Baby Eggplant Curry is a rich and flavorful dish that’s perfect for those in-season baby eggplants. It’s full of protein and fiber, is vegan, gluten-free, and is ready to eat in about 30 minutes.
As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
I’m a sucker for baby versions of practically any vegetable, and eggplant is no exception. I saw the cutest little baby eggplants at my local farm stand, and decided to buy a bunch. After thinking about it, I decided to use them in a curry, and Baby Eggplant Curry was born.
This meal has more than a few ingredients, but I promise it is worthwhile to try. The flavor from sautéed ginger, garlic, onion, and spices will make it seem like it’s been cooking for hours, but you only need about 3o minutes to bring the whole thing together. What’s more is that you can actually do some of the prep while the aromatics are simmering, saving a little bit of time. Plus, this dish is vegan, gluten-free, and cooks in ONE PAN (which is linked below)! How exciting is that?
Can I use another type of eggplant?
Baby eggplant season may be over–it’s hard to tell, since my eggplants are still very much babies on the plant in my garden. However, they may still be babies because I’m a terrible gardener. If you can’t find adorable baby eggplants at your local market, you can use any other type of eggplant, and cut it into large pieces (I’d say 1.5 inch chunks). In total, the 12 baby eggplants I used amounted to about 5 cups of large eggplant chunks.
Can I use another type of tomato?
Of course! I usually use canned diced tomatoes for curries, but I used fresh because I had them. The internet varies on its opinion of “how many fresh tomatoes equal a can of diced tomatoes”. I think I would use one 15ish oz can for the two large tomatoes I used in this recipe.
I don’t have fresh ginger. Can I used dried?
Hmmmmm…no. I don’t think you can. Let me rephrase: you can actually do whatever you want, because I’m not your mom and won’t be eating this, but I think you’ll regret it if you don’t use fresh ginger. In the future, buy some ginger, peel and cut it into pieces, and freeze them. Then, you’ll always have “fresh” ginger root available (and yes, frozen ginger root counts as fresh in my book).
Can I make other substitutions?
Sure. I think you could substitute another legume, such as lentils, for chickpeas. You could also add tofu cubes, or some kind of leafy green, and that would be nice. You could use cream instead of coconut milk, but the dish would no longer be vegan. You could also just omit the coconut milk altogether to reduce the fat content of the dish.
How should I serve this?
Great question! Baby Eggplant Curry tastes great over some rice. I used jasmine here, which is my favorite, but I often use brown rice. You could also serve this with some naan (which is NOT gluten-free), or skip the extra carbs altogether and just eat the curry out of a bowl.
Do you like easy, one pan meals? Try Instant Pot Lamb and Green Beans, Easy French Onion Chicken, or One Pan Cod and Chorizo. If you’re looking for more easy vegan dishes, try Vegan Thai Coconut Curry, Minestrone Soup, or Vegan Chili.
Baby Eggplant Curry
- 12 baby eggplants, cut in quarters or 1/6ths (this equates to about 5 cups of eggplant cut into large chunks)
- 3/4 tsp sea salt (can sub another type of salt, but taste to make sure it's not too salty), divided
- 1 teaspoon avocado oil (or another neutral oil)
- 1 small onion, diced
- inch piece ginger, finely minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped (skins can stay on) (about 4 cups)
- 1 15.5 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (from a can)
Place the eggplant in a colander, and sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp salt on the cut surfaces. Allow them to sit and release some of their liquid while you start making the sauce.
In a large nonstick saute pan, heat the oil over medium-low. Add the onion and ginger, and stir frequently until it starts to become fragrant (don't let the onion brown--if it starts to, turn the heat down).
Turn down to low, and add the garlic, curry powder, turmeric, and stir and saute for 1-2 minutes. Then add the tomatoes with their juices and salt, turn the heat up to medium-low, and stir frequently while the tomatoes break down and release more of their juices, about 5-7 minutes.
Gently wipe the salt off of the eggplant. When the tomatoes have become more juicy, add the eggplant, and stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer, and then add chickpeas and coconut milk. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 more minutes.
Serve the curry with white or brown rice (I like jasmine rice), and garnish with cilantro or parsley, if desired.
See post for substitution ideas.