Chicken saag, or chicken saagwala, is a popular North Indian dish which is essentially a combination of spicy chicken and spinach.
If you have already tried chicken saag in a restaurant, you will know this is seriously tasty, and the good news is that it can be very healthy.
In fact, I have grown up to love and appreciate this recipe from a fitness perspective because it’s a high in protein, macro-friendly and budget-friendly.
There are many variations of the chicken saag recipe which means there is not a right or wrong way to cook this dish providing you use the core ingredients which is simply chicken, the spices, tomatoes and spinach.
What is chicken saag?
Chicken saag is a combination of spicy chicken and spinach which has tons of flavors and is healthy.
When I make this at home, I prefer to keep it quick, easy and use straightforward ingredients which is why you might love this recipe.
Also, this recipe calls for a way to use leftover spinach, and you can use tender chicken thighs or legs, or lean chicken breasts which is a combination of protein and greens.
As this is cooked in so many households, there will be many variations, but I really wanted to focus on ensuring that this recipe can be cooked on a weeknight which is good for meal prep and great for the family.
It ticks all these boxes, and you can combine it with naan bread, rice, flat breads, or you can simply eat it alone.
There reason why there are variations is because saag itself is a classic recipe which is cooked in a certain way. Saag refers to the leafy greens such as spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, basella, fenugreek and dill.
However, I can ensure you that chicken saag is easy to cook, and you can get it right the first time.
- Chicken: You can use chicken breast, thighs, or legs, but it does depend on your preference. For taste, I highly recommend thighs or legs because the chicken will be more tender, and it will taste amazing once combined with the spices and spinach. The chicken breast will be dry, but it is very lean and macro-friendly which can still be a tasty meal prep or the week.
- Spice Mix: The spice mix list does look very long, but if you regularly use spices and have these stored in your pantry, it will be easier to prepare. The spice mix consists of cumin, coriander, red chili, garam masala, turmeric, fenugreek, ginger, and garlic paste.
- Tomatoes: You can use freshly chopped tomatoes or canned tomatoes for this recipe. I would advise using fewer canned tomatoes (half a can).
- Spinach: You can use fresh, frozen, or puréed spinach. For this recipe, I simply added a bag of baby spinach leaves last and covered my saucepan for five minutes.
Other ingredients you can add:
- Potato: If you want to make “chicken saag aloo”, then add potatoes which will certainly feel heavier.
- Chickpeas: I have never added chickpeas to this dish, but I have seen chicken saag with chickpeas in a restaurant which looks intriguing.
- Lentils: Also, I have never added lentils, but I have also seen chicken saag with lentils which I imagine would taste wonderful, and it also has extra protein.
How to make chicken saag
Sauté the onions, garlic and ginger.
Add the diced chicken breasts and fry on medium-high heat.
Add the key spices and tomatoes.
Cover and allow it to slow cook. This would be a great recipe for the instant pot too.
Add the fresh spinach leaves. Use much as possible and cover for 5 minutes.
Remove from cover and stir. This is how your chicken saag should look.
Frequently asked questions
How many calories in Chicken saag?
According to MyFitnessPal app, each portion of chicken saag was 255 calories (kcal) which is very low but once you combine it with a naan bread or rice, it will be around 400 calories. This is why portion control can work in your favor if you are following a specific meal plan.
Is chicken saag keto friendly?
Generally, chicken saag is keto friendly and low-carb. However, we often eat this with rice or naan bread which balances out the meal. If you want to keep it low-carb or keto friendly, you will need to combine this with a low-carb rice or naan bread such as blended cauliflower or almond flour naan. Also, if you follow another chicken saag recipe, there are variations which may include lentils or chickpeas. This recipe is just spicy chicken thighs with spinach and chopped tomatoes which is keto-friendly alone.
Is chicken saag healthy?
Chicken saag is and can be healthy – even if you are using thighs or legs. It is a great way to use more spinach and leafy greens, or even throw in extra legumes. If your goal is to make this recipe very healthy, I would advise using chicken breasts which are lean and high in protein. Do bear in mind, if you are counting calories, combining this with rice or naan bread can increase the calories per meal. This is why portion control and meal prep can help keep this recipe under 400 calories.
Is this recipe gluten free?
The chicken saag recipe on this website is gluten free.
Other ways you can cook this recipe?
Use an instant pot. This is a great way to make a chicken saag slow cooker recipe because it can be made in one pot and left alone.
Can you reheat Chicken Saag?
Yes you can, and chicken saag is amazing for meal prep and leftovers. It tastes better the next day because you taste more flavor. Even if you are using chicken breasts, which is renowned to be dry when reheated, you will still get great flavors because the spices, tomatoes and spinach balances it out. You can reheat chicken saag in the microwave for 2 minutes or for 5 minutes in a saucepan – just ensure the chicken is piping hot.
How long does it last in the fridge? Can you freezer chicken saag?
Ensure ingredients are fresh and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Yes, you can freeze chicken saag up to 4 months too, and it is best advised to allow this to defrost overnight before reheating.
Love chicken recipes? Why not try these!
- Peri Peri Chicken Thighs
- Cheesy Chicken Buffalo Pasta
- One-Pot Spanish Chicken Rice
- Healthy Chicken Shish Kebab
Chicken saag, or chicken saagwala, is a popular North Indian dish which is essentially a combination of spicy chicken and spinach. If you have already tried chicken saag in a restaurant, you will know this is seriously tasty and the good news is that it can be healthy too. Here in this recipe post is a homemade version which does not require complex ingredients and this is a one-pot recipe which is very straightforward. This is a great way to use leftover spinach and you can use tender chicken thighs or legs, or lean chicken breasts which is a combination of protein and greens.
- 1.3 pound chicken thighs
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp garlic paste
- 1 tbsp ginger paste
- 1 cup water
- 0.5 pound baby spinach leaves
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp red chili powder
- 1 1/2 tsp dried fenugreek
- Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large saucepan which is on medium-high heat.
- Add the chopped onions, followed by the garlic and ginger paste, stir to combine for 5 minutes.
- Keep the heat high and add the chicken thighs, and season with salt and black pepper. Cook for 5 minutes and reduce the heat to medium-high.
- Add the spices. Stir to combine. Add the chopped tomatoes and cover the saucepan for 15 minutes on medium-low heat to allow it simmer.
- Remove cover and add 1 cup of water. After you stir to combine, add the baby spinach leaves and cover on medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
- Remove cover and stir to combine. It will be ready to serve.
- You can refrigerate this up to 3-4 days and reheat it for 2 minutes in the microwave or saucepan.
- You can freeze this up to 4 months.
- Nutritional information below is only for the chicken saag only.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 255 kcal
- Sugar: 4.5 g
- Sodium: 679 mg
- Fat: 9.1 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.9 g
- Carbohydrates: 10.2 g
- Fiber: 4.4 g
- Protein: 34.4 g
Keywords: Chicken Saag, Chicken Saag Recipe, Recipe for Chicken Saag, Chicken Saagwala