What’s your ultimate comfort food? To me, it’s honestly a toss up between chocolate chip cookies & a big bowl of warming curry! Making curry is a staple in our house because it’s quick, nutritious, and can pretty much be made with any vegetable we have in the fridge . For this recipe, I decided to branch out of our normal Basil Coconut Curry and develop a curry where eggplant and lentils are the start. This Vegan Eggplant Lentil curry is so comforting, filling, and it is truly the most nourishing weeknight dinner. I can’t wait for you to try!
Could really use that bowl of comfort food: Jump to Recipe
Why You Need Red or Crimson Lentils For This Recipe
What truly makes this Vegan Eggplant Lentil Curry so unique and filling is the addition of lentils. Honestly, if there wasn’t lentils, this dish tastes a lot like a traditional Indian Dish called Baingan Bharta which is made with minced and charred eggplant.
The reason that I decided to cook with lentils for this recipe is because Lentils are a great source of nutrients for vegetarians and vegans alike. They happen to be high in Iron and Folate, two nutrients harder to get in a vegan diet, while also containing a good amount of protein.
One thing you may not know about cooking with lentils, is that not all lentils are created equal. In fact, the cooking time DOES very 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 :).
Other Staples you Need For Any Good Curry:
In case you’ve never made a vegan curry before, here’s a few staples you need & a few links to the items and cooking utensils I use to make this curry.
A Really Good Cast Iron Pan.
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. While I love making my own spice mixes at home, sometimes it’s nice to have a staple like curry powder on hand.
Canned Coconut Milk.
Make sure you use coconut milk that still has some of the cream/fat in it vs. a bottled coconut milk that is more of the liquid. This is what will give you that extra creamy curry. I personally have been really into Native Forest Organic Coconut Milk these days & highly recommend this brand of coconut milk.
Fresh Lime Juice.
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 recipe from good to great. Let me repeat. No skipping the lime juice!
One Last Note on Curry
DO pan fry your curry spices with oil BEFORE cooking them with other ingredients.
Why? This intensifies the flavors of the spices! It will make your spices bolder, brighter, and more fragrant. I never, ever skip this step when I make a homemade curry, so please don’t either!
The Best Comforting AND Healthy Meal
I truly hope you enjoy this warming Vegan Eggplant Lentil Curry. It’s become a classic comfort dish in our house. It has definitely been one of those meals to get me through some pretty long, rainy Seattle winter days. Plus, this curry is actually really healthy too! Oh and did I mention it stores perfectly as leftovers for 3-4 days? Comforting, Healthy, Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Filling is an absolute WIN in my book!
In other news, today marks my last weekly recipe before I move to a bi-weekly schedule for Summer 2019. Life is a bit hectic right now and I’m starting to come to terms with the reality that I need to take a step back and slow down. Rest assured, you’ll still be seeing tons of new recipes throughout summer, just at a bit of a slower pace until September. I hope you all have a wonderful week and see you back here in two weeks!
In Case You’re On the Hunt for More Easy Plant-Based Weeknight Dinners, Here’s a Few of My Favorites: