Instant Pot Swiss Chard Saag is a savory, quick and easy green side dish. Delicious with any curry or korma, and a great color contrast! It only takes a few minutes to prep the vegetables and sauté them before letting the Instant Pot do the rest. If you thought making saag was a step you didn’t have time for, give this a try!
Saag is traditionally made with a combination of spinach and mustard greens. To my taste, though, spinach always has had a bitter flavor because I’m sensitive to the oxalate crystals in the leaves. One time I had some chard I’d picked up at the Farmer’s Market, so threw that in instead. Yum!
Why Swiss chard?
Swiss Chard has a sweeter, mellower flavor than spinach to me, so I now use it for my saag whenever I make it. You’ll see I’ve used the rainbow chard here, which is pretty when I’m prepping and it looked freshest at the organic grocers – but actually the color mostly disappears in the cooking and seasoning processes into an olive green no matter what color chard you use.
Though the list of spices makes the ingredient look long, if you make curries from scratch you’ll have everything in your cupboard. In a pinch, substitute a tablespoonful of your favorite garam masala (I’m sure good Indian cooks are cringing when I say that).
You’ll start by sautéing the onions just until they start to soften and to flavor the oil.
Then toss in the minced garlic and ginger, and saute for a minute or so until they are fragrant – also so that they flavor the ghee but don’t overcook.
Toss in the spices just to coat all the vegetables. Then add the chard leaves by handfuls. They won’t all wilt at once, so let the first couple handfuls soften a little before you put more in. Once the leaves are all coated with the seasonings, you’re ready for the next step.
Then put the cover on the Instant Pot and set it for 15 minutes. After a natural release, the vegetables will be soft enough to use your immersion blender. The layer was too shallow for me to blend them in my instant pot, though, so I transferred them to a four-cup glass storage container first and did the blending in there.
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There’s something about the combination of the greens, spices and that little bit of ghee that just makes this comfort food for me, and I even will dip vegetables in it as a snack.
I hope you will enjoy the saag as much as I do! Enjoy.
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Swiss Chard Saag
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 onion diced
- 4 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- Spice mixture
- 1-2 teaspoons salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne adjust to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 bunches about 1 1/2 pounds Rainbow Chard, rinsed, thick leaf midribs removed and torn or chopped
- Ghee or butter, for serving
- Press the “saute” button on the Instant Pot and add the ghee.
- Once it melts, add the onion to the pot and stir-fry for 3 minutes until just turning golden.
- Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.
- Stir the spices into the pot and stir-fry for 1 minute until the vegetables are coated.
- Add the swiss chard by handfuls, stirring until each part wilts a little and leaves room for more until it's all added and coated with the seasoning mixture.
- Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 15 minutes at high pressure. Release pressure naturally.
- Remove the lid and use an immersion blender to puree the contents of the pot (or pour the contents into a blender and then add the blended mixture back into the pot). You may need to transfer your cooked chard to a smaller container, such as a bowl, so that the immersion blender will actually be immersed in the vegetables. It cooks down a lot!
- Serve with ghee.
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