Slow Cooker Beef Saag

Nooooot my most attractive meal to date.

Ohhhhhhh ho ho ho, man. I can only seriously hope and pray and wish that you’ve either seen or eat or witnessed someone else eat saag in an Indian restaurant before and that you know what it looks like, and that you’ve not already gotten sick to your stomach and thrown your computer out into a pile of leaves.

And you’re probably used to seeing adorable tiny chunks of white cubes floating around in the saag. But see, that would be paneer. Which would be cheese. Which would be suicide for my husband. So the adorable tiny chunks floating around in this saag are steak.


Aaron and I have this long standing tradition when we eat at Indian restaurants. Oh! A tradindiaon.

That didn’t even work for a second.

So he’ll get the chicken tikka masala and I’ll get the saag paneer, and we’ll share them over basmati rice dotted with bright green peas and fresh garlic naan. And you’re bored.


But it’s like my favorite thing IN LIFE. The contrast of spicy sauces, the tender chunks of chicken and paneer, the fluffy naan canoeing the food into my face, my obsessive need for Aaron to try JUST ONE PANEER. Just one single paneer, dude. Just try it! It doesn’t even taste like cheese. Swear it. Here, try it. Open your mouth and say chee – oh oops I mean…


I’d better watch my back before I’m GONE GIRL. (Omg, nearly halfway through the book now and I’m absolutely freaking out. I have an eagle eye on Aaron’s every move constantly and he’s like WHAT is your deal.)


So, slow cooker beef saag. Can’t get much easier than this. Throw a bunch and I mean a bunch of spinach and aromatics and spices into yer crocker potter and let the magical wand of time bless your soul and home with scents and tastes so unpredictable and brilliant that they are sure to

I mean, it wouldn’t hurt him to try just one paneer, for crying out loud.

Slow Cooker Beef Saag:

(adapted from Suburban Bites)

What it took for 6:

* 2 pounds baby spinach
* 2 red onions, roughly chopped
* 5 serrano peppers, stems removed
* 1 head garlic, peeled
* 4-inch piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped
* 2 cups cherry tomatoes (or even a can of diced tomatoes is fine)
* 4 Tbs. cumin
* 2 Tbs. garam masala
* 1 Tbs. turmeric
* 1 Tbs. chili powder
* 2 pounds beef chuck, cut into small cubes
* coarse salt & freshly ground pepper
* cooked white basmati rice and garlic naan for serving
* fresh cilantro, for garnish

Layer half the spinach along the bottom of your slow cooker. Then add the onions through the chili powder. Add a big pinch of salt and pepper. Then press down the other half of the spinach on top of everything. It will practically be falling out everywhere. Press the lid down. Press it good, y’all.

Now turn the slow cooker on to low and let it simmer for 3 hours. Check on it a couple of times and give it a stir. After three hours, take an immersion blender and blend the saag until smooth. I miiiight have blended mine a little too much. I think it’s because I forgot to take the trash out.

* quick note – if you don’t have an immersion blender, just p0ur the saag into a blender, batch by batch and get her smooth. end note *

Then let it simmer another two hours.

THEN, sear your steak cubes in a large skillet until nice and browned on both sides. Season them with salt with pepper. Transfer the steak to the slow cooker for the last hour of slow cookering. (for a total of 6 hours)

Taste it. OMG. Need more salt? You know what to do.

Serve beef saag over a bed of cooked white (basmati or jasmine) rice and some torn toasted garlic naan! And oh! Some good cilantro! And oh! Maybe some fresh lime juice if you want to wake it up a little.

And oh! I’m just kidding.

Raag out with your saag out.

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48 Responses to Slow Cooker Beef Saag

  1. marla October 18, 2012 at 8:25 am #
    Girl, this is a tough one to style ~ but you did a brilliant job! Love me a good saag. (wait that sounded a little dirty didn't it?!)
  2. Stephanie October 18, 2012 at 8:37 am #
    This looks surprisingly amazing! I love garlic naan too!
  3. Mindy October 18, 2012 at 9:20 am #
    I do love saag (though I usually go for lamb) and I think this crock pot version will hit the spot. Have you ever frozen it (just the cooked spinach version - wouldn't need to freeze the meet if you're adding it later). Also, with 5 serranos, what was the heat level like and what spice level do you usually order when you dine out for Indian food? Thanks for sharing!
    • Mindy October 18, 2012 at 9:24 am #
      I trust you know I meant "meat" and not "meet". :(
      • Bev Weidner October 18, 2012 at 9:56 am #
        I got ya! Actually, when I order out I go with medium, because I feel like restaurants tend to lean a little hot. And I LOVE heat, but if I ordered hot then my face would erupt into lava. And honestly, this isn't that hot, even with 5 serranos. Everything gets so blended, it's pretty subtle. But you can always go with 3 peppers! Let me know how it works fer ya.
        • Mindy October 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm #
          Thanks, Bev! I like hot too, so just wanted to make sure if I was making this to share it wouldn't be too much.
  4. Kelly Senyei (Just a Taste) October 18, 2012 at 9:58 am #
    You never cease to amaze me, Bev! I love Indian food and my go-to order is chicken tikka masala, and, of course, GARLIC NAAN (2 orders, minimum).
  5. Cassie October 18, 2012 at 10:08 am #
    You make saag look good!
  6. Julie @ NaClKitchen October 18, 2012 at 10:21 am #
    I've been trying to make more Indian food at home. This certainly looks like a winner. Thanks :)
  7. Sarah | The Cyclist's Wife October 18, 2012 at 10:22 am #
    Dang, no wonder why Indian food is so good, an entire head of garlic? I think I'm in love. You need to sneak a Paneer in on that husband of yours. Serious! Paneer is good!
  8. Abbe October 18, 2012 at 11:59 am #
    Oooooh - this is sooo bookmarked. I have a serious *curry habit* and this will feed it :0D
  9. Katie @ Blonde Ambition October 18, 2012 at 12:29 pm #
    Indian Food is one of me and my boyfriends "things" too, and he also loves chicken tikka masala. How romantic are we all, devouring our plates full of red and green goop and sloppily dipping naan in it....
  10. Heather @ Heather's Dish October 18, 2012 at 1:22 pm #
    nate would freak if i made this - he is NOT a fan of indian food! - but i don't even care. nope, more for me!
  11. Ali | Gimme Some Oven October 18, 2012 at 4:10 pm #
    Ha - somehow you made saag look lovely! Looks delish!!
  12. Sylvia@bascooking October 18, 2012 at 8:09 pm #
    You made a great job ,despite not being a big fan of Indian food you made me drool.
  13. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. October 18, 2012 at 10:34 pm #
    You make saag look sexy!
  14. Zee October 19, 2012 at 12:53 am #
    At first I though I was reading it wrong and then I re-read it and realized you really meant saag! Wow! Amazing job.. Looks just like we make it at home :)
  15. Heather Christo October 19, 2012 at 9:53 am #
    Even if it looks a little scary- its sounds amazing!! I love Indian food. By the way, should I read that book?
    • Bev Weidner October 19, 2012 at 10:01 am #
      YES. Yes you should. If you love murder, failed marriages and drama, like me. Then yeah.
  16. Jen @ Savory Simple October 19, 2012 at 12:09 pm #
  17. Beverly October 19, 2012 at 5:39 pm #
    Um, this is so amazing, there are no words. I want to throw my already made dinner out and eat this instead!
  18. Tracey Evans October 21, 2012 at 1:12 pm #
    I have NEVER had Saag before! Is it because I am from the South and we have no Indian restaurants in my city??? Hmmmm.... Looks good! :)
  19. Sarah | The Cyclists Wife October 21, 2012 at 7:29 pm #
    Just curious, how big of a crockpot are you working with? I'm making this right now and I halved the recipe, but I seriously don't think I could have made it all fit if it were doubled...and my crockpot is pretty big. (do all your readers say that?)
    • Bev Weidner October 26, 2012 at 11:07 am #
      OMG, I'm sorry it's taken me so long to write you back! Did the saag work? I just looked at my crock pot and I dunno! It's big, but not THAT big. But not too tiny. It's just a regular size. Is this answer getting uncomfortable? Let me know what you thought!
  20. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts October 22, 2012 at 7:18 pm #
    I love Indian food, how do I not know what saag is? Need to have this in my life soon!
  21. Sarah February 25, 2013 at 7:39 pm #
    I just made this and it turned out SO bitter! What happened?! Burned spices? Seeds from the tomatoes? Help me out here! I added a can of coconut milk and some lime juice to try to balance it out but it was still so bitter that I had to throw it out! The beef was also tough, so I would put it in for longer than 1 hr next time.
    • Bev Weidner February 26, 2013 at 6:36 am #
      Oh nooooo, really!? Bitter. That sucks. I'm trying to think what maybe went wrong. I am SO sorry! Thank you for letting me know. I'm heartbroken! I'll be thinking on what to do next time!
  22. Shelley May 19, 2013 at 6:28 pm #
    Have just done step one and blitzed it all up. Crickey, I think I was a bit heavy handed witht the spices. Can I tone it down with anything while it's cooking away?? Love the flavour, but perhaps not the heat. Help please :-)
    • Bev Weidner May 20, 2013 at 6:07 am #
      Oh no! It's just too hot for you? I've heard that a little cream added would help cut the heat. I'm just now reading this comment, most likely hours later. I'm so sorry! What did you end up doing?
      • Shelley May 22, 2013 at 7:55 pm #
        No worries. I think I was just a little heavy handed with the spices. Delicious flavour though. I bought a tub on plain yoghurt and served it with that. My Husband didn't need it, but I did. Tasted divine! Definately a "make again" dish. Thanks!!
  23. Danielle June 18, 2013 at 5:17 pm #
    O M G....I just made this recipe using some stewing beef from a local farm here. I am not sure whether it is the amazing farmer that raised the beef, the fact that I haven't eaten beef in 2 years, or the fact that this recipe is AMAZING, but this dish was AMAZING! I think it is a combo of #1 and #3, leaning towards #3. Thank you so much for this recipe! Saag paneer was always my favourite dish to order at an indian restaurant. I love how this recipe uses up so much veg to make the most delicious sauce which really can be used for anything. I seriously plan on making big batches of this sauce to freeze.
  24. Dani July 8, 2013 at 7:08 am #
    OMG!! I am from Australia and couldn't find serrano peppers and my partner grows habaneros (so I know how hot they are) and when I googled sereano peppers they came up between habanero and jalapeños. Because I couldn't finde serranos I got birds eye chilli's becuase I thought they would be milder. I thought to be safe only add 3.. wow! It was more like vindaloo! We couldn't eat it, even after trying to tone it down with natural yohgurt, lemon juice and stock. I must say that the smells and taste of everything else seemed right but I might of stuffed up with the chlli. . Better luck next time
  25. Mandie Kok September 2, 2013 at 12:14 pm #
    I made this with mutton instead of beef and it was really good. I had planned on putting it in the crockpot this morning, but then a pipe burst and we had to get a plumber in, so by the time I could finally wash my spinach, it was long past noon. I cooked it on high from the start and the whole thing was ready in 3 hours, just in time for dinner. I served it with plain natural yoghurt, which tastes delicious and helps soothe the mild burn. My saag turned out very mild, with a pleasant heat that caused us to sweat a little by the end of the meal. I can think of several reasons why the saag might turn out bitter. Sometimes it's the spinach itself, although that's unlikely with baby spinach. It might be pesticide residue on the leaves. It could be the spices (your garam masala won't be the same as my garam masala). I was worried that mine might be bitter too, but it turned out really lovely. It made a lot of curry, so we'll have plenty left over for tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe, I'm adding this one to my recipe software as a keeper!
  26. Robin September 28, 2013 at 1:19 am #
    Hi! Like Sarah, mine is cooking now (has been in pot for about 4 hours) and is crazy bitter. I was going to try the coconut cream too but just saw Sarah's post so now wondering whether to chuck it all or keep going... Did anyone have any ideas about why this happened or what to do? I have not put the meat in yet...
  27. Erin September 30, 2013 at 3:04 pm #
    YUM!! I just blended and tried it and it was so yummy....can't wait to add the meat and eat dinner tonight! For the peeps who found theirs bitter...dumb question but you peeled the ginger root before putting it in, right? Also I was thinking maybe too much ginger...I juiced with Ginger one time and put in way too much and found it quite bitter.
  28. Caitlyn October 8, 2013 at 4:28 pm #
    Three hours in, just blended everything - OMG, my house smells amazing.
  29. Sarah February 13, 2014 at 7:52 pm #
    How many people will this serve (healthy portions)?
  30. Kedar October 10, 2014 at 8:31 am #
    Made this last night and it was great! I did add a small container of plain yogurt which really pulled it together.
  31. K October 21, 2014 at 6:53 pm #
    Girl. I love your blog and babies and light humor on the Internet--- but I just spent two days thinking about this recipe, one day making it, and over 40 bucks at the grocery store buying ingredients for it and -- it is pretty bad. Bitter. Flavorless. Very disappointing. Followed directions exactly. Not your fault I made (threw out) a bad meal, but wanted to prevent other saag lovers from having a sad night. Hope this isn't mean. Love your work, just sad about this recipe.
  32. K October 21, 2014 at 7:10 pm #
    Now I feel bad about that comment. I was hungry. Made pbj. You can delete. Xo
  33. Bekah May 2, 2020 at 8:05 pm #
    I love this recipe. I have made it a number of times to a lot of positive responses from lots of people. I noticed the comments about bitterness. It has to do with the spinach. I have made this a few times exactly the same way and had a couple of bitter batches. The only variable was the spinach. My advice: Fresh BABY Spinach Leaves. Makes sure you put a good pinch of salt in at the start. Cherry Tomatoes are sweeter than canned tomatoes. If at the end it tastes bitter - The way that I have fixed it is with coconut cream (not milk otherwise it will be too runny) and a little bit more salt. A good squeeze of lemon or lime also helps. I have also found that putting cardamon pods in gives it a beautiful flavour. Hope that helps anyone else making this in the future! I love this recipe but I can understand how some people are getting mixed results.
  34. Marina March 13, 2021 at 11:02 am #
    taste delic with lamb. Thank you for simplifying the original Saag recipe without sacrificing the taste.


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