Spinach and Pinto Bean ‘Mole-chilada’

by Sala @ Veggie Belly on November 2, 2008

A couple of months ago I went to a Mexican restaurant with my Colombian friend J. When he noticed on the menu that they serve mole, he leaned over and told me that Colombia invented mole, not Mexico. (Fact check: Mole is Mexican! read this). J then proceeded to harangue the wait staff about how Mole is actually Colombian and not Mexican. 15 minutes later, I was still hiding my face in the menu, the waiters were still staring at J, and J was unleashing his Mexican mole conspiracy on the entire restaurant.

I however, had greater problems that day. I couldn’t eat the mole. That’s because it is usually made with lard, meat and meat stock. Ever since then I’ve been wanting to make a vegetarian mole. 101 Cookbooks has a great, easy recipe for veggie mole here. Rick Bayless has a much more complex 30 ingredient recipe here (you can easily adapt this to be vegetarian). I wanted something in the middle – a spicy, complex sauce that doesn’t take 3 days to make. So I came up with this version. I’ve interpreted mole rather loosely in this recipe and used it as an enchilada sauce. The dish turned out great – I made 12 enchiladas and they were all gone (there was only 2 of us eating)! I like to put cheese inside and on top of the enchilada. And I love what the dark chocolate does to the sauce – it adds an incredible depth, aroma and silkiness.

Note: This recipe yields more sauce than you need. I like to make larger amounts of sauce and freeze it for another day.


For Tortillas

Fresh Spinach – a 10 oz bag
Pinto Beans – 1 can
Corn Tortillas – 12
Mozzarella cheese – 2 cups shredded
Goya Adobo seasoning or salt

For sauce

Tomato – 2
Onion – 1 small
Garlic – 3 cloves
Hot Red Chile – 3 tbsp (I used frozen hot red chile from New Mexico)
Chipotle chiles in Adobo sauce – 3 chiles
Ancho or Pasilla Chile – 1, optional
Cumin powder – 1/4 tsp
Goya Adobo Seasoning or salt – about 1/2 tbsp
Vegetable stock – 1 can
Bitter sweet chocolate chips – 2 tbsp, I used Ghirardelli
Bread – 1 slice
Peanuts roasted – 1 tbsp
Olive oil – 1 tbsp

Pre heat oven to 375. Chop the onion and tomatoes.

Boil a cup of water in a kettle. Cut the stem off the ancho chile, devein it and remove all seeds. Place the ancho chile on a flat non stick pan on medium heat, toast the chile about 20 seconds each side or just until it turns brown. Place the ancho in a bowl, pour the boiling water over and let it soak.

Heat a sauce pan with oil. Add the onion and saute till translucent. Then add the garlic, cook 30 seconds. Add chopped tomatoes, cumin powder and adobo seasoning or salt. Saute till the tomatoes break down.

Scoop the tomatoes mixture into a blender. To this add the peanuts, soaked ancho chile, bread slice and vegetable stock. Puree into a smooth sauce. Return the sauce to the pan and let it come to a boil. Then lower heat and simmer on low for 15 minutes. In the end, finish off the sauce by adding the chocolate chips and stirring well till the chocolate melts and incorporates into the sauce.

To make the enchiladas: Heat a large, hot non stick pan. Add the fresh spinach leaves with some adobo seasoning or salt. Toss the spinach till it just about wilts – about 1 minute. Drain the pinto beans well. Microwave the tortillas for about 20 seconds to make them soft. Spoon some sauce onto to bottom of a baking dish. Lay out a softened tortilla on your work surface. Spoon in some of the spinach, cheese and beans on a tortilla and roll it up tightly. Place it seam side down on the baking dish. Repeat for all tortillas.

Pour more sauce over the tortilla rolls. Top with more shredded cheese. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or till the cheese has melted.

Garnish with cilantro, lettuce shreds and red onions. Serve with guacamole and sour cream.

You will have left over sauce from this recipe; this will freeze well.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 tara February 3, 2010 at 12:49 am

yum! just found your website & am loving it!!

btw, spanish actually has a word for mole-chiladas: enmoladas. just like enCHILadas are a rolled stuffed tortilla covered in a chile sauce, enMOLadas are covered in mole, and enFRIJOLadas are covered in a black bean sauce (yum! my personal favorite).

spinach and mushrooms also works great for this type of dish as does spinach and butternut squash!! yum yum yum. keep up the great blogging!



2 Amber November 30, 2013 at 7:32 am

Hi – This looks great. I have some blue corn tortillas I want to use, so I’m making this today. I can’t use the bread slice, as my guest is gluten-free. I assume the bread is there to thicken the sauce? What do you suggest as a replacement?


Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

You can just leave out the bread



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