Recipe: Saag Paneer Pizza

Recipe: Saag Paneer Pizza

(Image credit: Christine Han)

I love how easy it is to find naan bread nowadays, from the fresh ones at Whole Foods to the frozen garlic naan at Trader Joe's. Lately this soft Indian flatbread has been my go-to base for sandwiches and, to my pleasant surprise, pizzas. Here's a tasty pizza inspired by one of my favorite Indian dishes, saag paneer.

Saag paneer is a spiced, creamy spinach stew finished with soft pieces of mild paneer cheese. The main topping for this pizza version is basically a sauté of frozen spinach with onion, garlic, ginger, and garam masala. It gets its rich flavor and texture from the addition of cream at the end, which works to hold everything together.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Besides the spinach, the pizza needs cheese, of course! While paneer is usually optimal in saag paneer because it doesn't melt, it doesn't really work for pizza. It turns out that tried-and-true shredded mozzarella is the way to go since it melts so nicely. This saag paneer pizza is a perfect dinner with a side salad and glass of wine.

Saag Paneer Pizza

Serves 4 to 6

1 pound frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh peeled ginger
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fine salt, plus more for seasoning
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 pieces naan
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 500°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using your hands, squeeze the excess water out of the spinach and set aside. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the garam masala and pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the spinach and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through and any moisture that comes out of the spinach is evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat, add the cream and lemon juice, and stir to combine until the spinach absorbs the cream. Taste and season with more salt as needed.

Place 2 naan on each baking sheet. Divide the spinach mixture among the naan and spread into an even layer, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle with the cheese.

Bake 1 sheet at a time until the cheese is melted and the edges of the naan are golden-brown, 5 to 7 minutes per sheet. Let cool 2 minutes, then cut into slices and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • Spinach: I like the ease of using frozen spinach here, and I've found that the easiest way to thaw it is in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.
  • Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 400°F oven until warm, or on the stovetop using this method.
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