Saturday, February 11, 2023

Vegetarian Lentil and Mushroom Curry with Baby Spinach or Eggplant (Aubergine)

Delicious Lentil, Eggplant and Mushroom curry

We all need a versatile lentil recipe in our repertoire that we can depend on when the going gets tough or just plain busy. I always have jars of green and red lentils on hand, and curry powder, which means this curry can be cooked at a moment's notice, even using frozen vegetables if necessary. We all know the power of pulses to provide essential protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre for our body. Lentils are also inexpensive. This is the perfect Meat Free Monday meal. When we were living in the Lakes District, in Northern England on a teacher exchange for Mr. HRK, 15 years ago, and being paid in Australian dollars and living on one wage, meat was so expensive that I introduced lentil dishes to our diet. That was the turning point for me, and I've cooked with them often ever since, along with other pulses such as chickpeas, dried peas and beans. Now I cook with them just because they are the basis of so many delicious meals like this one, and for the health benefits as well. Meat can easily be added to this recipe if you wish.

Lentil, Spinach and Mushroom Curry

Let's Cook:

Preparation time 15 minutes

Cooking time 30 minutes

 Serves 4


1/2 cup Whole Green lentils

1/2 cup Red Split Lentils

6 roughly chopped mushrooms

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced.

2cm piece fresh ginger, grated.

2 tablespoon Clive of India Curry Powder (or a good substitute curry powder)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

400 ml tin of coconut milk

1 cup vegetable stock

200g baby spinach or 1 whole medium sized eggplant

1 lemon, juice of

1/2 cup chopped coriander and extra for garnish if desired.


Rinse the Green lentils in a colander under cold water and pick over to remove any discoloured lentils or other matter. Do the same with the red lentils separately. The Green and the Red lentils are added at different stages during the cooking process.

On a low heat, sauté the onion in the oil for 4-5 minutes without browning. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute.

Combine the curry powder, cumin, and pepper in a small bowl and stir into the onions to coat them. I have also added a teaspoon of beneficial dried turmeric spice sometimes, which gives it a nice colour and a little more flavour, but not necessary. 

Add the uncooked Whole Green Lentils, coconut milk, and stock. Stir and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes and add more liquid if the mixture looks dry. Stir every 5 minutes during this time to ensure the lentil mixture isn't sticking to the base of the pan. 

After 15 minutes, add the uncooked Red Lentils, and the mushrooms. This is when you add the slightly cooked eggplant pieces if you are using them. 

Cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring and adding more liquid if necessary to prevent the mixture sticking to the pan.

I added almost an extra cup of water.

Fold in the spinach, lemon juice and chopped coriander just before serving.

Heat through and serve with rice or naan bread, or both.

Lentil, Mushroom and Eggplant Curry variation

It is so easy to substitute eggplant for the baby spinach in this curry.  I used one medium sized eggplant, chopped it up small chunks, and baked the pieces on a tray in the oven until slightly coloured at 180 deg. C, and almost cooked. Bake the eggplant chunks whilst you are simmering the green lentils. Or precook them and keep them covered in the refrigerator until you need them. They will finish cooking in the curry. I prefer this to cooking them in oil first before adding to a curry. However, I did lightly spray the eggplant pieces with spray on olive oil before baking so that they didn't dry out too much.

Add the eggplant chunks to the lentil dish when you add the red lentils and mushrooms according to the recipe above. The eggplant will then absorb all of the delicious curry flavours.

Cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring and adding more liquid if necessary. I added almost an extra cup of water. Fold in the lemon juice and chopped coriander just before serving.

Once you have made your curry so many other foods can be eaten with it. It is perfect just a for a meal on its own with rice and naan bread, or you can add some cooked chicken for the meat lovers, some extra vegetables, or even a poached egg on top.

Leftover curry will improve in flavour in the refrigerator to be eaten the next day. However, the spinach will just about disappear, so you could add some more next time when you reheat your curry.

Regular readers will know that I was called up for jury duty last fortnight, but I had reprieve when no jurors were required for that period. Phew! I felt as if I was the one being let out of jail! However, it freed me up last week to look after Tess, a dear old friend of mine who needed a carer after having an Angiogram in hospital. She's 84 years old, very slight, and the procedure took a lot out of her. I drove her to the hospital at 7 am in the morning, she was there until 3.30 pm, and then I brought her home to our place for a "sleepover", and breakfast.  I drove her home, later in the morning. The Public Hospital staff looked after her very well, but both her wrists and arms were very bruised, and she was really worn out. Thankfully the hospital insists on the patients needing a carer after a procedure like this one. So, I cooked a large piece of Corned Silverside in the slow cooker, which I know she enjoys, and we ate that for an early tea with some mashed potato, mashed pumpkin, steamed beans and broccoli. Broccoli is her favourite vegetable, noted Tess. She just loved it, and because she couldn't apply any pressure to her wrists, I cut everything up into small pieces for her. Corned Silverside is always delicious, and then we have sliced cold meat for a few days. Plain food is the best when recovering after a medical procedure isn't it? Tess doesn't eat very much though at the best of times. I gave her a container to take home with enough silverside and vegetables to last for a couple of days. She was thrilled to bits with that.

The next day, Tess had recovered fairly well, and I've spoken to her each day since, but she is still tired and other friends are taking her out for small outings. I'll see her this weekend. She needs to have some non-invasive heart surgery in about 6 months' time, in Townsville, about 350 kms away, and will need to fly up there for that. This was a real wake up call for me about elderly people who have no family to help out when they need to be cared for. Even those with families will need lots of support at some time. She still lives in her own home, which she is very thankful for, but she does need a lot of support from her neighbours and friends.

Take care,

Warmest wishes and I hope you enjoy this recipe. 

Pauline x


  1. Wish I could eat all the veggies without tummy problem. Love the avocado!

    1. Thanks Angie, that's a shame about vegetables. I love as many as I can get.

  2. Lentils are one pulse I just cannot eat. I don't like the texture at all. We lived our time in The Lakes District. It's so pretty there. I know in Perth you can get aged support. Do you have access to something like that?
    from Tandy I Lavender and Lime

    1. Tandy we have access to aged support here, but there's quite a process to work through for the kind of 24 hour support Tess needed. If necessary, I think they could have kept her in hospital.

  3. I don't really make a lot of lentils, but I do love them. This sounds delicious.

    1. Jeff it really was very tasty, and I try to include a couple of meat free meals in our diet each week. It really surprised me how delicious it was. Thanks for your comment.

  4. All of the vegetable look really good to me in this wonderful lentil dish. I would love with spinach or eggplant

  5. I am a big fan of lentils and all legumes. You are exactly right, beans are inexpensive, and make delicious meals. I also keep lentils and other beans in my pantry.

    I saw your comment on my post. I live in the southern United States. My children live in the northeast, and winters are brutal. Our winters are mild here in the south.

    1. Thanks for your reply Velva, sounds much nicer in the South where you live. Yes lentils and legumes are such good standbys.

  6. We always say that we should make dishes with lentils - thanks for the inspiration! I also agree with you that curry tastes just as good (if not better) the next day. This recipe sounds delicious. Thanks for the inspiration! And kudos to you for helping out Tess - she's lucky to have a friend like you!!

    1. Thanks David, Tess is such a dear and was so appreciative, I hope you take the plunge and make a lentil curry.

  7. i love lentils and eggplant and mushrooms :) How kind of you to look after your friend. It is a worry that some people don't have family support. I remember watching a hospital doco and a poor old fella came in; when asked about family support, he said he had nobody! BTW I got your Follow it email on sunday; it showed up at the end of another blogger's post!

    1. Thanks Sherry, great news about the follow it email. I am finding that happens too, with them being attached to other posts. I have noticed lately a lot of old people end up looking after their old friends, when there are no family around.

  8. Since we are trying to eat vegetarian/vegan more often, this is a perfect recipe for us, Pauline. We have almost every ingredient on hand - just need spinach!


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