This Vegan Eggplant Lentil curry is so comforting, filling, and it is truly the most nourishing weeknight dinner. For this recipe, I decided to branch out of our normal tofu curry and develop a curry where eggplant and lentils are the stars of this vegan, gluten-free, & nourishing meal.
How to make eggplant lentil curry
In case you've never made a vegan curry before, here are a few staples you need & a few links to the items and cooking utensils I use to make this eggplant lentil stew:
The Most Important Ingredient- Lentils!
What truly makes this vegan curry so unique and filling is the addition of lentils. Honestly, if there weren't lentils, this dish tastes a lot like a traditional Indian eggplant curry called Baingan Bharta which is made with minced and charred eggplant.
The reason that I decided to cook with lentils for this recipe is that Lentils are a great source of nutrients for vegetarians and vegans alike. They happen to be high in Iron and Folate, two nutrients that are harder to get in a vegan diet, while also containing a good amount of protein.
Why Red or Crimson Lentils Work Best In a Curry:
One thing you may not know about cooking with lentils is that not all lentils are created equal. In fact, the cooking time DOES vary by color.
Red or Crimson Lentils, which this recipe calls for, take a shorter amount of time to cook and generally lose their shape while cooking. This makes them the perfect lentil to use for this recipe. We are going for a mashed curry where you can get all the flavors of eggplant, lentil, tomato, and curry spices in one bite!
For reference, red/crimson lentils lets take 15-20 minutes to cook whereas green or brown lentils can take up to 45 minutes! So this is my nice way of staying- stick to the recipe with this one :).
Curry Powder for an Easy Curry!
Instead of making you go out and buy 6 different spices, I made this recipe really easy by flavoring it with Simply Organics Curry Powder. It's a mix of every spice you could need for a yellow curry including coriander, turmeric, mustard, cumin, fenugreek, paprika, cayenne, cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.
If you can't find curry powder at home, you can look up tons of recipes online for homemade curry powder like this Curry Powder from Minimalist Baker.
Canned Coconut Milk For Creaminess
Make sure you use full-fat canned coconut milk vs. bottled coconut milk that is more of the liquid. Making this vegan eggplant curry with coconut milk is what makes it extra creamy. I personally have been really into Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk these days & highly recommend this brand of coconut milk.
Fresh Lime Juice Is the Secret Ingredient!
Seriously, don't skip it or buy the fake stuff. Lime juice does something extra special when mixed with curry spices and will bring this eggplant lentil curry from good to great. It's the secret ingredient to all my curries including my Chickpea Tomato Spinach Curry!
I truly hope you enjoy this warming Vegan Eggplant Lentil Curry. It's become a classic comfort dish to get me through some pretty long, rainy Seattle winter days.
Plus, this vegan eggplant curry is actually really healthy too! Did I mention it stores perfectly as leftovers for 3-4 days? I'm always looking for ways to create recipes with eggplant and this curry did not disappoint. Comforting, Healthy, Vegan, Gluten-Free, AND Filling is an absolute WIN in my book!
More comforting plant-based dinner recipes you will love:
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Vegan Eggplant Lentil Curry
- 1 Tablespoon oil
- 1 ½ Tablespoons curry powder
- ½ cup dried red lentils
- 1 small jalapeno pepper *finely minced
- 1 medium onion *diced
- 3 large tomatoes *chopped, campari or beefsteak tomatoes are best
- 1 small eggplant (or ½ large eggplant *diced into small cubes)
- 2 cloves garlic *finely minced
- 14 ounces canned coconut milk
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon lime juice *or the juice from 1 small lime
- salt & pepper to taste
- fresh cilantro *optional, to top the curry
- Add the oil to a large skillet pan or wok and heat. Once the oil is hot, add the curry powder and pan fry for 2 minutes to bring out the flavor in the curry powder.
- Next, add the dried lentils and chopped vegetables to the pan including the jalapeno, onion, tomato, eggplant, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Pan fry for 5 minutes until all the vegetables and lentils are coated in the curry powder.
- Add in the coconut milk and vegetable broth and bring the curry to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked through, yet not mushy.
- Remove the curry from the heat and add in your lime juice and additional salt & pepper to taste. Serve over rice and top with fresh cilantro and lie wedges for the best results. Enjoy!
- Leftover curry can be stored in a closed container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- Red lentils cannot be substituted for other lentils without adjusting the cooking time. Green or brown lentils will need about 45 minutes to cook.