candle cafe’s vegetarian chili

When I was in NYC last weekend, I was staying around Midtown East which was new for me. I usually stay with my friends downtown or I lived in Union Square so walking around that area more was exciting and a new adventure. Molly and I went to Candle 79 the first night I was there and while it was good, I also wanted to go to their more casual restaurant called Candle Cafe. Since I had a small refrigerator in my room, I thought I’d go on Sunday and get a meal for the train home Monday because I didn’t know when I’d be able to get anything.

I got their vegetarian chili and a side of steamed broccoli- much like my dinner at Great Sage– and when I packed them for Monday, I, of course, put them together in a container I had packed my lunch in on Friday. Have I mentioned I love packing my own meals? 😉

Well.. let’s just say I loved the chili! It was so good- flavorful and wonderful texture. This is the description of it on the menu:

I asked for no cheese just because it sounded weird to me and I didn’t need it because I crushed the cornbread on top! Perfection! Like the broccoli at Great Sage, I knew I wanted to recreate it at home. What I loved about it was that it had lentils in it which added a smoothness to the chili compared to other vegetarian chili that just have beans. So tonight I did just that- and I should say, it tasted just like the cafe’s version, but homemade, which is always better.

Vegetarian Chili (serves 6-8)

1 can of pinto beans, drained

1 can of kidney beans, drained

1 cup of lentils, rinsed

1 (28-oz) can of peeled whole tomatoes with their juice, crushed with your fingers

1/2 large onion, diced

2 cups sweet potato, cubed

3 small carrots, peeled and sliced

1 packet of vegetarian chili seasoning (I get the packet by Simply Organic)

2 cups of low-sodium vegetable stock

2 cups of water


1. Put everything into a large pot.

2. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for an hour. It’s that easy.

3. If you want, use a hand mixer or a blender to blend about a 1/4 of it to thicken it overall. Likewise, if you wanted a coarser consistency, use a fork and crush some of the lentils, beans or sweet potato on the side of the pot. Serve and enjoy!

I served it over a bed of broccoli, but crumbled cornbread or cheese would be great on top too.

Do you ever get inspiration from restaurants? If so, what was it?


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