Smoky Mole Vegetarian Chili

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Skill Level
Preparation Time 15 minutes Total Time 60 minutes
Servings 10 Cost Per Serving $1.75
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1Onion,roughly chopped
3 clovesGarlic, minced
3Carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cupSquash (any variety)
2 cupsBlack Turtle Beans (dried and reconstituted or canned and rinsed)
2 cupsPortobello or Cremini Mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 cupRed or Green Bell Peppers, diced
1 28 oz canDiced Tomatoes
2 cupsVegetable Stock
1/2 tbspOlive Oil
To TasteSea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Smoky Mole
2Dried Pasilla Chilies (mild and smoky), deseeded and stem removed
2Dried Ancho Chilies (medium heat and smoky), deseeded and stem removed
1/2 cupDried Mushrooms (porcini or any mixed variety)
1/4 cupDried Cherries (or any dried fruit)
1/4 cupWhole Cacao Beans (or Cocoa Powder)
1/2 cupWhole Almonds
1Lime, juiced
1 tsp eachGround Cumin, Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp eachGround Anise, Ground Clove, Ground Black Pepper
1/2 cupCooked Quinoa


  1. ​In a medium saucepot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the dried chilies and dried mushrooms, turn off the heat and place a lid on top of the pot. Leave for about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove the chilies and mushrooms from the water and add to a blender with all remaining mole ingredients. Add about ½ cup of the steeping water.
  3. Blend and add more water as necessary until mole has a smooth consistency. Set aside mole and refrigerate. 
  4. Add olive oil to a large saucepot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add carrots and sauté for another 5 minutes.
  6. Add squash, peppers, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, stock and ½ cup of mole (use more for a bolder flavour). Raise heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 35 to 45 minutes.
  7. Season to taste and serve. Try garnishing with a little Mexican cheese, and crispy tortilla.


  • ​What gives hot peppers their kick? A compound called capsaicin! Capsaicin is an antioxidant, so the hotter the pepper the higher the antioxidant content. As a bonus, research suggests that hot peppers release endorphins, a type of hormone associated with feelings of pleasure.
  • Research in mice has shown that capsaicin causes cancer cell death and helps to shrink tumours in prostate and pancreatic cancers. We need to study the effects of capsaicin in people before we will know what effect it has on human cancer cells. In order to have the same doses of capsaicin as in the mouse study, a 200 pound person would have to eat 8 habanero peppers (one of the world’s hottest) per week. That much capsaicin could cause other side effects, like digestive problems.
  • Did you know cocoa naturally contains caffeine? Caffeine levels depend on cocoa content, and therefore are higher in dark chocolate compared to milk chocolate. Three ounces (about 3 squares) of dark chocolate contains around the same amount of caffeine as 1 cup (8 ounces) of coffee (65-120 mg).