Healthy Palak Paratha (Spinach Flatbread)
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Whole wheat palak paratha (or spinach paratha) is a healthy and delicious unleavened Indian flatbread that is perfect for any time of the day. Serve these spinach rotis with curries as a satisfying side dish or with raita and pickles for breakfast or snacks!
This delicious palak paratha recipe is not very different from this masala paratha recipe in that both these parathas are brimming with flavor – yet they are one of the easiest parathas to make.
This is because all the ingredients along with the spinach puree, are mixed together to form a soft dough making these parathas easy to roll. It is easier to make when compared to the stuffed ones like aloo paratha where the rolled-out dough is filled, sealed, and then rolled again – making the process slightly trickier and time-consuming.
What I love most about this recipe is that it is an easy way to sneak spinach leaves into your diet. There are a couple of ways you can incorporate spinach in this paratha –
- Chopped fresh spinach – add the chopped spinach to the dough with the rest of the ingredients.
- Blanched spinach – To blanch, add spinach to boiling water. Cook for a couple of minutes or till the stem softens. Immediately transfer it to a bowl of cold water to stop cooking. Carefully remove the spinach from the water and blend it to a smooth puree before adding it to the whole wheat flour dough.
- Pureed spinach without blanching – Blanching causes nutrient loss, so I prefer to puree the spinach and add it to the dough. As the paratha is fried in the pan, the spinach cooks so that you can avoid the extra step of blanching.
Alternate names: Palak is the Hindi word for spinach. Though this paratha is popularly called palak paratha, its alternate names include spinach paratha, spinach roti, palak chapati, palak ka paratha, and spinach flatbread as well.
Benefits of spinach
Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense leafy greens. From boosting your immune system to helping your heart, here are a few of the many health benefits spinach has to offer –
- Supports strong bones and helps heal wounds – A low-calorie vegetable high in nutrients such as vitamins K, A, and C.
- High in antioxidants – Spinach includes flavonoids that protect us against cancer and cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases.
- Supports brain health – Protects the brain and prevents cognitive decline.
- Manages blood pressure – Spinach is a good source of nitrates which help improve blood flow and helps lower blood pressure.
To learn more about the health benefits of spinach, read the 7 health benefits of spinach.
Along with being nutritious, palak is also versatile. It blends seamlessly in green smoothies, stir-fries, and salads. You can also include them in side dishes such as this aloo palak (potatoes with spinach) or a lentil dish like dal palak.
Reasons to love this recipe
- Good for you – Spinach is nutritious, and by adding palak puree to the dough, you can easily amplify the nutrition profile of your homemade paratha.
- Versatile – Roll the spinach dough like a roti or chapati for palak roti, or layer it while rolling to make flaky spinach paratha.
- Prep ahead recipe – The spinach puree can be made a few days in advance and frozen for up to 3 months. The dough also can be made several hours ahead or the night before.
- There are many ways to enjoy it – Just like plain parathas, you can serve it as a flatbread with dinner or tea, pickles, and raita for an anytime snack.
Here’s what you need to make the recipe
For the Spinach Puree:
- Spinach leaves – You can use either fresh or frozen spinach.
- Ginger – to add flavor and warmth.
- Garlic cloves – Pungent aromatic to enhance the palak flavor.
- Thai green chilies – to add some heat.
- Cilantro (or Coriander Leaves) – This is an optional garnish but adds a lovely fresh flavor to the palak roti.
- Other healthy greens – Feel free to add other leafy vegetables you may have in your refrigerator to the dough. Some of my favorite greens include methi (fenugreek leaves), chopped kale, arugula, etc.
- Water – To make a puree with a smooth consistency.
For the Paratha Dough:
- Whole wheat flour – Aashirwad whole wheat atta or Sujata chakki atta are the ones I recommend.
- Carom seeds – Also known as ajwain, a popular spice in Indian cooking.
- Oil – Avocado or vegetable oil.
- Water – Room temperature water helps the dough work out smoothly.
You also need a bit more whole wheat flour plus melted ghee for rolling out the dough.
You’ll need the following equipment to make these healthy palak parathas
- [Optional but helpful] Stand mixer or food processor
- Metal / Marble / Wood base with a rolling pin (or Chakla Belan in Hindi)
- Tava / Griddle
- Spatula / Turner
- Paper towel
General tips while making parathas
- Knead the dough until it is smooth, soft, and pliable.
- To fix hard dough, sprinkle a spoonful of water and knead. Add more flour as needed until the dough is neither hard nor sticky.
- Sticky dough? Sprinkle a spoonful of dough and knead. Add more flour as needed until the dough is not sticky.
- Rest the dough to allow time for the gluten to form. This makes it easier to roll out the dough and yields softer parathas.
- Make sure to dust off the flour from the parathas before frying, or it dries up and turns hard.
- Before storing it in an air-tight container or while packing it for lunch, let the paratha cool down for 5-6 minutes to prevent it from becoming soggy.
Note: Don’t forget to turn on your exhaust fan when making parathas, or else your smoke alarm may go off.
Variations to try
- Repurpose leftover gravy from palak paneer instead of pureed spinach in this recipe.
- In my recipe, I have pureed the spinach without blanching. You can also blanch the spinach before pureeing or add finely chopped spinach leaves to your dough.
- Spinach/palak roti – Instead of making a flaky layered paratha, you can roll it out like a roti or chapati (see instructions in the recipe card below).
- To make palak paneer paratha (spinach and cheese stuffed paratha) stuff the rolled-out dough with a mixture of grated paneer, salt, cumin, and coriander powder. Seal the dough and roll it to a circular disc.
- Aloo palak paratha – to make this version, add a cup of mashed potatoes while making the dough. Make sure the potatoes are lump-free, or the parathas will tear when rolled out.
How to prep ahead
You can make the spinach puree up to 2 days in advance. You can also freeze it for a month. Thaw completely and bring it to room temperature before using it.
The dough can be made and stored in the refrigerator for a day. Any longer than that it becomes sticky.
Refrigerator – Place cooled paratha in a sealed container and keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Freezer – For longer storage, you can keep the cooked palak paratha for 2-3 months in the freezer. I recommend that you place a piece of parchment paper or wax paper between each paratha when freezing, or else they’ll stick together. Then place them all together in an airtight zipper bag, making sure to squeeze out any excess air.
Reheat – For refrigerated or frozen parathas, reheat individually in a tava / skillet over medium heat. No need to thaw frozen parathas before heating!
Serve it with
Palak parathas are perfect to enjoy alongside your favorite curries, lentils, and dals. They’re also a delicious and satisfying snack! Serve with yogurt, pickle, or any of these raita recipes:
- Pineapple raita – A sweet and bright yogurt-based sauce that is fun to balance with the earthy flavor of spinach.
- Onion raita – One of the easiest and most popular sauces we love. It uses only 5 ingredients and is ready in 5 minutes!
- Cucumber raita or Cucumber tomato raita – Both these variations go well with spinach paratha.
- Boondi raita – Little chickpea flour crispies add a delightful crunch to this raita.
Frequently asked questions
No, there is no need to cook the spinach first. The palak is first pureed with aromatics and water, then added to the dough before cooking. Therefore the spinach does get cooked but still retains its freshness and nutrients.
You could use finely chopped methi (fenugreek leaves) like in my methi paratha recipe, or arugula or kale. Don’t puree them – they will make the paratha bitter. Add them to the dough after chopping.
Check out these easy, step-by-step recipes to make your favorite Indian flatbread at home.
Palak (Spinach) Paratha Recipe
- 3 cups spinach
- 7-8 mint leaves optional
- 1-inch piece ginger
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 1 Indian or Thai green chilies (Bird's eye), finely chopped
- ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro / coriander leaves for garnishing optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup water
For the dough
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
- 2 tablespoons oil (avocado or vegetable) + 1/4th teaspoon oil
- ½ cup water or as needed, at room temperature
For rolling out
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour for rolling
- Melted ghee (as needed)
- Wash and rinse the spinach. Chop and discard any thick stalks.
- Puree the spinach with mint leaves, ginger, garlic, green chilies, salt, cilantro and water into a fine paste.
Making the dough
- Add 2 cups of wheat flour, spinach puree, and oil to a large bowl. Use your fingers to combine.
- Add water, one tablespoon at a time, and continue kneading until the dough comes together like a ball.
- Add 1/4th teaspoon oil to the dough and knead till the oil is absorbed.
- If the dough is sticky, sprinkle approximately 1 teaspoon wheat flour (or more if needed) on the dough and knead again to form a dough that is not sticky. The dough should be supple and soft.
- Cover the dough and set aside for 15-20 minutes.
Make spinach rotis
- Pull a small piece approximately the size of a golf ball from the dough. Place the piece between the palms of your hands and shape them into a ball.
- Flatten the ball and cover both sides with flour.
- Roll out the flattened ball into a circular shape (approximately 7-8 inches in diameter).
To make layered parathas (skip this section if you want to make only rotis)
- Pull a small piece approximately the size of a golf ball from the dough. Place the piece between the palms of your hands and shape them into a ball. Flatten the ball and cover both sides with flour.
- Roll out the flattened ball into a circular shape (approximately 6 inches in diameter).
- Brush the surface of the rolled-out dough with ghee. Take 1/3 portion of the rolled dough from the left side and fold towards the middle. Now fold 1/3 portion from the left till the folds overlap slightly. Brush it with ghee.
- Now fold the top and bottom portion of the rolled dough towards the middle creating a square.
- Dip the square shaped paratha in flour and use the rolling pin to roll it evenly into a square shape paratha using as little pressure as possible.
- To make triangle or circular layered parathas, follow the instructions in the plain paratha post.
Cooking paratha / roti
- Heat a pan / tawa over medium-high heat.
- Dust off excess flour from the paratha by placing it on your palm of one hand and then flip it on the palm of your other hand. Repeat this process 3-4 times.
- Place the paratha in the hot pan. Cook the paratha until small bumps form on the surface (approximately 1-2 minutes).
- Flip the paratha onto the other side. Cook for 30-40 seconds or so until you see brown spots. Smear it with ghee and flip it.
- Cook for 20-30 seconds, then brush the side facing up with ghee. Use a spatula to press down the paratha so that it evenly cooks.
- Flip it and cook it for another 15-20 seconds while pressing the paratha down with the spatula.
- Transfer the paratha to a plate. Repeat this process for the rest of the dough.
- Serve it hot with dal, vegetable or chicken curry.
- To fasten up the process, roll out the next paratha as one cooks in the pan.
- Make sure to dust off the excess flour from the paratha before you cook it. This prevents the paratha from getting hard.
- Before storing it in an air-tight container, let the paratha cool down for at least 5-6 minutes to avoid making it soggy.
Disclaimer: Approximate nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.