This oven-roasted recipe for Baingan Bharta (Indian eggplant) is a nourishing dish of mashed eggplant, simmered stovetop in a thick tomato-pepper sauce. If you’re on the hunt for a healthy Indian recipe — with less oil, spices, and salt — this is it! Enjoy with roti, quinoa, or lettuce cups. 

overhead image of a bowl of mashed eggplant topped with olives, chillies and a lemon slice.

As a Desi registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator, I thoroughly enjoy creating healthy Indian and Pakistani recipes. Undeniably, it unlocks the opportunity to reminisce about childhood cooking adventures – while forging easy healthy meals with authentic flavours. This Baingan Bharta recipe is a prime example! And if you’re as big of an eggplant fan as I am, this easy veggie curry recipe is definitely for you!

Traditionally speaking, Baingan Bharta is made by charring whole eggplants over an open flame. The skin is then removed, and the flesh mashed and simmered in a spiced tomato-based sauce. While this method does impart a lovely smoky flavour, I find it a bit tedious (not to mention a tad messy!).

My variation of the Baingan Bharta recipe is oven-roasted, for an easy and minimal hands-on cooking experience. The eggplant is simply roasted in the oven until soft. After that, it’s mashed and smothered in spices, alongside tomatoes and pepper.

Simply put, this Baingan Bharta is just as delectable as the traditional version, but without the added work — plus heaps of nutrition!

flat lay of lettuce leaves filled with mashed eggplant topped with avocado slices and chickpeas with a bowl of mashed eggplant in the centre and another near the top right.

Is an eggplant a fruit or vegetable?

Although we typically think of eggplant (aka aubergine) as a vegetable, it is actually classified as a fruit. It belongs to the nightshade family, which also happens to include tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers.

Now, it’s thought that the brinjal eggplant is of Asian origin; however, most eggplant wild relatives are, in fact, from Africa.

Is baingan ka bharta healthy?

I often cook eggplant curry-style because it reduces oil usage, making for a healthier meal without sacrificing flavour. Plus, with the addition of tomatoes, peppers — and if you serve it with leafy greens — make this dish nutrient-packed!

This recipe is not only rich in vegetables, but it’s also low in fat and salt, making it ideal for anyone looking for a healthy Indian meal that’s diabetes diet friendly and heart healthy.

Eggplant, also known as aubergine or brinjal in Urdu and Hindi, is a good source of soluble fibre. This type of dietary fibre can help to slow down gastric emptying, which is the process by which food leaves the stomach and enters the gut.

Additionally, soluble fibre has shown to help curb hunger and boost feelings of satiety (fullness). Such nutritional advantages may aid blood sugar management, which could potentially support type 2 diabetes management and prevent diabetes complications.

perspective shot of lettuce leaves stuffed with mashed eggplant and topped with avocado pieces and chickpeas with two bowls of mashed eggplant arranged around.

Eggplant nutrition data

A non-starchy vegetable, one raw unpeeled eggplant (about 550 grams) is:

  • low in carbohydrates (about 30 grams)
  • under 150 calories
  • low in fat (less than 1 gram)
  • high in dietary fibre (16 grams)
  • cholesterol-free
  • very low in sodium
  • a low glycemic food

Ingredients

To make this eggplant dish, you will need:

a collection of food ingredients arranged in a wooden tray with little bowls of spices on a brown cloth.
  • Eggplant: Choose large globe eggplants that are shiny, deep purple in colour, and firm to the touch.
  • Olive oil: you want to use high-quality olive oil for cooking the eggplant bharta.
  • Cinnamon stick: I love the added warmth it imparts.
  • Mustard seeds: Remember to temper the seeds by frying them in hot oil until they splutter, and release their aroma.
  • Onion: finely chopped white onion or yellow onion both work well.
  • Garlic cloves: I recommend using fresh garlic, but you could also use garlic powder if that’s all you have on hand.
  • Curry powder: Mild, or madras, both work great.
  • Cumin powder: It is a food pantry staple in my kitchen, and a key component of this Baigan ka bharta recipe.
  • Pepper: an orange bell pepper is ideal for added sweetness and colour, but feel free to use any colour you have on hand.
  • Tomatoes: I like to use extra large fresh tomatoes in this baingan ka bharta recipe.
  • Chillies: Fresh or dried, it’s up to you. If you’re feeling adventurous, go for red chilli powder.
  • Garam masala: This spice blend is readily available at most supermarkets, and includes a mix of cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, and black pepper.
  • Cilantro: fresh cilantro, finely chopped as a garnish adds a fresh finishing touch.
  • Salt: add to suit your taste.
  • Lemon (optional): Though not a traditional addition, I love the boost of tang!

How to make baingan ka bharta – step-by-step recipe

Following is a step-by-step photo tutorial on how to make Baingan Bharta in the oven. The full recipe with measurements is at the bottom of this post (in the recipe card), along with the video.

  1. Start by preheating the oven. Before you cook the eggplant, wash it and dry it. Then, prick it all over with a knife or fork before roasting it (Step 1).
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the baingan bharta masala. Begin by heating the oil in a large pot on medium heat. Then, temper the cinnamon and mustard seeds until they crackle and pop (Step 2).
  3. Next, fry the onion and garlic (Step 3).
  4. When the onion is golden brown, add the pepper and cook on medium-high for about 3 mins (Step 4).
  5. To add another layer of flavour, add curry powder and cumin (Step 5) and cook for a minute on low heat.
  6. It’s time to add the tomatoes (Step 6)! You want to cook them on medium-high heat – while continuing to stir – to prevent the tomato-pepper mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot. The result should be a soft and mushy mixture (which takes about 5 minutes) – Step 7.
  7. After the eggplant has cooked and cooled (Step 8), peel off the skin and mash the flesh (Step 9).
  8. Then add the mashed eggplant along with chillies (for some heat!) to the tomato-pepper mixture – Step 10. It’s ideal to cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes.
  9. Finish with salt, garam masala and cilantro and simmer for another 10 minutes on low heat (Step 11).

You could enjoy the finished baingan bharta stuffed in lettuce leaves or with your favourite grain. A squeeze of lemon juice is completely optional!

Flat lat of lettuce leaves stuffed with mashed eggplant and topped with avocado pieces and chickpeas with two bowls of mashed eggplant arranged around.

How to serve vegan Indian eggplant

As we approach back to school, I’m eager to keep things super simple in the recipes department. So, this Baingan Bharta can easily be served with rice, paratha or quinoa for a complete meal. It would also pair well with naan or roti.

Below I’ve shared some of my favourite ways to savour this Baingan ka Bharta:

  • Pizza: Try it as a pizza topping in place of tomato sauce – it’s so good!
  • Rice bowl: Serve over basmati rice with a dollop of plain yogurt or raita.
  • Pasta: Toss with your favourite pasta and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Dip: Baingan Bharta makes an incredible dip! Simply blend with chickpeas until smooth and enjoy with this gluten free crackers recipe or pita chips. Why not spread it on toast for breakfast, to create a nourishing meal?
perspective image of two bowls of mashed eggplant surrounded by lettuce leaves stuffed with mashed eggplant topped with avocado pieces and chickpeas.

Tips for making the best brinjal bharta

  1. To make this dish, use the largest available eggplant variety. Choose ones that are smooth and glossy with no scars or indentations on the surface.
  2. Allow the eggplant to roast for 65 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the skin is easy to remove.
  3. To avoid burns, wait for the roasted eggplant to cool down before removing its skin.
  4. When removing the skin, use your fingers and scrape away any flesh from it.
  5. You want to keep all of the juices from the eggplant and add them to your dish – for added delicious flavour!
  6. Allow the full 20 minutes of simmering to ensure that all the flavours have time to blend together and create a delicious dish.
  7. If you want a hot kick, feel free to add more chillies.

Nutrition highlights

One serving of this oven-roasted baingan bharta provides approximately 85 calories and 11 grams of carbs (7 grams of net carbs). It’s:

  • an excellent source of vitamin C (21% DV)
  • an good source of dietary fibre (16% DV)
  • an decent source of potassium (11% DV)
  • a rich source of vitamin A (18% DV)
  • low in fat, including saturated fat

*Nutrient claims based on a 2000-calorie diet.

Perspective image of a bowl of mashed eggplant topped with olives and a lemon slice surrounded by lettuce leaves stuffed with mashed eggplant.

What are your favourite ways to enjoy oven-roasted baingan bharta?

If you try this meatless recipe, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Can’t wait to see your photos.

Desi~liciously Yours, Shahzadi
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overhead image of a bowl of mashed eggplant topped with olives, chillies and a lemon slice.
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Get the Recipe:

Oven-Roasted Baingan Bharta (Indian Eggplant Recipe)

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 40 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 55 mins
Yield: 6 people
This oven-roasted recipe for Baingan Bharta (Indian eggplant) is a nourishing dish of mashed eggplant, simmered stovetop in a thick tomato-pepper sauce. If you're on the hunt for a healthy Indian recipe — with less oil, spices, and salt — this is it! Enjoy with roti, quinoa, or lettuce cups. 

Ingredients
 

  • 3 eggplant, globe, large, washed
  • 1 onion, large, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 garlic, cloves, large, crushed
  • 1 pepper, large, orange, cut into small cubes. Red and yellow peppers also work well
  • 4 tomatoes, large, washed and chopped into small cubes
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick, large
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1.5 tsp cumin powder, you could use cumin seeds. Remember to temper them in oil at the start.
  • 2 green chilli, optional. Feel free to add more if you prefer.
  • tsp garam masala
  • tsp salt
  • 1 cup cilantro, fresh, washed and finely chopped. Include stems.

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 420 degrees F. Prick each eggplant all over with a knife or fork before roasting it in the oven.
  • Place the eggplants on a large oven tray and send to roast for 65 minutes, turning them over at 25 minutes. You want to ensure that the eggplants are soft and cooked through.
  • In a large pot, on medium-high heat, add oil and temper the cinnamon stick and mustard seeds. Once the seeds start crackling, add the onion and garlic and fry until golden brown.
  • Add the pepper and cook on medium heat until soft (about 3 minutes).
  • Add curry powder and cumin powder, stir and cook for an additional minute on low heat, to allow the spices to release their flavours.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and cook on high heat, stirring continuously to prevent burning. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and mushy (about 5-7 minutes).
  • After the eggplant has cooked and cooled, peel off the skin and mash the flesh.
  • Add the mashed eggplant and chillies (optional) to the tomato-pepper mixture. Cover and simmer on low heat for 10 mins minutes.
  • Finish with salt, garam masala and cilantro. Then cover and simmer for another 10 minutes on low heat. You could add a squeeze of lemon juice (optional).

Notes

    1. To make this dish, use the largest available eggplant variety. Choose ones that are smooth and glossy with no scars or indentations on the surface.
    2. Allow the eggplant to roast for 65 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when the skin is easy to remove.
    3. To avoid burns, wait for the roasted eggplant to cool down before removing its skin.
    4. To remove the skin, use your fingers and scrape away any flesh from it.
    5. Keep all of the juices from the eggplant and add them to your dish – you want all that delicious flavour!
    6. Allow the full 20 minutes of simmering to ensure that all the flavours have time to blend together and create a delicious dish.
    7. If you want a hot kick, add more chillies.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 84kcal (4%)Carbohydrates: 11g (4%)Protein: 2g (4%)Fat: 4g (6%)Saturated Fat: 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 640mg (27%)Potassium: 383mg (11%)Fiber: 4g (16%)Sugar: 4g (4%)Vitamin A: 879IU (18%)Vitamin C: 17mg (21%)Calcium: 33mg (3%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Keep in mind that the nutritional values provided are approximations and suggestions. This nutrition facts table cannot account for your individual needs. Your body — including your hunger and satiety cues — change daily. It’s perfectly fine to eat more or less on different days. Instead of letting food guilt take over, consider mindful eating.

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cuisine: Indian
Course: Main
Did you make this recipe?Mention @desiliciousrd on Instagram or tag #desiliciousrd.
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