Saucy tomato curry with lots of rich spices, this easy eggplant lentil curry is the perfect dinner recipe. Serve alongside rice or sourdough naan for a complete meal, everyone is going to love it! We love a good curry dish like Roasted Cauliflower Curry and even African Peanut Curry. But, this eggplant lentil curry is something extra tasty. Come take a look at just how easy and delicious it is, you’re going to love it!
What is eggplant lentil curry?
Eggplant lentil curry is an Indian-inspired curry dish made with coconut milk. The traditional Indian curry made from eggplant is called Baingan Bharta but, by adding in lentils this curry is something unique and perfect for vegetarians and vegans. It has tender chunks of eggplant and lentils in a spicy tomato sauce. It’s flavorful, easy to make, and goes perfectly served over rice or with naan for a quick vegetarian meal.
How to cook eggplant lentil curry?
This recipe is a perfect blend of flavorful lentils and meaty eggplant. For this recipe, I wanted the eggplant to cook down and mix with the lentils! This makes an amazingly flavorful dip for naan or scoopable veggie for serving on a thali plate or with rice. It’s almost like an Indian babaganoush. Let’s take a look at how to cook eggplant lentil curry, don’t worry I promise it’s easy!
First, chop the eggplant and veggies and set them aside.
Then, fry the cashews in oil and spices to open up the flavors.
Add the eggplant and pan-fry it for a few minutes. Next, add crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, and coconut cream and cover to simmer for 15 minutes.
Then remove the lid, add in lentils, cover, and recook for another 20-30 minutes until lentils are fully cooked. Mix well until a smooth eggplant and lentil mix is formed and scoop into a serving dish to accompany bread or rice.
How to know if an eggplant is ripe?
Ok, I am putting this tip in here because I tried this recipe with a perfect eggplant and with an overripe one, and the results were so shockingly different! I suggest finding the best, freshest, eggplant for this recipe, and here’s how to find the perfect one:
- Color- The skin should be a vibrant dark purple color, not dark brown. Too dark of eggplant can indicate an overripe eggplant.
- Firm- The skin should be tight and when your press your fingers on the eggplant gently it shouldn’t leave a dent.
- Flawless- Eggplant skin should be free from blemishes, dents, bruises, and scratches.
- Medium Sized- Too small or too big may result in overripe, tough, or hard eggplants.
- Seed Color- Seeds of a ripe eggplant should be yellow. So slice on into it if all other signs point to a ripe eggplant and check the color of the seeds. If the seeds are brown, it’s overripe and likely bitter tasting.
Use these tips to find the perfect eggplant and know when it is ripe.
Tips and ingredient suggestions
What type of lentils are best for curry?
I’m here to share with you today that not all lentils are the same! In fact different colored lentils take different cook times. For this reason, I choose to use red lentils in this curry dish. Red lentils take less time to cook and typically loose their shape while cooking. Which is perfect for this curry dish because we want all the flavors, eggplant, and lentils to blend together harmoniously.
Red lentils take about half the time as green or brown lentils (20-25 minutes). So, please follow the recipe and use red lentils for this recipe friends!
Use curry powder for an easy curry recipe
Curry is a combination of lots of spices including coriander, turmeric, mustard, cumin, fenugreek, paprika, cayenne, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. While I love this Curry Powder from Minimalist Baker if you want to skip this step and purchase some curry powder, no judgment here! I made this recipe using __________ curry powder which is super authentic tasting and delicious!
Full Fat Coconut Cream instead of cream
Since this curry is completely dairy-free, the cream has been swapped out with full fat coconut milk. I strongly encourage using full fat canned coconut milk which is much creamier and thicker than liquid coconut milk for the best flavor.
Fresh cilantro and lime
These two powerful ingredients are the perfect addition to your healthy and comforting curry dish. They enhance the curry flavors and truly complete this dish!
Healthy vegan curry recipe
I sincerely hope you love this healthy vegan Eggplant Lentil Curry recipe! It’s so comforting, nutritious, and a great source of protein for those choosing to eat plant-based. Don’t forget that it tastes amazing as leftovers too and will store well for 3-5 days in the fridge. If you are looking for a flavorful eggplant dish that is vegan, gluten-free, hearty, and healthy, you’ve come to the right recipe!Print
This healthy vegan eggplant lentil curry is easy to make and the perfect comfort food. Serve with rice and/or naan for a balanced gluten-free flavorful vegetarian meal.
- 2 medium eggplants or 6 cups cubed
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 1 /4 cup red lentils
- 1 1/2 tablespoon yellow curry powder* see blog post for more details
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup full-fat coconut cream
- 3/4 cup diced canned tomatoes
- 1/2 cup cashews chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes * optional
- 2 teaspoon fresh cilantro, for garnishing
- 1 lime, sliced for garnishing
- Wash and slice the eggplants and red pepper. Also, loosely chop the cashews. To slice the eggplant cut it down the middle vertically or the long way, then cut it again vertically. After 4 pieces have been formed sliced horizontally to form 1″ cubes or smaller.
- Heat the olive oil in a large wok or deep frying pan and add in the cashews. Roast the cashews until toasted and aromatic, avoid burning them.
- Next, add in the red pepper slices and the eggplant. Stir to evenly coat the veggies in oil.
- Then add in curry powder, fennel seeds, black pepper, and salt, and stir again to evenly coat.
- Let the veggies cook in the dry seasoning mixture for about 6 minutes until they begin to soften and cook down.
- Add in diced canned tomatoes. vegetable broth, chili flakes, and coconut cream. Stir well and then cover the pot with a lid and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 5 minutes before adding in the lentils.
- Stir well, reduce heat to medium-low, and then recover for 25 minutes or until lentils are fully cooked. During this time you can prepare your rice according to the package instructions.
- Remove the lid, stir the eggplant lentil curry well and check to make sure the lentils have split and are forming a creamy delicious mixture.
- Dish the curry and serve with rice or naan. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a lime wedge, and enjoy!
* the chili flakes will add heat and are optional.
- Serving Size: 1/2 cup with out rice
- Calories: 229
Keywords: curry, lentil, eggplant, indian dish, easy recipe, healthy dinner, vegetarian