This delicious vegan Saag Aloo (Spinach and Potato Curry) is utterly delicious. Saag means spinach and Aloo means potato, so combined they are Aloo Saag, or Saag Aloo! This classic dish is hearty, flavourful and perfect for anyone who loves curry but doesn't love loads of spice.
This vegan Saag Aloo is easy to make as well as being utterly delicious. We often make it as part of our 'fakeaway' dinners for when we crave something Indian but also want the benefits of home cooking. Traditional Saal Aloo would have ghee or clarified butter in it, however, we keep this simple and vegan by using some neutral oil. I like to serve it with my favourite Creamy Tomato Dal or with a heartier curry such as this Courgette Curry with Chickpeas.
Spinach: The spinach (saag) in this vegan saag aloo is probably the trickiest thing in the whole dish to make, but don't be alarmed! It just takes LOADS of spinach to create the dish, because as we all know, spinach just disappears when cooked. If you can find mature spinach instead of baby spinach, it won't wilt down so dramatically. You could also use frozen spinach, as this is already pre-cooked it just needs defrosting in a hot pan for a while to use.
Potatoes: In terms of the variety of potato (aloo) that you need, a floury style potato is great, as they disintegrate and soften into the whole curry, thickening it and becoming infused with the spices. However, you could also easily use waxy potatoes, just chop them up a little more so they absorb the flavours.
Spices: Mustard Seed, Cumin, Garam Masala and Nigella (kalonji/black mustard seed)
The key to really great flavour with this curry, and indeed with all curries, is to use the freshest spices you can find.Spices really do lose their flavour after lying around in a cupboard for years. I like to shop at small Indian or other ethnic greengrocers. Not only are the spices better quality, but they are also SO much cheaper, so you can use them generously in your cooking. We also love (and use) the spices from my favourite spice merchants Steenbergs
See below for a step by step of how to make the vegan Saag Aloo Curry.
- Start by peeling and cooking the potatoes.
- Add oil to a large pan, and gently cook your onion & garlic until it is translucent. Add the ground spices and toast until fragrant.
- Now tip in the spinach. Keep adding it as it wilts!
- Now add in the cooked potatoes and let cook for a little while.
1) Peel and gently boil the potatoes
2)In a large frying pan sweat down the spinach. Put aside.
3) Fry off the onion, garlic and ginger. Add the spices and toast so they become fragrant.
4) Add the potatoes and spinach to the spices and gently cook.
5. Temper extra spices in a pan with vegetable oil to release their oils and flavour.
6 Add the oil and tempered spices to the finished Saag Aloo and serve.
HINT: The element that really elevates this vegan curry is the tempered spices that are added at the end. Tempering simply means to gently fry, which releases the fragrances of the spices into the oil. It really does create an extra layer of flavour that this mild potato and spinach curry just loves.
This curry just gets better the longer it is cooked and is even more delicious if made the day before. Perfect for leftover lovers!
You can keep this curry for up to a week in the fridge. It also freezes well. I sometimes add extra spinach to mine if it has been frozen to 'brighten' up the flavour and colour.
I like floury potatoes in this Saag Aloo. But I have also made it with smaller new potatoes and it turned out delicious.
Absolutely. Just defrost the spinach and add into the pan. It's really great to have extra frozen spinach in the freezer to add into curries and soups for an easy way to add nutrients to your food!
Absolutely if that is what you have to hand. The outcome will be slightly different, however the spices will really help make the dish delicious.
Fresh spices will make this curry more delicious. They have more fragrant oils that deteriorate as they age. Try your local ethnic/world food stores for the best value spices.
This is a mild curry that goes well with spicier curries. It does contain garam masala which can be a little bit spicy, so use less of that if you are concerned about the spice level. If you like your food spicier, add a whole chilli in when tempering the spices!
This simple potato and spinach curry has loads of nutrients from the spinach and good starch from the potato. It's cheap and healthy as part of a balanced meal.
This Vegan Saag Aloo recipe is great as it can easily be made into other variations!
For Saag Aloo Gobi: add a cup of fresh or frozen peas (gobi are peas)
For a vegan twist on Aloo Paneer, add in cubes of my homemade tofu halloumi. Add as much as you like. You might want to increase the spinach element if making this.
🍛 Serving Ideas
The ideal accompaniment to this easy Spinach and Potato Curry are some flatbreads and some daal, plus maybe some pakora. Take a look at some of our favourite recipes that you might like to complement this!
Vegan Saag Aloo (Spinach and Potato Curry)
For accuracy, I measure all ingredients in metric as standard, then convert and test the recipe for American cup measurements etc.
(Heads up Aussie and UK readers- your measurements in cups are sometimes different, so please use metric or check you have the correct cup and spoon type!!)
For the main curry
- 1 kg (2 ¼ lb) potatoes (Floury about 2 pounds weight)
- 800 g (1 ¾ lb) spinach (25 cups fresh or 500g frozen )
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (a good thumbsized knob)
- 1 small onion
- 1 small chilli (leave out if you want a milder curry)
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tbap mustard seed
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoon rapeseed oil
- salt and pepper to taste
For the tempered spices
- 1 tablespoon mustard seed
- 1 tablespoon nigella seeds (also known as kalonji or black onion seed)
- 2 tablespoon rapeseed oil
For the curry
- First peel and boil the potatoes in salted water1 kg potatoes
- Now chop the onion and garlic finely, and grate the ginger1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, 1 small onion, 5 cloves garlic
- In a large pan, start by heating the oil, then add the onion and let cook until translucent1 small onion
- Add the garlic and all the other spices. Sizzle for a minute until they start to become fragrant1 small chilli, 1 tablespoon garam masala, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1 tbap mustard seed, 5 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoon rapeseed oil, salt and pepper to taste
- Add the spinach and wilt it down. You will probably have to add it in batches. Keep adding until all the spinach is in the pan. Add a good pinch of salt here800 g spinach
- Put the lid on the pan and let it cook for at least 10 minutes, be sure not to let it burn or catch. Add a tiny bit of water if it looks like drying out. The longer you cook the spinach in the spices, the more delicious and unctious it becomes!
- Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and add to the spinach mixture. Cook another 10 minutes. (or longer. Again, the longer you cook this, the more the potatoes soften into the dish and become even more delicious.
- Taste for seasoning and add salt if you need it .
For the Tempered Spices
- In a pan, sizzle the mustard and nigella seeds in the oil until they become fragrant and 'pop' slightly.2 tablespoon rapeseed oil
- Just before serving, tip the fragrant oil and spices over the curry.1 tablespoon nigella seeds, 1 tablespoon mustard seed