I love mole sauce. This traditional sauce from the central and southern regions of Mexico comes in all different varieties, but most all combine chile peppers, chocolate and nuts. I had some of the best mole I have ever eaten at a Oaxacan restaurant in Los Angeles recently and I was inspired to come up with a quick and easy variation that I could whip up at home and bake with some chicken or enchiladas for dinner any night of the week.
This certainly bears only a passing resemblance to traditional mole, but it has distinctive flavors that transform ordinary weeknight chicken into something unique and delicious.
Plus, I love all the health benefits of the ingredients:
- Cocoa power: Contains lots of antioxidants and can act as a mood elevator and increase the good bacteria in the gut.
- Garlic: Reduces inflammation and heart protective
- Tomato Sauce: Lycopene, an antioxidant, is better absorbed from cooked tomatoes as in this recipe
- Almond Butter and Olive Oil: Heart healthy fats
This recipe isn’t nearly as spicy as a traditional mole because my daughters don’t like things too spicy. You can add more spice to suit your taste. Some chipotle chili powder would be fantastic in this for a smoky flavor. By sauteeing the spices in oil, it brings out and deepens the flavors.
Quick and Easy Mole Sauce
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/8 – 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder (the kind you use for baking)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 clove fresh garlic, crushed
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1-15 oz. can tomato sauce
- 2 TBSP almond butter
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- In a small bowl, combine the cumin through garlic. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan on stove over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add the spice mixture. Stir and cook over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds.
- Add tomato sauce to spice mixture in saucepan. Stir well, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and stir in almond butter and brown sugar.
This makes enough sauce for 6-8 chicken breasts.
For a super-simple and healthy dinner, place 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in an 8″x8″ square pan. Pour sauce over top and bake in a preheated 350 oven for 30 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 160.
The sauce also freezes very well, so make a double or triple recipe and freeze the extra to use later.
This also makes a fabulous sauce for enchiladas – just shred up some rotisserie chicken, roll it up in corn tortillas and put each one in a baking dish. Pour some sauce over the top and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.