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.

“I am so glad I found this recipe!! So easy and absolutely delicious!! I ate it on top of garlic naan with avocado and extra homemade hot sauce. Delish!!” ~Elizabeth Walker

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!

Nutrition highlights

This vegan curry recipe is brimming with nutrition:

  • Vitamin C, thanks to the eggplants
  • Dietary Fiber, courtesy of bell peppers
  • Potassium, from the tomatoes
  • Antioxidants, thanks to the spices and cilantro

What is Baingan Bharta?

Baingan Bharta is a popular Indian recipe made from roasted and mashed eggplant (baingan), typically cooked with onions, tomatoes, and various spices. It’s known for its rich, smoky flavour and creamy texture, making it a favourite among vegans, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

Traditionally, Baingan Bharta involves charring whole eggplants over an open flame, followed by removing the skin and simmering the flesh in a spiced tomato-based sauce. While this method yields a delightful smoky flavour, it can be a bit laborious and messy.

In my variation of the recipe, I opt for a simpler approach by oven-roasting the eggplant. This results in a soft texture without the need for constant attention. Once roasted, I mash the eggplant and blend it with spices, tomatoes, and peppers.

Rest assured, this version retains all the deliciousness of the traditional dish, but with significantly less effort and cleanup – not to mention, it’s packed with 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.
perspective shot of lettuce leaves stuffed with mashed eggplant and topped with avocado pieces and chickpeas with two bowls of mashed eggplant arranged around.

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. This ensures they roast evenly and develop a creamy texture.
  • Olive oil: Opt for high-quality olive oil to cook the eggplant bharta. Its rich flavour enhances the dish’s taste.
  • Cinnamon stick: Adding a cinnamon stick infuses the dish with warmth and depth, complementing the other spices beautifully.
  • Mustard seeds: Remember to temper the mustard seeds by frying them in hot oil until they splutter. This step maximizes their flavour and aroma, elevating the overall taste of the dish.
  • Onion and garlic: Finely chopped white or yellow onion, along with fresh garlic, provides a robust base of flavour. For the best results, use fresh ingredients.
  • Spices: Using curry powder, along with cumin create layers of flavour. These spices are essential for that authentic taste.
  • Bell pepper and tomatoes: Adding orange bell pepper and extra-large fresh tomatoes not only enhances the sweetness and colour of the dish but also contributes to its rich texture.
  • Chillies: Whether fresh or dried, adding chillies allows you to control the heat level according to your preference. For a bolder flavour, consider using red chilli powder.
  • Garam masala: This spice blend, containing cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, and black pepper, adds complexity and depth to the dish. I love using my homemade garam masala recipe for optimal flavour.
  • Cilantro: Finely chopped fresh cilantro serves as a vibrant garnish, adding a refreshing touch to the finished dish.
  • Salt: Adjust the salt according to your taste preferences, ensuring a well-balanced flavour profile.
  • Lemon (optional): While not traditional, a squeeze of lemon juice before serving provides a delightful tangy contrast, enhancing the overall taste experience.
perspective image of two bowls of mashed eggplant surrounded by lettuce leaves stuffed with mashed eggplant topped with avocado pieces and chickpeas.

How to make it

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

Begin by preheating the oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit.

Three globe eggplants on a wooden board with a red knife next to them.
Before placing the eggplants in the oven, be sure to puncture them all around with a knife or fork. This allows steam to escape during cooking, preventing bursting and ensuring even cooking throughout. Cook for 65 minutes.
a red pot with oil, mustard seeds and a cinnamon stick.
While the eggplants are roasting, prepare the baingan bharta masala. Heat oil over medium heat, and temper whole spices until they crackle and pop. This infuses the oil with flavour.
a red pot with a wooden spoon and cooked chopped onions.
Next, sauté the onion and garlic until they turn golden brown.
a red pot with a wooden spoon and cooked pieces of orange pepper and golden mashed onions.
Add the pepper and cook over medium-high heat for approximately 3 minutes. This allows the pepper to soften slightly while retaining its vibrant colour and crisp texture.
a red pot with a wooden spoon and cooked pepper pieces topped with powdered spices.
Add curry powder and cumin, then cook for a minute over very low heat. This step allows the spices to bloom and release their flavours without burning.
a red cooking pot full of chopped tomatoes and orange peppers with a wooden spoon immersed in it.
Add tomatoes and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly to prevent sticking.
a red pot of tomato sauce with pieces of peppers.
This yields a soft, mushy mixture, typically in about 5 minutes.
Three cooked eggplants side by side on a black plate.
Once the eggplants have cooked and cooled, peel off the skin. Retain all the juices.
mashed eggplant in a glass square container.
Then, mash the flesh. This step prepares the eggplant for incorporation into the dish, ensuring a smooth texture.
a red pot of mashed eggplant and tomato sauce topped with chopped chillies.
Next, add the mashed eggplant along with the juices and chillies to the tomato-pepper mixture. Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld together.
a red pot of mixed vegetables topped with chopped herbs and powdered spice.
Finish with salt, garam masala and cilantro and simmer for another 10 minutes on low heat.

Food safe storage

For the fridge: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

For the freezer: Transfer to freezer-safe containers or bags and store for up to 2 months.

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 gear up for back-to-school season, simplicity reigns supreme in my kitchen. That’s why I love serving this dish with rice, paratha, or quinoa for a well-rounded meal. It also pairs beautifully with naan or roti. Here are some of my favourite ways to enjoy this eggplant recipe:

  1. Pizza: Elevate your pizza game by using this flavorful dish as a topping instead of traditional tomato sauce – trust me, it’s a game-changer!
  2. Rice bowl: For a satisfying meal, serve the eggplant over fragrant basmati rice with a dollop of plain yogurt or raita.
  3. Pasta: Get creative in the kitchen by tossing this dish with your favourite pasta and finishing it off with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  4. Dip: Transform this recipe into a sensational dip. Simply blend it with chickpeas until smooth and enjoy it with gluten free crackers recipe or pita chips. And why not spread it on toast for a nourishing breakfast? The possibilities are endless!

Diabetes diet advice

Eggplants are rich in soluble fibre, which can help stabilize blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Including eggplants in your meals can be a delicious way to support better blood sugar management.

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

If you try this recipe, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram. Seeing your creations always brightens my day!

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 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
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. 

Video

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 your oven to 420°F. Using a knife or fork, puncture each eggplant all over before roasting them in the oven.
  • Arrange the eggplants on a large oven tray and roast for 65 minutes, flipping them over at the 25-minute mark. The goal is to achieve a very soft texture.
  • In a large pot, heat oil and temper the cinnamon stick and mustard seeds until they crackle. Add the onion and garlic, frying until golden brown.
  • Introduce the pepper and cook over medium heat until tender, approximately 3 minutes.
  • Sprinkle in the curry powder and cumin powder, stirring well. Allow the spices to release their flavours for an additional minute over very low heat.
  • Incorporate the tomatoes, cooking on high heat while continuously stirring to prevent burning. Cook until the tomatoes reach a soft and mushy consistency, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Once the eggplants have cooked and cooled, peel off the skin and mash the flesh. Retain the juices.
  • Add the mashed eggplant and chillies to the tomato-pepper mixture. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
  • To finish, sprinkle with salt, garam masala, and cilantro. Cover once more and simmer for another 10 minutes over low heat. For an extra zing, consider adding a squeeze of lemon juice (optional).

Notes

How to serve vegan Indian eggplant

  • Pizza: Elevate your pizza game by using this flavorful dish as a topping instead of traditional tomato sauce – trust me, it’s a game-changer!
  • Rice bowl: For a satisfying meal, serve the eggplant over fragrant basmati rice with a dollop of plain yogurt or raita.
  • Pasta: Get creative in the kitchen by tossing this dish with your favourite pasta and finishing it off with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Dip: Transform this recipe into a sensational dip. Simply blend it with chickpeas until smooth and enjoy it with gluten free crackers recipe or pita chips. And why not spread it on toast for a nourishing breakfast? The possibilities are endless!

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, and might fluctuate depending on ingredient variations, portion sizes, and recipe adjustments. 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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