•Cooking oil: Whatever kind you prefer to sauté the veggies.
•Onion, garlic, jalapeño: Said veggies. If you prefer your sauce not to be spicy, you can omit the jalapeño.
•Chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, oregano: Instead of working with dried chiles, cinnamon sticks, whole cumin seeds and fresh oregano, these pantry staples will be our shortcuts to season the sauce. (Please note that the chili powder is American chili powder, which is a milder blend and completely different than cayenne pepper.)
•Flour: To thicken the sauce. If making this gluten-free, you can either use a GF all-purpose flour blend. Or thicken the sauce instead with cornstarch. (See instructions below.)
•Vegetable stock: Or chicken stock, whichever you have on hand.
•Almond butter: Instead of blanching and toasting and pureeing the nuts, this is our easy shortcut! I have tested this recipe with both peanut butter and almond butter, and either are delicious. Or if you have a nut allergy, feel free to substitute sunflower seed butter or tahini.
•Tomato paste: To add some rich tomato flavor.
•Unsweetened cocoa powder: I prefer this to adding chopped chocolate bars, so as to control the amount of sweetness. But if you prefer a sweeter mole sauce, you can add in a drizzle of maple syrup or honey.
•Sea salt: Absolutely essential.
How To Make Mole Sauce:
This mole sauce will have you moving and multi-tasking. But if you have your ingredients ready to go, and move quickly, it can easily be made in less than 20 minutes. Simply:
1.Sauté your veggies. Chop your onion, the sauté it for 5 minutes until soft. Meanwhile, chop your garlic and jalapeño. Then add them to the pan and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile, measure out your dry seasonings and flour then…
2.Add dry seasonings and flour to the veggies. And stir until evenly mixed. Continue to cook for 1-2 more minutes, which will help to toast and bring out the flavor of the seasonings.
3.Remove pan from heat and add veggie stock. Then stir to combine. At this point, the mixture should be warm but not hot.
4.Puree. Either puree the mixture until smooth using an immersion blender (my preference). Or alternately, you can transfer the mixture in half batches to a blender and puree until smooth. The caution as always is to be incredibly careful when blending warm/hot liquids. They expand when blending, so you want to be sure that your blender is not too full. I like to cover/vent the top of my blender with a kitchen towel instead of the snug plastic lid, just to be careful. Return the pureed mixture to the saucepan.
5.Add remaining ingredients. And whisk until evenly combined.
6.Simmer until thickened. Continue to cook the sauce until it comes to a simmer and thickens.
7.Taste and season. Adding any extra salt (or more of any other ingredients you prefer) as needed.
8.Serve warm. Or transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
Customize Your Mole Sauce:
Everyone has their preferences about what makes the perfect mole sauce. So feel free to experiment and find what you love best! For example, if you…
•Want a sweeter mole? Feel free to add in a drizzle of maple syrup or honey to sweeten.
•Want a spicier mole? Add in an extra jalapeño pepper (and/or include the seeds, where most of the heat resides).
•Want a milder mole? Nix the jalapeño pepper altogether.
•Want a smokier mole? Sub in chipotle powder for half of the chili powder. Or, add in a chipotle pepper in adobe sauce.
•Want a more chocolate-y mole? Double the cocoa powder.
•Want to make it gluten-free? Either use a GF all-purpose flour blend that performs well with a roux (like this one). Or nix the flour altogether and whisk 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch into the lukewarm veggie stock before adding it to the recipe.
•Want to add in some extra seasonings? If you want your mole to taste even more complex and authentic, feel free to add in a bay leaf, a pinch of ground cloves, a pinch of ground coriander, and/or a pinch of ground anise.
Ways To Serve Mole Sauce:
This sauce can be used in so many ways. Some classics could include:
•Tacos, enchiladas, burritos, nachos, etc. The sauce can be drizzled over or baked into a number of classic Mexican dishes.
•Stuffed peppers: Mole poblano is one of my favorite dishes, made with stuffed roasted poblano peppers.
•Baked proteins: Use mole as a simple finishing sauce for baked chicken, steak, pork, tofu, etc.
•Veggies: Drizzle your roasted or sautéed veggies with mole for extra flavor.
•Rice and beans: Stir a few spoonfuls of mole into rice or beans for delicious seasoning.
•Soups and stews: Stir mole into soups for a rich and delicious broth.
•Dips, salsas, queso and guacamole: Stir a spoonful of mole into v