This smoky, mildly spiced roasted eggplant curry is somewhat inspired by a classic Indian dish called Baingan Bharata. And while it’s delicious and easy, I’m not going to claim that this is an authentic recipe. The twist here is the addition of mustard greens or spinach, both well-loved greens in Indian cuisine.
Once the eggplant has been roasted and is cool enough to handle, this dish comes together quickly. Add chickpeas to make this a more substantial main dish, if you’d like.
About mustard greens
It’s not hard to become a mustard greens fan! The flavor has been described as pungent or peppery, though I’d characterize more as sharp, like horseradish. Like many greens that have a bite to their flavor, mustard greens mellow quite a bit when lightly cooked.
Another nice thing about using mustard greens is that they need not be stemmed. After trimming away the tough bottom part of the stem, the remaining leaves and their stems can be chopped or sliced together.
The mustard plant is a cruciferous vegetable, related to broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. Like these, mustard greens are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Like the leafy greens, it’s a notable source of Vitamin K. Here’s a look at mustard greens’ complete nutritional profile.
Complete the meal: Serve on its own in shallow bowls for a light dish, or over a hot cooked grain (couscous, quinoa, or brown basmati rice). A great protein-boosting companion is Super-Easy Chickpea Curry if you’d like a larger meal (in this case, eliminate the optional chickpeas in the recipe). A simple salad or a platter of raw vegetables is always welcome. Or …
Add an easy cucumber raita: Combine one crisp medium-size cucumber, quartered lengthwise (cut away seeds if watery) and thinly sliced, with a 6-ounce container of coconut yogurt and mix together. Stir in some chopped fresh cilantro.
Recipe adapted from Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- 2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
- 8 to 10 ounces mustard greens (or substitute any variety of spinach)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 small fresh hot chili, seeded and minced (see Note)
- 2 cups diced fresh, flavorful tomatoes, or one 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes (try fire-roasted), lightly drained
- 2 teaspoons good-quality curry powder or garam masala, or more, to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon natural granulated sugar
- Salt and freshly ground to taste
- Chopped fresh cilantro, as desired
- Hot cooked grain (couscous, quinoa, or basmati rice)
- Preheat the oven to 425º F.
- Prick the skin of the eggplants in several places. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the eggplants have collapsed.
- Remove from the oven and let the eggplants cool at room temperature. when ready to handle, scoop the flesh away from the skin. Discard the skin and stems; chop the eggplant flesh coarsely.
- If using mustard greens: trim the stem and chop coarsely or cut into ribbons. Rinse very well in a colander. If using any variety of spinach other than baby spinach: trim long stems and chop coarsely. Rinse mustard greens or large spinach leaves very well to make sure all grit is washed off. Use baby spinach leaves whole (if triple-washed, give them a quick rinse anyway; I always do).
- Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until golden, then add the minced chili and sauté for a minute or two longer.
- Add the chopped eggplant, tomatoes, curry powder, cumin, and sugar. Stir well, bring to a simmer, and cook over medium-low heat, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Add the greens, a bit at a time, then cover and cook just until wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.
If you aren’t inclined to use fresh chiles, simply season the dish to taste with another spicy seasoning like sriracha or hot red pepper flakes.
Variation: To make this a main dish, add 2 to 3 cups cooked or a 15-ounce can chickpeas or two (drained and rinsed). Adjust seasonings accordingly.
If you like this curried eggplant dish, you might also enjoy …
Here are lots more flavorful vegan main dishes.