Here’s a simple interpretation of the classic Indian dish of mustard greens with spinach called saag. A great year-round side dish, the mild flavor of spinach acts as a counterpoint to the pleasantly sharp mustard greens.
If you like mustard greens, you’ll love this very green side dish. The flavor of this leafy green vegetable mellows quite a bit when cooked, but still retains its distinctive character. For this recipe, you can use domestic or Chinese mustard greens.
A bit about mustard greens
Mustard greens belong to the brassica family, the group of vegetables that includes cabbage, broccoli, kale, and cauliflower.
The flavor of mustard greens has been described as pungent or peppery; it’s also occasionally characterized it as sharp, like horseradish. Like many greens that have a bite to them, mustard greens mellow quite a bit when lightly cooked.
A nice thing about mustard greens is that they don’t need to be stemmed. The stem is just a bit crunchier (in a good way) than the leaves. After trimming away the stem, the remaining leaf and stem can be chopped together, just like you would the leaves of romaine lettuce.
It’s fair to say that mustard greens are a powerhouse vegetable in terms of nutrients. They’re a superb source of Vitamins C and K, and the mineral copper. They also provide a modest yet significant amount of the B vitamins and several other minerals. Here’s a complete nutritional profile.
Learn lots more in our Guide to Mustard Greens.
- Mustard greens (1 head, domestic or Chinese)
- Baby spinach (5 to 6 ounces, or the equivalent of another spinach variety)
- Whole cumin seeds
- Garlic, fresh
- Ginger, fresh or bottled
- Lemon or lime (1; or bottled juice)
From the pantry
- Olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
What to serve with Mustard Greens with Spinach
This side dish is especially fitting for adding lots of green to the plate (or bowl) with Indian dishes, though it’s neutral enough to go with all kinds of meals. For starters:
- Quick Lentil and Kidney Bean Curry
- Red Lentil Dal and Rice Bowls
- Quick Aloo Gobi (Cauliflower and Potato Curry)
Or, keep it very simple and serve with a fresh flatbread and plant-based yogurt, as shown below.
Recipe is from Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
Explore more …
- Roasted Eggplant Curry with Mustard Greens or Spinach
- Flavorful & Easy Baby Spinach Recipes
- Braised Mustard Greens with Mushrooms
- Citrus-Braised Mustard Greens with Apples and Nuts
- 1 head mustard greens (domestic or Chinese), stemmed, coarsely chopped, and well rinsed
- 5 to 6 ounces baby spinach (or the equivalent of another spinach variety, stemmed, coarsely chopped, and well rinsed)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 to 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds (see note)
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 to 2 teaspoons grated fresh or bottled ginger, to taste
- 3 to 4 scallions, white and green parts, sliced
- Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon or lime (or 2 to 3 tablespoons bottled juice), to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Prepared as directed before starting, as this dish comes together quickly.
- Heat the oil in a large, steep-sided skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the cumin seeds, garlic, ginger, and white parts of the scallions and sauté over medium heat, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until garlic and white parts of the scallion just begin to turn golden.
- Add the mustard greens in batches until they’re all in, stirring continuously. Add the green parts of the scallions.
- Cover and cook over medium heat until the mustard greens have just lost their raw quality, about 3 minutes. Stir the spinach into the pan in batches and cook until it’s wilted, and both greens are just tender.
- Add lemon or lime juice as desired, season with salt and pepper, and serve at once.
Whole cumin seeds are surprisingly easy to find; many well-stocked supermarkets carry them in the spice section. If you can’t find them or prefer not to use them, sprinkle in 1 to 2 teaspoons of ground cumin once all the mustard greens are in the pan.
For a spicier dish, add 1 or 2 small seeded and minced fresh hot chilies. They would go into the pan at the same time as the garlic and ginger in step 2 of the recipe.
Explore lots more plant-forward salads & side dishes.