Saag with Beet Greens (Ugly but Good)

Saag is traditionally made with spinach and mustard greens, which are braised, blended, and seasoned.
I did not have any spinach/ mustard greens on hand. However, I did have some beautiful bunched beet greens. For the recipe and more pictures, keep reading!

Saag with Beet Greens
Saag with beet greens: the beet greens impart a distinctive red hue

Chopped beet greens, garlic, ginger, onion
Chopped beet greens (top), ginger, garlic, and onion (bottom left to right)
Beet greens were washed and roughly chopped then sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with salt. I cooked the stems first for a few minutes before adding the green leaves. After cooking the greens for about 5 minutes, I added about 2 cups of water, or roughly enough to cover. Then let the whole thing simmer for 20 minutes while I minced the ginger and garlic, and diced the onion.
Cooking saag
Simmering beet greens
This is the perfect time to gather the rest of the ingredients for this recipe, which include: ground turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, and white flour.
When the greens are done, puree them in a food processor or blender with all of the braising liquid. It should form a thick, dark green liquid mass (yum!).
In a hot pan with some oil, add the diced onion and saute until translucent, add garlic and ginger and cook for two minutes, next add the turmeric, coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper. Add the blended beet greens to the onion mixture, sprinkle in a little flour to thicken the mixture, taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
This recipe is good for pretty much any type of greens, I got the recipe from this blog, where she used kale.
Saag and rice
Saag with beet greens: perfect served on top of steamed white rice
The taste test: 3.5/5
I imagine this dish would be very comforting on a cold winter/ fall day. However unappealing it appears, I’m a huge sucker for soft, mushy foods so this was perfect. Any bitterness from the greens is long gone from the braising, and the spices add a nice touch.
Saag with Beet Greens
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp oil, butter, or ghee (divided)
  • 1 bunch beet greens, washed and chopped
  • 1 small onion, fine dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, grated or minced
  • 1/2 tsp EACH ground turmeric, coriander seeds, and cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • Salt to taste
Method
Saute beet greens in 2 tbsp of the oil/ butter/ ghee for 5 minutes, season with some salt (1/4 tsp will do for now). Cover with water, bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes. Using an immersion blender/ food processor/ blender, puree the greens with its braising liquid until a thick green liquid forms.
In another saute pan over medium-high heat, cook the onion in 1 tbsp of the oil/ butter/ ghee. When the onion is translucent, add garlic, ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add in the spices and pureed beet greens. Sprinkle with flour to thicken the mixture slightly.
Simmer for 5 more minutes, taste and add more salt as needed. Serve alongside rice or naan for a traditional Indian meal.
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