1 large winter squash (pumpkin, kabocha, or acorn also work)
Toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish
Cilantro, for garnish
For the Mole:
½ onion, diced
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T cumin
1 T ancho chili powder
1 T cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
1 t oregano
1 t cinnamon
1 t smoked paprika
¼ t cayenne powder
¼ t ground coriander
1 star anise pod (or a pinch of ground star anise), optional
4-5 cloves (or a pinch of ground clove), optional
1 t brown sugar
1 T almond butter (or any nut/seed butter)
1 T raisins
1-2 chipotles + 2 t of adobo sauce
2 C vegetable broth
Traditional mole sauce can incorporate up to 30 ingredients and take up to 7 hours in prep and cook time to create the delicious spicy rich sauce. We decided to make a simpler version using ingredients typically found in the average household pantry (especially after the holiday season). Mole sauce pairs well with chicken, but we’ve switched it out for some hearty winter squash, and we promise, you won’t miss the meat. Missing a spice from our list? Don’t sweat it -- this recipe was made to get creative. You may end up concocting your new family dinner favorite.
Preheat the oven to 375℉. Halve the acorn squash and scoop out the seeds and inner stringy pulp, then halve the squash again so your squash is quartered. Transfer to baking sheet and lightly drizzle with avocado oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes.
While acorn squash roasts, begin preparing the sauce. In a medium sauté pan, heat a small amount of oil over medium heat. Add in the onions and the cloves and star anise if you are using the whole spice (these will need to be removed before the other dry spices and liquid so they don’t get lost and blended). Cook the onions stirring occasionally until they are beginning to caramelize, about 15-20 minutes.
Remove the star anise and clove if using whole, and pour a tablespoon of oil into onion pan. Add these dry spices: cumin, cayenne, coriander, oregano, cinnamon, ancho chili powder, paprika, the star anise and cloves if using dry ground, and the minced garlic. Cook the spice and onion mixture, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes, or until the spices become nice and fragrant.
Once the spices are fragrant, add in the nut butter, cocoa, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, raisins, brown sugar, and vegetable broth. Gently whisk in ingredients until combined. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 10-15 minutes. Salt to taste.
While your sauce finishes simmering, check your squash by testing with a fork. When cooked, the flesh should be easily poked and starting to turn golden brown around the edges. If still firm, bake for another 10 minutes.
When your sauce is done simmering, turn off the heat, allow to cool briefly, and carefully transfer the pans content into a high speed blender. Blend until the sauce is smooth and creamy.
Once your squash has cooled slightly, transfer to serving dish and dress with your mole sauce, toasted pumpkin seeds, and chopped cilantro.