Sarson ka Saag (Slow Cooker)

Sarson ka Saag by

This slow cooker saag recipe is incredible. It’s so rich, buttery and delicious that you’ll forget you’re eating vegetables. Seriously. It’s THAT good. This recipe is the real deal. It’s how this popular Indian dish should be made. This isn’t just any saag, it’s Sarson ka Saag.

A little background on this dish – Saag just means pureed greens, so when you order this dish in a restaurant, chances are that it’s slightly different at each place. Some will add kale, broccoli, even brussels sprouts to their saag (I’ve even made saag using foraged ramps also known as wild leeks). Many make “Palak Saag” which is saag made with spinach. My favorite saag is authentic Punjabi saag or “Sarson ka Saag” which translates to “saag made with mustard greens.” This Punjabi saag is typically made with mustard greens, some spinach and lots and lots of ghee. There’s no negotiating on the ghee. It’s essential.

This Saag recipe is right up there in awesomeness with my Paleo Butter Chicken. The best part about this traditional recipe is that I didn’t have to “make it Paleo.” It’s Paleo by default.

What I love about this Sarson ka Saag is that it’s so thick and luxurious. Some of you may be wondering if you can make this saag using just spinach – don’t do it. Using spinach alone will make for a thinner saag. The mustard greens thicken it up and make for much better texture. I use an equal portion of mustard greens and spinach but you can add more mustard greens if you prefer.

Saag is traditionally eaten with Makki ki Roti aka a flatbread made with corn. I like eating this saag with my Spicy Indian Flatbread but you can also use my Paleo Naan or Paleo Roti recipes.

Once the saag is ready, you can mix in some paleo paneer, meat or potatoes at the end if you’d like. Just don’t forget to serve it with a dollop of ghee on top!

Authentic Saag recipe made in a slow cooker! Buttery, Rich, Delicious & Paleo!

Like Indian food? Then be sure to check out my Paleo Indian eCookbook: South Asian Persuasion! It has 100+ Paleo Indian Recipes (gulab jamun, anyone?) :)

4.7 from 3 reviews
Sarson ka Saag (Slow Cooker)
  • 2 tablespoons grassfed ghee
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2-inch knob ginger, minced
  • 2 heaping tablespoons or 7 cloves garlic, minced (I used my garlic press)
  • 1-2 Serrano peppers, minced (remove seeds/rib if you don't like it spicy!)
  • 2 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder (or a little less if using cayenne)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) fresh baby spinach (large container), rinsed
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) chopped mustard leaves (stem removed), rinsed
add later:
  1. Add 2 tablespoons ghee, onion, ginger, garlic, Serrano pepper, and spices to your crock pot. Set on high for 1 hour.
  2. While that’s cooking, grab a very large pot. Add the mustard and spinach leaves to the large pot - then fill with water (do not put lid on pot!*).
  3. Bring the pot to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Drain leaves and let them cool.
  4. Once cool, place leaves in a blender and blend to your desired consistency (add a little water as needed to help you blend).
  5. Place the blended leaves into your crock pot, reduce heat to low, put lid on and cook for 2 hours.
  6. After 2 hours, add 1 tablespoon ghee, garam masala and pinch of kasoori/fenugreek leaves. Mix well and let this cook for another hour on low.
  7. Serve this saag with a heaping spoonful of ghee on top!
The reason you don’t want to place a cover on the pot while boiling the greens is because doing so will cause the pretty green color to fade.


    • says

      Hi Michele, I’m not sure if you saw my note in the blog post about using just spinach – it will likely be much thinner if you don’t use mustard greens. Let me know how it turns out!

  1. megan says

    Hi Ashley!
    Cave Girl Eats posted a link to your butter chicken recipe (looks amazing!) and now I think I’m obsessed with your blog. I’m making a list of recipes to try right now!
    This looks wonderful, but on step 3, I think there is a typo. Did you mean to say cook or cool?

    Love the blog!

    • says

      Hi Megan, thanks so much for the awesome comment – so glad you love my blog! And, a big thanks for catching my typo :) Definitely let me know what you think of any recipes that you try!

  2. Alexis says

    I have an enormous bag of baby kale in my fridge, but I can’t find any mustard greens right now… Any thoughts on subbing baby kale for the mustard greens?

      • says

        It was awesome!

        I used lacinato kale (dinosaur kale) for the mustard greens. I will try to find mustard greens to see how the flavor changes. I just used what I had on hand. Left out the serrano peppers too since my two-year-old was eating it too.

        Totally making this dish weekly. It is easy, nutritious, and delicious. I actually liked the spaced out steps since I have two little ones. I also didn’t have to worry about it burning.

  3. Patty says

    I just love this recipe. I got mustard greens from my CSA and I didn’t have any spinach so I used beet greens and turnip greens with the mustard greens. It turned out great!

  4. Amy Pinto says

    I had a ton of fresh spinach (by fresh I mean picked that day from the farm down the road) so I knew I wanted to make something special out of it. I didn’t have mustard greens so I used collard greens. Not sure if the flavor came out how it’s “supposed” to, but it sure is tasty!! The texture seems good, not thin at all. My slow cooker is on the fritz too, so I cooked on low in a large cast iron crock pot and it worked too. Had it with dinner last night and again for breakfast with scrambled egg and your naan!!

    • says

      Amy, that’s awesome! I’m so glad you used your super fresh spinach for this saag recipe! I love the idea of adding collards – I bet they helped thicken the dish. Thanks for letting me know how it turned out :)

  5. joanna says

    i’m making this right now and the house smells amazing!! my sister- who never eats anything remotely paleo- commented on the how good it smelled when she got home. i was shocked at how much 2 lbs of greens cooks down!! after i blended it in my vitamix, it only filled half the blender. i had to use dandelion greens because i went to 3 stores for mustard greens and the produce guys didn’t even know what they were haha i’m hoping the dandelion greens work though. will comment back after i tried it!

    • joanna says

      well, it’s officially awesome. the dandelion greens worked perfectly. it is so flavorful, thick, and creamy!!! i’ve never had saag before so i can’t compare it to others, but i can’t believe how there isn’t cream in here- just a few tbsp of butter. it’s still super luxurious!

  6. April says

    This is a fabulous recipe! The first time I made it, I used mustard greens and cayann but my family does not like any degree of spice. I loved it so much that I tried again. This time I used whatever greens i had ( turnip greens, radish greens, dandelion greens) and no cayann. Everyone was happy. This is a fabulous recipe! Thank you!!!

  7. Keithjw says

    For this dish, I found that a good mix for the greens (to provide the saag with a nice rich flavor and texture) turned out to be:

    50% spinach
    50% beet greens, curly kale, bok choy

    The Russian kale also works nicely. The bok choy really adds a nice flavor. With these greens, the texture came out very, very thick.

    In addition I added a tbs or so of a homemade roasted red curry paste (made with roasted garlic, peppers, ginger, roasted ground spices, and a little sundried tomato). You can also use lemon grass if you have it on hand.

  8. Ashley says

    This is delish! I’ve used several types of greens and it always turns out well. Ashley, if you come out with a cookbook I’ll buy it! I really love all of your dishes! I make them all the time now.

  9. pam says

    This recipe was AWSOME! This is my first time making Indian food and it was complete success. We made the saag, but cooked it an hour less than stated (we were really hungry). We also made the naan in smaller rounds and filled them with saag and a bit of butter, then folded them over. It made excellent finger food that my kids loved! Yummy!

  10. Lisa says

    So I plan to review everything I make of yours, it’s ALL THAT GOOD! Hope you don’t mind :) LOL.
    This past Tuesday was my second time making this delicious Saag. I am a holistic health coach and have been following a gluten free/Paleo lifestyle for two years now, and I am seriously never disappointed when I make your recipes! Neither is my husband! As Indian food lovers, this Saag beats the Saag Paneer we get at our local Indian restaurant that we LOVE!!! So kudos to you :) I follow the recipe exactly, always using two full Serrano peppers and love the level of heat. Of course, we make Naan to go with it. This is a winner! As is your butter chicken, but I will review that one separately. So grateful to have been introduced to your blog Ashley!

    • says

      Lisa, I appreciate that A LOT, thank you!! I’m so happy to hear that you like my recipes so much :) Your comments (this and the carrot cake) definitely made my morning and hopefully they’ll encourage other readers to try out my recipes!

  11. Alex says

    Hi! I went to the grocery store and they had two types of mustard greens-curly mustard greens and chinese mustard greens. Which do you use? Thanks so much!


    • says

      Alex, you are lucky to have varieties to choose from at your grocery store! You can use either – I use whatever I can get my hands on. Out of the two, I’d say go with curly – but that’s only because I’m not sure I’ve tried Chinese mustard greens. I bet they’re both good. Let me know what you think of the saag :)

  12. Cicely E. says

    I am in love with you and this blog! As a formulator and holistic health practitioner, it’s difficult to find the perfect food source/site for our clients, as we don’t have time to always develop new recipes. Your meals are amazing as is, and are totally adaptable which I truly appreciate. I am about 85% paleo now and you have helped my transition! I first fell in love with your naan. Nuff said! Thank you and I will be sharing your blog and recipes, with credit of course, to my clients. You also inspired me to create my own blog. Love and blessings!

  13. Randi G says

    Like so many others, your 3-ingredient naan was my gateway recipe into your blog. And *so* glad this was my second! It was my first time using kasoori methi and realized it makes all the difference and now looking forward to using it in your other recipes. Thanks so much!

    • says

      Randi, I’m so glad you liked the saag! And, I completely agree – just a pinch of kasoori methi really does make a difference. I hope you’ll let me know what you think of my other recipes :)

  14. Al says

    Hey, this is the next thing from your blog I’m going to make. Do you think the slow cooking in the crockpot is essential to the flavor? I can do the kind of crockpot recipe where you leave on at home all day or overnight and just stop after 6 or 8 hours, but with this it looks like you need to check back with it after 1, 3 and 4 hours. Have you ever just cooked it in a regular big pot on the at higher heat for a shorter period of time? I know with things like pork shoulder you really can’t shortcut the long slow cooking time, but I wondered if you had alternative shortcut instructions for this.

    • says

      Al, you can make this in a big pot and just cook it until you like the flavor. Saag is a really forgiving recipe. You can also add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker and cook it on low for 6-8 hours. I wrote out the directions like this because this is how I like to make it – I cook the onions first to add a little more flavor and then add extra ghee and garam masala at the end, again for flavor. However you make this, as long as you use the same ingredients, it’ll turn out well :) Let me know what you think after you try it!

      • Al says

        Hi Ashley, thanks for responding. I actually spent last Friday night making this according to your directions. It’s funny…I got through about 11:00 and tried a bowl right out of the slow cooker and thought I had failed. It was really pungent and I thought I had gotten some “off” greens or the spices wrong. I thought to myself…well you might as well put it in the refrigerator and finish it since it’s probably good for you anyway. Then Saturday night after letting it sit in the fridge for a day I tried another bowl and it was great! I finished up the half I didn’t freeze Sunday night and that was even better. Either my taste buds adjusted to the flavor or else sitting in the refrigerator allowed the saag to mellow out. I’m going to take some home to my mother, who’s a great traditional Southern cook. She makes turnip greens and collards all the time, but I bet she’s never had greens like this. I appreciate all the work you put into your recipes and this site. You’ve really helped broaden my horizons.

        • says

          Al, thanks for letting me know how it turned out – I hope your mom likes the recipe! I find that I like a lot of Indian dishes better the next day (especially fish curries). I hope you’ll let me know if you try any other recipes on the site :)

  15. Melissa says

    I’ve made this twice and love it! The second time I made it in my Instant Pot pressure cooker and reduced the times: 1st step – 20 min. 2nd step – 40 min. 3rd step – 20 again. I also used whole smashed garlic cloves which works better than minced in a pressure cooker.

    • says

      Melissa, I love that you made this in an Instant Pot! You can probably just combine all of the steps next time so you don’t have to keep opening/closing the pot. I might have to make a youtube video of this! Thanks for the idea :)

      • says

        How long would you cook it total in a pressure cooker if you combined the steps? Please let me know if you try it and like it in a pressure cooker as well as a slow cooker.

        By the way, we have three dairy intolerant people in my family. The first time I made it with ghee because I know that only the fat is left in the ghee. However, it seemed to not sit well with me. The second time I made it with coconut oil instead. I know that is completely not authentic, but it still did taste really good!

  16. Brooke says

    I am for sure going to try this this weekend, but was wondering if it would work to cook down the greens in the slow cooker and then use a hand blender when they soften… to retain all the benefits of the greens in one pot. So much gets lost from boiling! :) Thanks… excited to explore your site!

  17. Lisa mack says

    Mustard greens are only available in the Indian grocery stores as far as I know and not all through the year. Good to know it can be made with kale as I’ll definitely be doing that.

  18. Marlene says

    Just discovered your blog. I’m not paleo but love Indian food and can’t wait to try this Saag. I have fenugreek seeds but haven’t found the leaves locally, though I’ll keep looking and try to get to the Indian store. Can I sub the toasted and ground seeds in the meantime? Thanks, and I’m looking forward to exploring your blog and recipes.

    • says

      Hi Marlene! Glad you found my blog :) I don’t suggest using the seeds in place of the leaves – the seeds are bitter and don’t make a great substitute. The saag will be good even without the methi/fenugreek leaves. Let me know what you think of the recipe!

  19. says

    This recipe looks amazing! Do you know what the yield is in terms of cups? I’m anticipating if I should scale the recipe up to ensure I have some leftovers. Love your blog!

    • says

      Thanks, Lisa! I’m not sure how many cups this will yield, but I know it always results in plenty of leftovers when I make it for me and my hubby. You can definitely double this but if this is your first time making it, I’d suggest following the recipe exactly!


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