kale saag with chickpea & tofu vegan gluten free
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4.5 from 2 votes

kale saag with chickpea & tofu vegan gluten free

A healthy saag that can be enjoyed all year long with a side of roti or rice. Vegan and gluten free.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: main
Cuisine: Indian, Punjabi
Servings: 6 -8 servings
Calories: 190kcal
Author: Khushboo


  • For steaming
  • 3 cups water
  • 5 cups washed and roughly chopped Kale leaves approx.
  • 4 cups washed and roughly chopped Spinach approx.
  • For cooking.
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil *
  • 1 tablespoon ghee *
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated garlic *
  • 2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger*
  • 1/4 cup fresh tomato puree
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion.
  • 2 green chilies deseeded*
  • Spices needed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Pinch of hing/ asafoeteida
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 /2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoon sugar *
  • 2 tablespoon lightly roasted yellow corn flour/ cornmeal / makki ka atta
  • ¼ cup water or more if needed.
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh Lemon juice to taste
  • 1 cup pan fried cubed firm tofu *
  • 1 cup boiled chickpeas *


  • Let's start with the blanching method.
  • In a big cooking pot bring 3 cups water to boil. Add in salt , few drops of lemon juice .
  • To the boiling water slowly add in the kale and spinach little by little in batches , pressing it in by back of the spoon.
  • Once the greens are added to the pot , let it steam for 2 minutes until wilted.
  • Meantime prepare a second bowl with 2 cups of water and 8-9 ice cubes. This is done for cold water bath .
  • With a slotted spoon transfer all the wilted greens in the cold water bowl. This will help the greens retain color.
  • In a heavy bottom non stick pan , heat up the oil and ghee.
  • Once warm ,add in cumin and hing .
  • Now add in chopped onions, bay leaf , some salt sprinkle and let it sweat for 2-3 minutes until translucent .
  • Now add in the ginger garlic paste and cook it for a minute.
  • Add in the tomato puree , some more salt and all the spices mentioned except sugar.
  • Let it cook for 2-3 minutes on low heat .
  • Meantime drain greens from cool water and transfer them to a blender. Pulse the wilted greens alongwith the green chilies to form a coarse paste. You may puree it completely according to your preference.
  • Now add the mixture to the pan , stirring continuously as it may splutter.
  • Cover the pan halfway and let the saag cook for 2 minutes .
  • Add corn flour to the water to make a smooth paste. Slowly add it into the pan stirring well .
  • Let it cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Add some water if needed to adjust the consistency .
  • Taste test and add sugar if needed.
  • Now add in the chickpeas and tofu or any desired veggies.
  • Add in a good squeeze of lemon juice .
  • Serve warm with a side of roti or rice.
  • You can top the saag with a dollop of butter too just before serving :)


Use green chilies as per your spice level.

Possible substitutes or additions-

  • If vegan , sub ghee with oil or vegan butter as well.
  • Sub yellow corn flour with 2 tablespoon whole wheat or roasted gram flour or ¼ cup boiled and pureed channa dal / split yellow gram lentil.
  • You can sub store bought ginger garlic paste for fresh.
  • You can serve saag as is or add in tofu , chickpea , paneer , potatoes or medley of mixed veggies .

Helpful tips to make the best Kale Saag -

You do not need a lot of water to steam/boil. The greens will wilt within seconds , hence you can keep on adding the greens in the pot by pressing it down.
If you do not have a slotted spoon ,you may even drain water in a strainer .
Cool water bath help preserve the green color and avoid saag to turn brown.
I have added a bit of sugar as kale is tad bitter.
Mustard oil imparts excellent flavor close to sarsoon ka saag , sub it with regular vegetable oil or butter if needed.
I like to roast yellow corn flour before adding as it gives a nutty flavor to the saag but you can use as is.


Serving: 6g | Calories: 190kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 42mg | Potassium: 445mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5924IU | Vitamin C: 59mg | Calcium: 156mg | Iron: 3mg