Saag paneer grilled cheese – spicy chopped spinach (saag) grilled with crumbled paneer Indian cheese between slabs of good bread. Top with fresh coriander-mint chutney for a totally luxe snack or lunch. Vegan tweak is noted in the recipe card.
Think of this as your favourite Indian side dish – saag paneer – in a sandwich. A hot, crispy-crusted, grilled cheese sandwich. With spinach.
I hope this doesn’t sound too weird because, honestly, it’s so good.
We ended up eating the first test batch cold – cold grilled cheese with cold coriander-mint chutney smeared on top. It was still fab. With a gently spiced, soft, spinachy, cheesy filling tucked inside ghee-seared sourdough. What’s not to love?
And it is so easy to make for a lunch or snazzy sharing snack, cut up into little bites if you like.
How to make saag paneer grilled cheese
Essentially all that you do is soften up a bit of red onion in a hot pan, throwing in some store cupboard Indian spices. Then you mix in the chopped spinach, raw onion and crumbled paneer. Next you spread this unpromising-looking mulch on good, sturdy bread. Slap the sammies into hot ghee and toast on both sides until you really. can’t. stand. waiting. any. longer. Smear with coriander-mint chutney – or have it on the side for dipping – and dig in.
You are in luck today as I’m writing this on holiday, visiting fam in St Petersburg (Florida). Right now I’m tapping away at this post, bleary-eyed, nibbling on a piece of supermarket pecan streusel ring with a half-caf. Waiting for everyone to wake up. So, no long essay on spinach, or detailed history of paneer. Just a flavour-jammed recipe and my very best wishes to you from sunny Florida.
I will try and bring some sunshine back with me. 🙂
PS This recipe uses my Coriander-Mint Chutney (above) as a tasty topper. Make some now for this grilled cheese sammie and you will have leftovers for going with a weekend curry. See the post for more ideas on how to use this fresh, zingy and healthy condiment.
PPS I use my own sourdough bread in this recipe, but any good quality, sturdy bread will be perfect. Commercial bread is probably too soft and airy to cope with this chunky bad-boy of a sandwich. Let me know if you want me to post about sourdough bread making and I will gather my courage and stamina to do so. Meantime, follow me on Instagram to see my breads.
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Spinach and Paneer Grilled Cheese with Coriander-Mint Chutney
Spicy chopped spinach grilled with crumbled paneer cheese between slabs of good bread. Top with fresh coriander-mint chutney for a totally luxe snack or lunch.
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 small red onion finely chopped, divided use
- 1 tsp mustard seeds optional
- 1 tsp garam masala powder or curry powder of choice
- 100 g baby spinach shredded
- 1 green chilli deseeded and chopped
- 1 tbsp yogurt Greek is good
- 60 g paneer cheese crumbled or grated - see notes
- 2 tbsp coriander/cilantro finely chopped
- pinch Kashmiri chilli powder or other hot chili, optional
- fresh lemon or lime juice optional, to taste
- 1 tbsp ghee butter or vegan butter; more if needed
- 8 slices sourdough bread or other good, sturdy bread
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp coriander-mint chutney room temperature
- 1 tsp nigella seeds optional garnish
- 1 green chilli sliced, optional garnish
Heat the oil and add half of the red onion, mustard seeds, garam masala, green chilli, and good pinch of salt. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, for five minutes. Scrape into a bowl to cool briefly.
Add the chopped spinach, yogurt, paneer, remaining red onion, cilantro and optional Kashmiri chilli powder and mix well. Taste for seasoning, adjusting as needed. I like to add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime.
Heat the ghee in a skillet over a medium-hot flame. Take four pieces of the bread and divide the filling between them, pressing it on. Top with the remaining slices. Place the sandwiches in the hot, gheed-up skillet and cook on one side until golden, flipping and cooking until both sides are golden and the filling is warm. To hurry things along, cover the pan with a lid. You can add some nigella seeds on top while cooking.
Spread each toasted sandwich with the coriander and mint chutney and serve, adding extra fresh green chilli if you wish.
Regarding the paneer, bought versions seem to fall into two types: soft and crumbly, and firm and for grating. Homemade is invariably the former. Both versions are suitable for this recipe. But to add actual gooeyness, consider adding (or subbing with) mozzarella.
Feel free to use other greens instead of the spinach. Chard, kale, mustard greens, even broccoli or cauliflower are great. All of these will need cooking down with the spices and onion. You can cook down the spinach of you like.
Make it vegan: use a vegan paneer recipe such as this one from spruceeats. Use vegan butter instead of ghee
For more protein: add chopped cashews or lightly mashed beans to the onions while cooking.
If you make your own paneer, the sodium count will probably be lower. The nutrition values are calculated on commercial paneer cheese.
RIPE FOR PINNING!