Make Ahead

Saag Paneer Salad

July 25, 2011
Author Notes

I love saag paneer, but during the height of summer I also like to savor the flavors of fresh greens and sweet cherry tomatoes, so I decided to create a "raw" saag paneer salad: spinach and cherry tomatoes topped with cubed paneer cheese sauteed in a jalapeno, ginger, and spice-infused oil. I made this salad with bietola greens from my Farmers market, which are a dark Tuscan beet green, but it would also be delicious, and more authentically saag, made with spinach leaves. —Fairmount_market

  • Serves 4 as a side salad, 2 as an entree
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bunch bietola or spinach
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 inch ginger root
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 ounces paneer cheese
  • 1 green onion, large outer leaves removed
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil such as grape seed
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
In This Recipe
  1. Wash the bietola or spinach, slice the leaves into 1/4 inch strips, and discard the stems. Wash and halve the cherry tomatoes. Toss the greens and tomatoes with the lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground black pepper in a large serving bowl.
  2. Seed the jalapeno. Peel the ginger and the garlic. Mince all three finely (you could do this in a food processor or mini-chopper). Chop the paneer cheese into 1/4 inch cubes. Chop the white and tender inner green leaves of the green onion into narrow rings.
  3. Just before you are ready to serve the salad, heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, add the black mustard seeds, fenugreek, and cumin seeds and let them sizzle for 1 minute. Add the jalapeno, ginger, and garlic mix and cook for a minute. Add the paneer cheese cubes and a pinch of salt and saute for a minute. Add the green onions and cook for a minute. Add the garam masala and saute for a final minute, until the cheese is well coated with the spices and the oil is bubbling and fragrant.
  4. Pour the spiced cheese cubes and oil over the greens and tomatoes. Toss and serve.

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I'm a biology professor and mother of two, and in my (limited) free time I love to cook, which is much more forgiving than laboratory science. Last year I helped start a farmers market in my neighborhood, and to promote it, I created a food blog: I enjoy the challenge of coming up with recipes for local, seasonal ingredients and finding fun ways to cook with my children.