This Whole30 Indian saag chicken is a paleo, Whole30-compliant take on the Indian favorite, saag paneer. Super rich and satisfying, this Whole30 Indian saag chicken absolutely rivals takeout! Such a great Whole30 Indian recipe or paleo Indian recipe, you’ll never miss the paneer.
I present to you… the ugliest dish.
I’m just not sure there’s a dish out there can rival a rich Indian saag or palak in homeliness. Dark green mush, dotted with little white cubes of paneer on the buffet line, usually squatting in between a similarly hideous dal and heaps of fluffy jasmine rice, that doesn’t stop saag paneer from being my favorite Indian dish, maybe ever.
OK, so, my restaurant-style Whole30 chicken tikka masala might actually win that prize. But saag paneer is sure as hell right beneath it on the leaderboard.
Of course, though, paneer isn’t Whole30-compliant: it’s made almost entirely of whole milk. If you’re into that kind of thing, I have the best ever homemade paneer recipe for you, too! It’s easy and ridiculously rich and creamy, like 400 lightyears better than what you get at the store or at the restaurant. Like, the heavenliness cannot be overstated. You’ve gotta try it.
But the heavenliness and richness and holy-crap-meet-me-at-the-Indian-buffet-in-20-minutes-ness of homemade paneer is irrelevant when it comes to the Whole30 or more paleo diets. It’s off limits.
Enter… Whole30 Indian saag chicken. Technically saag murgh but who’s counting? This stuff is divine, y’all, and the chicken is so tender and perfect that you won’t miss the paneer one bit. The Whole30 Indian saag chicken is made by first caramelizing a quartet of Indian aromatics until they’re a deep brown and super rich. Then you blend in plenty of frozen spinach and plenty of coconut cream, making the dish creamy and complex and comforting and perfect.
The best part of this stuff is that it makes killer leftovers, and on a Whole30, maximizing leftovers is key.
Oh, the most important part? Don’t skip the caramelization. It absolutely has to look like this:
And if it doesn’t? I wash my hands of you! Seriously, though, this Whole30 Indian saag chicken will not be nearly as rich or complex or delicious or takeout-worthy if you skip the caramelization. Don’t do it!
Whole30 Indian Saag Chicken (Paleo Indian Saag Chicken)
- 2 12-ounce packages frozen spinach steamed
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. ghee
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. grated ginger
- 1-2 serrano chiles minced
- 1 medium white onion chopped
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- 4 tsp. coriander powder
- 2 tsp. cumin powder
- 2-3 Tbsp. dried fenugreek leaves
- 1 14.5- ounce can coconut milk
- 1 cup coconut cream the solid white part of a can of coconut milk or coconut cream
- plenty of salt like 1 - 2 teaspoons
- fresh cilantro chopped, to serve
- Preheat oven to 375º F. Combine spices and oil or ghee in a bowl. Place chicken pieces in a large baking dish and coat with oil-spice mixture. Bake for 30 minutes; remove from oven. Preheat broiler then broil chicken for 5 minutes, or until browned in places. Remove from oven and set aside. Let cool slightly, then cut chicken off the bone into bite-sized pieces.
- In a food processor, process steamed spinach until puréed. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium-low heat, place 2 1/2 tablespoons ghee. Add onions, ginger, garlic, and serrano chiles; cook slowly, stirring regularly, until a toffee color. Don't skip this part! Add a tablespoon of water, as needed, if mixture is burning or drying out.
- Add the garam masala, coriander powder, and cumin powder. Sprinkle with a little water to moisten, if you haven't added water in the previous step. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spices are fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the spinach to the skillet and stir well. Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup of water, coconut milk, coconut cream, fenugreek leaves, and cooked chicken pieces. Stir well, then cook about 5 minutes uncovered. Taste and add more salt as needed.
- Serve over cauliflower rice and top with fresh chopped cilantro.
Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.