Meatless Monday

Saag Paneer – Spinach with Indian Cheese

I love the Food Network.  Left to my own devices I would  watch it for hours and hours on end.  I am not often left to my  own devices so usually I watch the Food Network when I am folding laundry, changing the sheets on the bed or involved in some other equally stimulating household chore.

The other day, when involved in the ever stimulating task of putting clothes away, I turned it on and there was Aarti Sequeira.  I was hooked immediately since she is one of my favorites.  She was cooking Saag Paneer – Spinach with Indian Cheese.  I love Saag Paneer.  I immediately thought MEATLESS MONDAY!!

I really like Indian food but generally don’t attempt cooking it myself.  I decided that I had to try this dish since Aarti made it look so easy and I needed a new meatless dish to add to my repertoire – one can only eat so many eggs on a Monday night.  I righteously decided that I would make it from scratch,  including the cheese.

The recipe was not difficult, just a bit time consuming.  I did some of the prep work yesterday and completed the dish today after work.  I am not the fasted cook ever so we didn’t have dinner until almost 8:00 PM, but my husband knows better than to rush me.  I am lucky because he will eat pretty much anything I put in front of him.

The cheese was amazing and very easy to make.  It was very delicate with a hint of a lemony flavor.  Firm enough to pan fry as was called for in the recipe and when marinated it picked up the flavors of the turmeric and cayenne it was marinated in.  It had a nice “tooth” to it and made a good meat substitute.  The dish was visually appealing with its bright green spinach and golden cheese.

Even though I had to tamper with the recipe a bit (it is impossible for me to EVER make a recipe exactly as it is written) the dish was very tasty.  I used 2% low fat milk instead of whole milk, cut down on the oil  a bit and used ground cardamom instead of pods (since I couldn’t find them).  I am not sure that it tasted exactly like Aarti’s did, but it tasted good and that is close enough for me.  My house smelled amazing – sweet, spicy and exotic – while I was cooking and afterward.

I served the dish with brown rice and a salad for my Meatless Monday meal.  If you like Indian food and are looking for a good first dish to attempt at home, I would recommend  this Saag Paneer.   Thank You Aarti!


  1. I hear you about Food Network. That thing sucks me in… but I don’t even have a TV. I watch it on the computer. I made a lasagna last night from Food Network (Paula Deen).

    I am *so* impressed that you made saag. That is definitely my most favorite Indian dish. hmmmmm, I’m feeling some inspiration to try making it, too! Good to know about your cardamom substitute because I have no idea what/where pods would be either.

    Ok, perhaps I shall attempt. Wish me luck!!