Simple + Healthy Roasted Eggplant Curry (baingan bharta)

From the time I begin my day at 4am, I’m on the move. I workout, head to the office for 8-9 hours, come home to walk the dogs, make dinner, and prepare for an evening of nutrition consults.

I’m strapped for time, all the time but I’ll never, ever be willing to sacrifice a healthy meal due to my schedule. Ever.

So, I look for yummy dinners that can be ready in 30-40 minutes, leave us with leftovers for lunches, and appeal to both of us… which is not always an easy task!

I enjoyed my first bowl of baingan bharta in India and nearly fell over with excitement. It had a prominent smokey flavor, was a tad spicy, the eggplant made the dish meaty, and it was so ridiculously filling.

Not only that, but the Indian woman who’d made it for me said the recipe was really easy. Honestly, I kinda doubted her on that one. Of course it’s going to be easy for a person that’s probably made it a billion times… but she wasn’t wrong. This recipe really is easy.

And; like the many other Indian dishes I’ve been making, it’s packed with simple, wholesome ingredients.

And it makes lots. Lots and lots. I’ll be eating this all week… and I like that!

Inspired by Tasty Yummies

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5.0 from 3 reviews
Simple + Healthy Roasted Eggplant Curry (Baingan Bharta)
Recipe type: Vegan (option), Gluten free, Dairy free, Sugar free, Yeast free, Corn free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
Simple and healthy baingan bharta, roasted eggplant curry. Tasty even for the eggplant haters… I promise!
  • 2 medium-sized eggplants
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon ghee *see note
  • 2.5 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped fine (yield ~4 cups)
  • 2 tablespoon diced garlic
  • 2 tablespoon diced ginger root
  • 2 cup diced tomato
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan rock salt
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 1 cup long grain brown rice, cooked according to package directions
  • 4 gluten-free naan(optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise and sprinkle with salt on the flesh. Place 4 drops of olive oil on the pan and rub the flesh in the oil. Place flesh side down on a baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes until the flesh is tender and the outside is a nice dark charred color.
  2. Meanwhile, heat ghee and cumin seeds in a cast iron pan on medium-high heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes until toasted.
  3. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and saute for another 8-10 minutes, until the onions are tender and translucent.
  4. Add in the tomato, coriander, turmeric, masala and salt and cook another turn the heat to a medium low and allow it to cook about 5 to 10 minutes stirring often.
  5. Once the eggplant is done, peel off and discard the charred skin, scoop the flesh into a bowl, roughly mash it, and add it to the stove top mixture. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, just until heated.
  6. Sprinkle with half of the fresh cilantro, then throw it in your food processor and pulse. I like it a bit chunky still, so I didn’t pulse it too much.
  7. Serve over rice with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro and a gluten-free naan.
    note: to make vegan, replace ghee with coconut oil or grape seed oil. note: ghee is made from dairy, but all lactose and casein is removed in the clarification process. Use your own personal judgement when opting for a dairy-free diet. If you’ve chosen to omit, use vegan suggestion above.

    Roasting the eggplant gives it so much flavor. It really transforms the boring vegetable into something quite amazing. Kevin hates eggplants but loved this curry!

    In other Indian food pursuits…

    I tried to make gluten-free, vegan samosa again this weekend and was unsuccessful. I really thought I had the dough part down, so I finally went ahead and made the filling.

    Unfortunately the dough didn’t hold together and ended up causing a huge kitchen disaster. The fire alarm going off, dogs barking, flour everywhere when I forgot to put the lid on the blender… it wasn’t a dull weekend, that’s for sure.

    But the filling turned out really well so I had it with some palak sauce instead.

    It was no samosa, but was still a pretty darn good lunch!

    Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and I really want to nail this! Any suggestions or recipes you’ve tried that you think may help?

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    Comments | Leave Your Comment

    1. I LOVE this dish! Every time my family and I go out to Indian food (which is often) this is my go to dish and I don’t get sick of it and it is the most amazing, comforting, delicious dish ever. I love it. Ah I can’t wait to try this! I can’t tell you how excited I am haha

    2. As a huuuuge Indian food fan, I don’t know how it’s possible that I’ve never tried this! I love eggplant and you’re right – roasting it makes it taste SO amazing. As for the samosa dough, sorry I can’t help you there! If even YOU can’t figure it out, chances are very slim that I’ve got the answer! ;)

    3. I am a HUGE lover of roasted eggplant. I can’t get enough of the stuff! I’m so looking forward to getting some from my garden. I’m not as educated in Indian foods. To be honest, they kind of scare me. I love turmeric, but I’m not really a fan of sweet and savory in some instances. I need to get over that fear and try some Indian dishes. This looks and sounds amazing!

    4. HOLY DELICIOUSNESS!! I think I need to make this ASAP. ‘m kinda like Kevin…not a huuuuge fan of eggplant, unless it’s used in the right dish. So if he loves this dish, then I’m sure I will. I ran out of garam marsala, but I need to make a trip to Bulk Barn anyways, so you bet I’ll be making sure I have all the other ingredients to make this dish.

      I seriously want it right now…and it’s only 8:17am hahah

      • Hey, I had it for a morning snack yesterday as I was taking pictures of it… so no judging here! Curry for breakfast? Sure!

    5. YAY!! You made it! I am sooo obsessed with this dish. I would like to always have some of this in the fridge to eat! I really need to make this again, asap so I can also make your naan to go with it!

      Gosh, I am so envious of your patience to take process photos while you cook. My kitchen is so dark and I get so messy and into the process, that as soon as I am done and writing up the recipe, I always wish I had taken more photos of the process. So kudos! :)

      • It was SO good! I tweaked your spices and such to make it a bit more ‘punchy’. It was a great base recipe. You’re right, it’s totally one of those recipes I could have on hand forever and never get sick of.
        I ran out of naan yesterday and am now regretting not making more of it when I had the chance. It’ll have to wait until the weekend!
        The process photos, yes… they are difficult. I’ve started trying to do it on some recipes, but not all. They take SO long, but it really makes the process come to life! I want people to see that Indian food is easy and that it’s nothing to get overwhelmed with. Hopefully my pictures will help. But you’re right, when I’m in the thick of cooking, the last thing on my mind is stopping to take a picture. My lighting is really bad too so I have to walk across the house with the pan, pot, or whatnot and take a picture of it by the window! Pretty sure my neighbors think I’m insane.

      • Great question, Katie! It includes the curry and rice, but no naan.

    6. Just out of curiosity, about how many hours on average do you sleep each night? 4AM is an early wake-up! I get up at 4:30 a couple of mornings a week and go to bed fairly early the night before, so I’m just wondering :)

      • I usually have a nap in the afternoon for about 30 minutes before I start working in the evening. Then, if all goes well I’m in bed by 930/10 :) 6 hours is the perfect amount of time for me! Any less and I’m a grouch!

    7. The eggplant looks great–perhaps I’ll even try it again (I’m a long-standing member of the “hater” camp). As for the samosa, have you looked into either one of these options ( or Or what about using coconut flour? I’ve heard it’s great in pastry doughs, and I’m sure would be tasty with the filling. Good luck!

      • Coconut flour, you’re brilliant! I made pastry once with it and it turned out really, really great. Okay, back to the drawing board. Heck, maybe I can even make them grain-free AND vegan? Wouldn’t that be a riot? Thanks so much, Amanda :)

      • Thanks Katie! I’m just so passionate about it, it just kinda happens!

    8. that is one lovely bharta.. and a great idea to roast the eggplants this way!
      i was thinking sorghum roti to use for the dough wrap or coconut flour.. been a while since i made sorghum rotis.. its a lot of elbow grease:) i could eat a samosa filling all by itself too. or with crackers. it has a samosa name to it.. thats enough to get me drooling:)

      • I’ve heard roti is really challenging. I haven’t tried it yet… I think I’ll stick with my gluten-free naan for awhile. I hadn’t thought of having the samosa mix with crackers, that’s smart! I had the last of it for lunch today with chickpeas and salad dressing. It was really, really good. Who needs the dough? haha

      • Thanks a bunch, Alexis :) Back to the drawing board I go!

    9. Leanne, this may sound stupid, but how do u deal with the garlicky smell? I just made this today and loved it, I have plenty left and was going to have it tomorrow with some naan, but my hubby told me( in a polite way) that he could really smell the garlic of me… I really like garlic , but think it’s just not worth the embarrassement… Do u have any “trick” how to prevent it, bcs I know u use it often in your recipes… Thanks and sorry, I know it’s little odd…

      • Not stupid at all! My Mother-in-law hates garlic… I mean HATES it, so garlic concerns don’t phase me in the least. Chances are if you’re still getting that pungent garlic smell, you didn’t cook the garlic enough. The cooking process should get rid of the harsh smell, you just have to make sure it’s crispy or soft/translucent before you move on to the next step. The thing with garlic is that once it’s digested, the gases go to our lunges that are then exhaled for up to 72 hours! The cooking process does help this but if you’re stuck with garlic breath and your hubby is nudging you, try chewing on a bit of fresh parsley. It’ll clear up the smell lickity split!

    10. Hi Leanne
      Just a question, i am little confused. (I made this recipe from Beth. and the dish is soooo lovely! ) The eggplant is placed in the oven fleshside down. And than scoop the flesh out . My eggplant flesh did not turn out that darkbrown on the fleshside. And in your pictures I noticed the eggplants also browned fleshside up? Confusion!? regards ingrid

      • Hi Ingrid – the picture I took with the flesh side up was to show how brown mine got. I cooked them flesh side down, as Beth did. I think it depends on what pan you use to do the roasting. I used my roasting pan. Many a veggie has been on that thing, so I have no doubt that’s why it got so black on the flesh side. As long as the eggplant is really, really scoopable, you should be good to go. Hope that settles your confusion :)

    11. I had the flesh up and it worked to, it was a bit moist tough?
      But this recipe was so good I nearly cried…!! :)

      • Flesh side up would be a bit more moist than cooking it down, just because the liquid would pool at the bottom and not be released. But sounds like it still worked out if it nearly brought tears to your eyes! I’m so pleased :)

    12. I love Indian food so I knew I had to try this right away. I made it tonight for dinner and it was SO delicious!!! Seriously, it was so yummy. Definitely a staple recipe :)

    13. Leanne!!!!
      I am nearly crying with joy while eating giant spoonful after giant spoonful out of the mixing bowl FULL of your Baingan Bharta….
      This is my favorite Indian dish, only there are so many variations that I *only* like it from one certain restaurant, and I haven’t ever tried a recipe that even came close to the heaven in my mouth that that *one* restaurant produces…until right now, this minute!!!
      I can’t tell you how much money I am going to save by being able to make a version I LOVE all by myself at home (!), and I can tell already that I am going to be “that girl that smells like Garam Masala” because now that I’ve found your recipe, I may not eat anything else for WEEKS.
      Sorry to gush, but you have made me SO HAPPY!!!! :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D
      THANK YOU! You have a lifetime subscriber ;-)

      • Wow, Deanna! I’m so happy my recipe comes close to your real thing! I’ve been that girl that smells like garam masala since coming back from my trip to India. No judgement here!

    14. Making it right now… It smells delicious from the kitchen.Yes so what it is 8 am? Lol. I am totally with you, curry for Breakfast rules :) Added some chilies to give it a bit of punch and a bit more Garam Masala, mine might be a milder version than the one you have, I hear every family has their own (secret) version

    15. OMG Leanne this is most awesomely yummy! I don’t even think I need rice or anything to go with it :) I was also playing with the thought of using it kinda like a spaghetti sauce… Hmmm so many options. Thanks for a great recipe!

      • Glad you liked it, Simone! I bet it would make a great pasta sauce. I’ve also been caught dipping bean nacho chips into it. Soooo good!

    16. Just tried your recipe! It’s delicious, and was quicker than I initially expected. Thank you.

    17. I love that you’re not afraid to post about your lesser successful experiments and attempts with new dishes! Must be so reassuring, especially for others embarking on a new cuisine / style of cooking.

      Looks like you’ve got the bengan bhartha down very well! When you were in India did you ever see anyone roast the eggplant right on the stove, on the burner? I just posted my recipe but I have yet to make photos of the stove-top fun.

      Are you using any chickpea flour (besan) for your samosa wrappers? Crucial for taste and cohesion. I’m not so versed in gluten-free (want to learn more) but maybe we could share some ideas on flours.

      • I haven’t gone back to trying to make dosa since the first time I gave it a go. I will though! Thanks for the tips :) When I was in India I saw them roast the eggplant on a burner only. I just checked out your blog – so many fabulous Indian recipes, especially that gobi tikka recipe. I was using chickpea flour with a bunch of other flours for the base of the samosa but it just wasn’t holding together properly. Gluten-free flours are a whole different breed!

    18. This looks yummy AND I happen to have eggplant in the fridge! I’ll have to try it without the onion & tomato, though, because I’m on an IC elimination diet :/ Oh well, here’s to culinary adventures! :)

      • Hope you enjoyed it without the onion and tomato, Heather!

    19. Good job. There’s a yogurt based variation, which if made well, will blow your mind. I was able to try some traditional yogurt bharta when I went home a couple months ago, but I never got the recipe. You should look it up and try to make it, but be careful about the source of yogurt (it should be home-made)

    20. Just made this for dinner and it is delicious!!! Served on cauliflower rice with grilled chicken. Yum!!!

    21. I just made this for dinner. It turned out so well. Thank you for sharing such a special recipe!

      • Yum, glad you enjoyed it, Kendel. It’s one of my all-time favorites!

    22. I gave the Baingan Barta a try last week and it was just lovely! I think I may put that on my biweekly rotation of “stuff to keep in the fridge” recipes.

      I have seen a video for gluten free samosas that used rice paper to wrap them up before baking them. That could be an idea :)

      • It’s definitely in my “stuff to keep in the fridge” rotation, too. So happy that you liked it! Rice paper… that’s smart. I’ll have to try that. Sounds a lot easier than going at it 100% from scratch. Thanks Cindy!

    23. Looks super tasty! I always get intimidated by the ingredient list for Indian dishes but I think I will overcome that for this one.

    24. MMMMMMM! I would eat Indian food every day of the week, but I’m lazy in the kitchen and end up resorting to takeaways as so many Indian recipes take way more time that I will sacrifice for a meal for 1. Baingan bharta is an absolute fave of mine though I’ve never made it myself… that’s all about to change though, you’ve inspired me… and it will be great to eat it and know I’m cutting all the excess fat in the takeaway version I usually eat! Thanks a million!

      • Hey Lisa! I hope you enjoy the Indian food making experience! I find it so therapeutic and hope (for the sake of your wallet and, as you mentioned, the fat content in the takeaway versions) that you LOVE the experience, too!

    25. Made this today, it was awesome! We ate it with pitas. I will definitely be making this one again. My daughter is vegan, so we substituted Earth Balance for the Ghee

    26. I don’t have cumin seeds, is it possible to use the powder? Also, what is ghee and where can I find it?

      • Hi Veronica – I am sure you could use the powder, just make sure it’s toasted. It will yield a different flavor, though. Ghee is clarified butter. It can be replace with oil or coconut oil

    27. Hi Leanne, It is months and months since I saw this and vowed to make it… I finally got there! And wonder why it took me so long!! It is DIVINE!!!! Baingan Bharta is one of my fave Indian dishes and I always assumed it would be too complex to make myself, but you showed me otherwise! I am v slow in the kitchen and have no processor/blender. just a knife, so it took me about 1 1/2 hours but was worth the effort and as I will be making it often, I hope to speed up!
      Can I ask a question re quantities? As a European, I’m not used to cups as measures, though I do own them, and noticed it said the yield for 1 large onion would be 4 cups… I used 2 onions and still didn’t get 4 cups… which is the better guide, the cups or the number of onions? Thanks!
      I will be browsing your Indian recipes now to try some more :)

      • Mmm so happy that you liked it! Definitely the number of onions – I use medium onions, about 1 cup chopped per onion. I hope that helps!

    28. Hey Leanne, it’s me again … I’m wondering if you have calorie amounts per portion or per dish? I have never been a calorie counter but I am just doing an experiment to monitor what my calorie intake is for a couple of weeks… and this dish will feature a couple of times! If you know, it will save me doing the working out ;)

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