I love a good challenge in the kitchen, but nothing has intimidated me like homemade mole sauce—the epitome of Mexican cuisine with layers of flavor from sweet peppers to spicy chocolate. Mole is so popular that Wikipedia mentions three times in one article that ninety-nine percent of Mexicans have tasted it, so how hard could a homemade version be?
Well, every recipe starts off explaining how it takes three generations of women to grind the spices, weeks to order the zillions of specialty dried peppers from Mexico, and to be truly delicioso, hours and hours simmering on the stove.
Finally, I had enough. Must I be the only gringa who doesn’t get to eat chocolate for dinner? I was already taking the chicken out of the dish, so I decided to take out the fuss too.
Easy Mole Sauce Fit for the Atleta sin Carne (That’s You, No Meat Athletes!)
With sweetness from raisins and thickness from nuts, mole sauce has “athlete” written all over it. Plus, whether you prepare it with some browned seitan or a can of beans, this meal also packs a nice protein punch, especially when served over its amigo rice.
Instead of taking the time to rehydrate dried peppers, I used a can of chipotles in adobo. You should be able to find this at your regular grocery store now. A whole can is pretty spicy, but I keep it in a tupperware in the fridge for up to a month, adding a teaspoon here and there to all sorts of dishes.
To seal the no-fuss deal, I whittled the spice list down to the four essentials, and cut the simmer time down to only about twenty minutes—just enough to give the sauce some depth. If you don’t feel like pureeing the sauce, make sure to chop or grind the almonds and raisins very fine and you should be good to go.
Enjoy, my no-carne amigos!
Vegan “Chicken” Mole
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons chipotle in adobo (1 teaspoon sauce, 1 teaspoons chopped, deseeded pepper)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 oz unsweetened vegan baking chocolate
Heat the oil in a pot over medium high heat. Fry the onion for about 5 minutes. Add garlic, almonds, and raisins, and fry for another 5 minutes. Add the salt, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and oregano; fry for 2 more minutes or until fragrant.
Add the chipotle in adobo, tomatoes with their juices, and vegetable broth. Heat to boil, then add chocolate and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often.
Remove from heat and puree mixture with immersion blender. Heat the pureed sauce for 5 minutes more.
To serve, add 1 package of browned seitan or can of beans and heat through. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve over rice.