The cornerstone of Mexican cuisine and famously complex, mole sauce typically takes days to prepare. This recipe cuts down on the prep and cooking time significantly, yet still yields a deeply flavorful, chocolate-kissed sauce that perfectly complements roasted butternut squash, earthy black beans, and zesty pickled onion.
Butternut Squash Mole
- 1/2 small red onion peeled and cut into very thin semicircles
- 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp lime juice divided
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt divided
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil or avocado oil
- 15 oz can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
- 2 garlic cloves roughly chopped
- 1 small yellow onion roughly chopped
- 1 chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce roughly chopped
- 1 Tbsp adobo sauce (from chipotle chili peppers)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 Medjool dates pitted and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup smooth almond butter, peanut butter, or sunflower seed butter
- 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped plus extra for garnish
- 15 oz can Black beans drained and rinsed
- Place large, rimmed baking tray in oven before preheating oven to 400 F.
- In medium-sized stainless steel or glass bowl, place thinly sliced onion along with 1/4 cup lime juice and 1/4 tsp salt. Scrunch mixture with your hands until onions have wilted slightly and set aside while preparing rest of dish.
- To prepare butternut squash, peel, cut in half lengthwise, deseed, and cut each half crosswise into 1/2-inch semicircles. Place in large bowl along with oil and 1/4 tsp salt. Toss to combine, then tumble onto preheated baking tray, spreading out into a single layer. Roast squash until tender but not mushy, about 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare mole sauce. To bowl of blender, add diced tomatoes along with their liquid, garlic, onion, chipotle chili pepper, adobo sauce, cinnamon, oregano, cumin, dates, and remaining 1 Tbsp lime juice and 1/4 tsp salt. Purée until smooth.
- Transfer smooth sauce to medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, while stirring often, and cook for 4 minutes. Add almond butter and chocolate, stirring until melted and smooth. Stir in three-quarters of black beans and let cook, stirring constantly, just until beans have warmed through, about 1 minute. Remove saucepan from heat.
- To serve, spread warm mole sauce in thick layer over bottom of serving platter. Pile roasted squash on top and scatter with remaining black beans and drained, pickled red onions. If desired, finely grate some extra unsweetened chocolate overtop for garnish. Consider serving this dish accompanied by soft corn tortillas to mop up all the delicious mole.
Per serving: 244 calories; 6 g protein; 16 g total fat (5 g sat. fat); 25 g total carbohydrates (8 g sugars, 7 g fiber); 322 mg sodium
Play within the framework of this recipe to vary the mole as you wish: nut or seed butters to make it creamy, different dried fruits for sweetness, your favorite roasted chilies for heat, and your favorite chocolate for body and richness.