As soon as the weather turns chilly, I crave Indian food non-stop. I love the warmth of the spices, the heartiness of the ingredients, and I’ll ultimately eat anything that is served with a piece of fluffy naan! My favorite meal from my local spot is Saag Chole- basically chickpeas and spinach blended into a super creamy mixture. I’ve tried to recreate it several times at home, but I know that I’m simply not using the quantity of butter and cream the restaurants use, so my result is never quite the same. However, when I saw Half Baked Harvest post her Indian Pumpkin Butter Chickpeas, I thought it was not only seasonal, but GENIUS to use low-calorie pumpkin to add depth of creaminess to a saucy recipe, without the heavy calorie load. Alas, I’ve used a hybrid of Tieghan’s recipe + variations on my favorite Indian takeout to create this Pumpkin Butter Saag Chole, that I’m currently *swooning* over.
Aside from the incredible taste, saag chole is my favorite Indian meal because the chickpeas load the dish with plant-protein and fiber, and the spinach adds a ton of micronutrients- including Vitamin K, A, C, iron, and magnesium. Plus, ginger, garlic, and turmeric not only add a boat load of flavor to the recipe, they’re also powerful immune-system boosters, perfect for colder months when sickness runs rampant. And just in case you’re skeptical, you won’t taste the pumpkin AT ALL, but it does work with the coconut milk to add a silky smooth consistency to the sauce of this Pumpkin Butter Saag Chole.
The best part about this Pumpkin Butter Saag Chole is it makes A LOT- which is great for those trying to cook-once-eat-many-times, as it can be served as a meal on its own, or even a side dish alongside another protein source. Like I mention in the instructions, it’s also a meal that gets better with age, as the flavor has more time to develop, making it the perfect lunch to eat throughout the week! (If the sauce gets thick from the coconut milk being refrigerated, feel free to stir in some extra water, broth, or unsweetened plant milk to thin things out, or simply adding heat should bring it back to it’s original consistency!)
All I have to left to say about this creamy, cozy, perfectly-seasonal meal is… don’t forget the naan 🙂 Enjoy!
Pumpkin Butter Saag Chole
Creamy, cozy, and nutritionally loaded...Pumpkin Butter Saag Chole is the one-pan meal you need to make this fall!
- 2T olive or avocado oil
- 2 medium yellow onions - diced
- 6 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 inches fresh ginger - peeled and minced
- 1 1/2 T garam masala
- 1T yellow curry powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp sea salt - to taste
- 1- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 can pure pumpkin puree
- 2- 14.5 ounce cans chickpeas - drained and rinsed
- 1 14.5 ounce can full-fat coconut milk
- 12-ounces fresh spinach - chopped small; can add more if you'd like too
- 2-3T sweetener of choice - honey, stevia, brown sugar, Vitafiber...sweeten to taste
- 2T lime juice
- cayenne pepper - to taste
- black pepper - to taste
- 2T avocado oil
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro - roughly chopped, more to taste
- Heat a large sauté pan with 2T of oil. Add the diced onion and sauté 5-8 minutes until soft and starting to turn golden brown. While the onions are cooking, combine the spices- garam masala through sea salt- in a small dish, set aside. Add the crushed garlic and ginger to the onions, cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add the spices and toss with the the onion mixture for 1-2 minutes to "toast the spices".
- Add the entire can of diced tomatoes with the juice, pumpkin, coconut milk, and drained chickpeas to the pan. Stir to evenly combine. If you're in a hurry, you can cook on high for 5-8 minutes, until the chickpeas are soft. If you have time, cook over low heat 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, chop the spinach into small pieces. Stir into the chickpeas, allowing to wilt after each addition if your pan is getting full! Add sweetener (if using). Again, can allow to simmer slowly for another 5-15 minutes to blend the flavors more, or continue to the next step.
- Stir in the lime juice, avocado oil, and cilantro. Add cayenne pepper, black pepper, and adjust sea salt to taste. Serve immediately alongside naan or over rice OR allow to simmer until you're ready to eat. This is a meal that gets better as it sits/simmers and the flavors have more time to mingle! Feel free to continue adding citrus, sweetener, and/or cilantro to flavor preference!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container to enjoy for later meals in the week!