This sheet pan baingan bharta (mashed Indian spiced eggplant) is one of my all time favorite Indian preparations of eggplant (if not THE most favorite!). By making it on a sheet pan, it also becomes one of the easiest!!
What is Baigan Bharta
Baingan bharta is a spiced mashed eggplant dish. It is traditionally made by grilling/charring/roasting whole eggplant over an open flame. Cooking the eggplant over an open flame is what gives the eggplant that characteristically smoky flavor that this dish is known for. Once the eggplant is cooked, the skin can be peeled off and the eggplant is mashed. The eggplant mash is then added to a sauce consisting of onion, tomato, garlic, ginger, chilies and spices like: garam masala, coriander, cumin and turmeric. Baigan bharta can be served with warm naan or roti.
What ingredients are in Baingan Bharta?
- Eggplant - you're looking for a nice round American eggplant for this recipe
- Tomatoes - I like to use 2 tomatoes for this dish, adds a sweet, tart flavor
- Onions - 1 whole onion, just peel it and cut it in half
- Garlic - whole cloves and lots of them!
- Ginger - freshly chopped or grated
- Green Chillies - 1 or 2 small green chillies, finely chopped
- Spices/Masala- Garam Masala, Turmeric, Coriander, Cumin
How to bake/roast eggplant?
First prep your sheet pan: Line with aluminum foil, I highly recommend heavy duty especially when roasting.
You can roast eggplant whole. There is no need to chop or cut up the eggplant. The only step you really must do is: pierce the eggplant with a fork or knife several times. This is required so the steam that will build up in the eggplant as it is cooking has a place to release.
I know roasting eggplant over an open flame is ideal for that classic smoky flavor, but how easy is that to do. Instead I found that roasting eggplant on high heat in the oven, 400 degrees F, will give you a similar smokiness! Ideally, you could also finish cooking in the broiler which will give you a nice char at then end.
How do you make sheet pan Baigan Bharta?
- Prep you sheet pan and add the eggplant whole, just pierce the eggplant a few times
- Now here's the step which I feel like really sets this recipe apart: roast the other veggies on the same sheet pan too! I mean you got the sheet pan ready to go, just add the tomatoes, onions and garlic to the same pan! Roast them all together and get that sweet roasted flavor across the board.
- Just watch the garlic and onions carefully, they will char quicker than the eggplant and tomatoes. Once the garlic, onion and tomatoes are charred, put them into a blender and set that sauce aside.
- Once the eggplant is done, let it cool. Then peel off the the skin and mash the eggplant flesh, set aside.
- Now all you have to do is saute the tomato onion garlic sauce with spices and add the mashed eggplant
- Finish with a sprinkle of cilantro and lemon juice
What to serve baingan bharta with?
You can enjoy baingan bharta with any Indian flatbreads: naan, roti, parathas are all great options. You can also serve with basmati rice or a comforting bowl of khichdi.
Additional questions you may have about Sheet Pan Baingan Bharta
Which is the best eggplant to use for sheet pan baingan bharta?
For this recipe, you should look for a large, round globe eggplant. They are referred to as American eggplants. Italian or Sicilian eggplants are also great substitutes if you are having a hard time finding a globe eggplant. Basically, you want a fleshy eggplant that will be able to withstand the high heat in the oven.
Is baingan bharta healthy?
Yes, it is definitely healthy. The preparation requires roasted vegetables and just a little oil for sautéing.
Is baingan bharta vegan?
Yes, there is no ghee, cream or any other milk/dairy ingredients in this recipe.
Is baingan bharta keto friendly?
Yes it is. Eggplant, tomatoes, and most of the ingredients are very low in carb. The only ingredient you want to be careful with in terms of the carbs is the onion. You can always omit this ingredient entirely or use less if you are looking to reduce the carbs even further.
Sheet Pan Baingan Bharta (Spicy Eggplant)
- 1 eggplant
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 onion cut in half
- 6-10 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ginger grated
- 1-2 green chilies finely minced
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- cilantro chopped, for garnish
- lemons optional for serving
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (optional but makes for easy clean up).
- Pierce the eggplant a few times with a fork or knife, place on the sheet pan. Pierce the tomatoes a few times and place on the sheet pan. Place onion halves and garlic cloves on the sheet pan. Drizzle with oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Once the garlic cloves are tender but before they are burned!, remove them from the sheet pan to a bowl or a blender jar. Check on the onions, remove them from the sheet pan with the garlic once they are tender, or continue to cook them for another 10 minutes.
- Tomatoes and eggplant should be cooked after 20-30 minutes in the oven, depending on their size. Transfer the tomatoes to the blender jar with the garlic and onion.
- Blend the roasted garlic cloves, roasted onions and roasted tomatoes until pureed, set aside.
- In a saute pan, with cooking oil on medium heat. Add cumin seeds to warmed oil, then add ginger and green chilies. Cook for 30 seconds. Add the garlic, onion, tomato puree. Stir to combine, add in the dry spices.
- Carefully peel the skin from the eggplant and discard. Mash the cooked eggplant pulp with a fork and add to the seasoned tomato mixture. Stir and cook for few minutes
- Top with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lemon, serve with warm naan.