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 4 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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  1. Both my family and myself are so excited to eat this dish tonight! My daughter commented that it was a little on the spicy side which concern me because my mother is not a huge fan of too much spice, but to my surprise, everyone is enamored with this dish! Five stars and Bravo, will definitely make again.

  2. Samosas! Ah!
    When I have a craving, I use rice flour Spring Roll wraps from the Asian section or store. They keep forever and you can roll to the shape you like. Brush with oil and bake or brown in pan with some coconut oil.
    Still have to watch for the smoke alarm going off.

  3. 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 ;)

  4. 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!

  5. 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