Before I get into this healthy spiced eggplant masala, I have to preface this. Indian food is amazing. But Indian vegetarian food is something else entirely. Maybe I’m a little biased because I grew up eating Indian food at home, but I really do believe that Indian food makes eating vegetables seriously interesting.
Take this spiced eggplant masala dish in its traditional form, for example. It’s called bainghan bharta, and in order to prepare it, typically the eggplant is roasted in the oven, enough so that the skin can easily be peeled off. The skin is then peeled, the insides of the eggplant are mashed, and then it is cooked with the masala and onions. Even typing out this whole process to you now is a little exhausting. And that was one factor I was looking to address when I decided to write up my own recipe for baingan bharta.
I wanted to make a spiced eggplant masala that was healthier, easier, but a little quicker to make than the OG. I think a primary deterrent when it comes to cooking in general is truly the duration of time it takes to make certain dishes. Looking at the prep time alone is daunting and can sometimes make people reach for their meal delivery apps (and no judgment…I’ve been there too).
Which is why, especially when it comes to my Indian dishes, I want to make them approachable and delicious, and completely remove the feeling that putting dinner on the table (or the couch, I don’t know where you eat!!) is hours and hours away.
Enter my take on baingan bharta! I nixed the roasting and peeling so that you can just chop it up and cook it in the onions, garlic, and spices. This dish is full of warming spices and flavors, perfect served with some rice, quinoa, or bread. I hope you love this spiced eggplant masala as much as I do!!
Healthy Baingan Bharta
- 1 yellow onion, sliced
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 eggplant
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp salt + more to taste
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 1.5 tbsp lemon juice or juice of half lemon
- 1 cup spinach
- cilantro to garnish
Heat grapeseed oil in a large pot.
Once oil is hot, toss in garlic cloves and sliced onions. Sauté until onions are slightly browned and translucent.
While onions are cooking, dice eggplant. Pieces don’t need to be perfect, as we will be cooking them until soft.
When onions are translucent, add cayenne pepper, cumin, turmeric, salt, and garam masala. Sauté for a few minutes until spices have cooked.
Once onions and spices have cooked together, add diced eggplant. Cook eggplant until it is soft — you will have to cover, stir, cook and repeat to get it there. You want it very tender.
Once eggplant is soft, add can of crushed, diced tomatoes. Continue to stir and cover, for about 10 minutes.
Now add tomato paste and lemon juice and stir into the masala.
Add spinach and cook until it wilts
Garnish with cilantro, and serve with rice, bread, or quinoa! Enjoy!