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Monday 5 March 2012

Sluttishly Vegetarian: Black Beans in Smoky Mole Sauce

If you came here for a vegetarian dinner and then baulked at the word 'mole', then don't panic: this is the delicious velvety sauce, not the little velvety mammal. Pronounced "mole-lay", this deep, flavoursome, sweet/savoury sauce is a staple of Mexican cuisine. This version is entirely inauthentic but utterly moreish. Try Alex's turkey mole poblano if you're looking for something meaty.

This dish is based vaguely around a recipe I found in vegan cookbook Appetite for Reduction, but vastly simplified and skipping out anything obscure like agave nectar. And I've missed out the raisins. Raisins never ever ever have a place in a savoury dish. Stealth raisins in my takeaway curry make me sad. The crushed tortilla chips give crunch and texture, while the combination of spices and sugar make this a smoky yet ever so slightly sweet dinner.

This isn't as heavy as a chilli or stew, so think of it as a transitional dinner to get you from the hearty dishes of winter through to the lighter bites of spring. The weather hasn't decided what it's doing yet, and neither should your dinner.

Black beans in smoky mole sauce (serves 3 or 4, depending on hunger)

You will need:
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • Small handful of tortilla chips, crushed
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
Make it!
  1. Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large saucepan. Fry the garlic and onion for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft.
  2. Mix all the herbs and spices together, then chuck them in and stir briefly before adding the tomatoes and stock. Bring to a boil, add the tortilla chips, cocoa and sugar and simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Taste and season - you're unlikely to need much salt thanks to the stock and chips. Add the black beans, stir well, turn off the heat and leave for 10 minutes to let the flavours mingle.
  4. Serve on a bed of rice with a few of those tortilla chips on the side.


  1. Looks delicious. This is totally my kind of vegetarian dish.

  2. Distinct lack of mole photos in this post.

    1. I just did a Google image search for mole. I would not recommend it, unless you want to see close-ups of people's hairy face moles.

  3. Ew, hairy face moles! OK, won't be googling it ! Getting back to the dish, it looks delicious.

  4. I made this for dinner last week and it was awesome. Not even the visions of hairy face moles following this comment thread could take away from its deliciousness.


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