Saag Paneer For One

Easy Saag Paneer Recipe – a classic Indian dish made with spinach, a wonderful blend of spices, garlic, ginger, onions and paneer cheese. A flavorful single serving vegetarian recipe.

Spinach and cubes of paneer on a plate with white rice.

This saag paneer is made with plenty of spinach and gets its tang from greek yogurt. It’s filled with onions, garlic and ginger, and we’ve even included an easy recipe for homemade paneer. This is a single serving version of a classic Indian dish.

What Is Saag Paneer?

Saag Paneer happens to be one of my favorite Indian meals. At its simplest, saag paneer is an Indian dish featuring spinach which is cooked in a perfectly spiced blend of onions, garlic, ginger and peppers. The spinach is cooked along with cubes of paneer and served with rice or naan.

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I first made saag paneer at the request of my husband several years ago and it has quickly become one of my family’s favorite dishes. We order it often when we’re dining out at Indian restaurants and my husband absolutely loves it.

RELATED: Single Serving Comfort Food Recipes

A close up of saag paneer on a plate with white rice

Saag paneer is a surprisingly easy meal to make. I’ve taken my family’s recipe and scaled down the ingredients so that this saag paneer recipe serves one. I’ve also included a recipe for homemade paneer which will yield 10 ounces of cheese. When the paneer is cut into cubes, it will yield approximately 3 cups of cheese. I use 1 cup of the cheese for this saag paneer recipe but feel free to use more or less if you like. Paneer will keep well in the refrigerator for up to a week.

You can also purchase paneer in many grocery stores if you would like to skip the process of making your own.

Ingredients

See recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

For this recipe, you will need:

  • Paneer, store-bought or homemade
  • spinach
  • olive oil
  • onions
  • ginger
  • garlic
  • serrano chili or jalapeno pepper
  • butter
  • plain or greek yogurt

What Spices Are In Saag Paneer?

  • turmeric
  • cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground coriander
  • ground cumin
  • garam masala, store bought or homemade

How To Make Saag Paneer

Step 1

How To Make Paneer

Paneer is such an easy cheese to make and so popular in many Indian recipes. You can certainly buy paneer from many grocery stores but it’s actually very easy to make at home.

If you choose to make paneer, you will need:

  • a pot
  • a colander
  • cheesecloth
  • milk
  • lemon juice

You can see the step by step instructions and pictures showing how easy it is to make in my Paneer recipe.

Note: The paneer recipe will yield 10 ounces of cheese or approximately 3 cups of cheese cubes. I use a cup of cubed paneer in this saag paneer recipe but feel free to use more if you like. When the cubes of paneer are tossed in the spices and fried in the skillet, they taste amazing and you might find yourself snacking on them as you make the rest of the dish. You can also find paneer at many grocery stores.

Paneer will keep well if covered and refrigerated for up to a week.

a blue plate filled with paneer cheese

Step 2

Marinate cubes of the paneer in the spices and olive oil.

Step 3

Pan-fry the paneer for about 2-3 minutes per side, then remove the cheese from the pan and set it aside.

Cubes of paneer cooking in oil in a frying pan.

The rest of the recipe comes together quickly.

Step 4

Cook chopped onions, ginger, garlic, and serrano chili in a little olive oil. It slowly cooks for about 15 minutes filling your kitchen with the most incredible aroma.

When the onion mixture is the color of caramel, add in the spices.

Chopped onions and garlic cooking in a pan.

One of the spices I use in this saag paneer recipe is garam masala.

Garam masala is an important spice blend also used in many Indian recipes.  It’s sometimes hard for me to find a jar of it in my grocery and when I do, it tends to be a bit expensive. So, I make my own. You can find the recipe for garam masala HERE.

In addition to using garam masala in saag paneer, I also sprinkle it over chicken and fish. It’s wonderful!  

I would encourage you to make your own and keep it in your pantry. This recipe makes 1/4 cup of garam masala.

A small bowl of homemade garam masala

Step 5

Along with the garam masala, add in coriander and cumin and let the mixture cook for about a minute before adding in the spinach.

The spinach wilts and cooks along with the other ingredients.

Step 6

Finally, stir in a little yogurt.

Serve with naan or rice.  Enjoy!

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients left over from this saag paneer recipe, you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving recipes:

What To Serve With Saag Paneer

For more information on the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page.

For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

Recipe

Saag paneer with rice served on a white plate

Saag Paneer For One

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: vegetarian
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 601kcal
Author: Joanie Zisk

Ingredients

PANEER

  • cheesecloth
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

SAAG PANEER

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil , divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped serrano chili or jalapeno pepper , seeds removed
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 3 cups spinach , loosely packed
  • 2 tablespoons plain or greek yogurt

Instructions

  • TO MAKE THE PANEER
  • Line a colander with a large double layer of cheesecloth and place it in the sink.
  • Add the milk to a large pot and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Stir frequently to avoid burning the bottom.
  • Pour in the lemon juice and reduce the heat to low. You should immediately see the milk curds. Using a spoon, gently guide the curds to the center of the pot, making sure they don’t break up.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and carefully pour the contents into the cheesecloth lined colander.
  • Gently rinse with cool water and squeeze out any excess water.
  • Add the salt to the curds and stir very gently.
  • Grab the ends of the cheesecloth and twist the ball of cheese to squeeze out any additional water.
  • Place the ball of cheese onto a large round plate and set another plate on top. Weigh the second plate down with a few cans of beans or something of similar weight.
  • Place the plate of cheese in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Remove cheese from the refrigerator and cut into cubes. Use 1 cup of cubed paneer for this recipe.
    Note: The paneer recipe will yield 10 ounces of cheese or approximately 3 cups of cheese cubes. I use 1 cup of cubed paneer in this saag paneer recipe but feel free to use more if you like. When the cubes of paneer are tossed in the spices and fried in the skillet, they taste amazing and you might find yourself snacking on them as you make the rest of the dish. You can also find paneer at many grocery stores.
    Paneer will keep well if covered and refrigerated for up to a week.
  • TO MAKE THE SAAG PANEER
  • Mix together the turmeric, cayenne pepper, salt, cinnamon, and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil together in a medium sized bowl. Stir in the cubes of paneer.
  • Set the paneer aside so the cubes marinate about 20 minutes.
  • Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a medium-sized skillet on medium-high heat. Add the marinated paneer to the pan and spoon in any remaining marinade. Cook the paneer on one side for 2-3 minutes, then flip the paneer so the other side browns and cooks another 2 minutes. Remove the paneer from the pan and transfer to a plate.
  • Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Add the onions, ginger, garlic and chili to the pan. Cook the mixture until it's the color of caramel, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the butter to the pan. After the butter melts, stir in the coriander, cumin and garam masala. Cook stirring for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the spinach and 1/4 cup water. Cook 5 minutes.
  • Remove pan from the heat. Stir in yogurt.
  • Add the paneer. Return pan to the stove, cover and cook on low about 5 minutes more. Taste and season with salt, if necessary.
  • Serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 601kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 74g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Cholesterol: 113mg | Sodium: 2003mg | Potassium: 1907mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 54g | Vitamin A: 10403IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 1235mg | Iron: 4mg
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The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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16 thoughts on “Saag Paneer For One”

  1. This sounds great, but you didn’t include how much paneer is needed if I buy it! And if I make it, do I use it all?

    1. Jen,
      The paneer recipe included within the saag paneer recipe will yield 10 ounces of cheese or approximately 3 cups of cheese cubes. I use 1 cup of cubed paneer in this saag paneer recipe because I love a lot of crispy paneer in my dish. Feel free to use less if you like. Homemade paneer will keep well when covered in the refrigerator for up to a week to use in other dishes.

  2. Nicola @ Happy Healthy Motivated

    I love saag paneer. But I’ve never made it for myself. That’s all about to change!

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