If you’re familiar with Indian cuisine, you may have had paneer in some of the dishes. Paneer is known as Indian “cottage cheese”, as it has a similar mild flavor. Made from just three ingredients (milk, vinegar, and salt), it’s a modest yet delicious addition to many dishes. It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for good health. It’s not easy to find – I found mine on Amazon. You could also substitute queso or chihuahua cheese in a pinch! This is the perfect mashup of two Indian dishes – saag paneer and chana saag! The richly seasoned tomato sauce is creamy and cozy – a perfect setting for the rest of the ingredients.
The secret is really the sauce – the level of flavor is simply divine! It comes together in a creamy, warm, and perfectly spiced tomato sauce that ties everything together! Once baked to a golden brown, it’s the perfect dish to fill your belly and warm your soul!
- 4 Tbsp. butter or ghee
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, grated (or 1 tsp. ground ginger)
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional - more to taste)
- 2 tsp. garam masala
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 (14 oz) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 5 oz. baby spinach, chopped
- 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 12 oz paneer, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the onion, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the onion is tender, about 10minutes. Stir in the garam masala and chili powder. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Stir, cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add in the tomato sauce and cook for 3 minutes. Add the cream and heat until boiling. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Stir in the spinach, one handful at a time, and cook until wilted. Add the chickpeas. Season again with salt and black pepper.
- Heat oven to 400F.
- Scoop the chickpea mixture into a 9x13 baking dish and spread evenly. Spread the paneer cubes over the mixture in an even layer.
- Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese has browned a bit, about 20-30 minutes. Serve warm with naan or crusty bread to dip!