurant fav dish
- Curried Black-eyed peas – Easy Instant Pot Recipe
- Creamy Dill Lentils – Best way to enjoy dill with lots of garlic
Instant Pot Chana Saag
- 1 15 oz canned chickpeas rinsed and drained, **
- 1 tablespoon ghee or oil for vegan
- 1 small yellow onion finely diced
- 1 teaspoon ginger grated
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder or paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 medium tomato diced
- ⅓ cup water **
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon aamchoor powder dry mango powder or 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4-6 cups fresh baby spinach chopped
- Turn Instant Pot to saute mode and heat ghee. Add onions and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes with a glass lid on.
- Add ginger, garlic, cumin powder, turmeric, red chili powder, and salt. Mix well.
- Add tomatoes and mix everything together. Add chickpeas and water. Mix well.
The following step to cook pot in pot rice is optional
- Close Instant Pot with pressure valve to sealing position. Pressure cook for 4 minutes.
- Allow 5-minute natural pressure release or if you have time Natural Pressure Release works too. Open the Instant Pot and set it on Saute mode.
- Add garam masala and dry mango powder. Add Spinach. Mix everything together and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Serve hot with rice or Parathas.
- 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.
- For low carb options serve with cauliflower rice.
- Soak 1 cup dry chickpeas in warm water overnight. Drain the water.
- Add an extra ½ cup of water and increase the pressure cook to 25 minutes followed by a 10-minute natural pressure release.
- You can also make pot-in-pot brown rice when using soaked chickpeas as they have a similar cook time to brown rice. Add 1 cup of rinsed and drained brown rice, 1.5 cups of water to a stainless steel pot, and place over the tall trivet.