When I was very young, long before I developed my love for vegetables, I’m sure I stared down many a plate of salad, thinking, when I grow up I’ll eat chocolate for dinner.
And tonight I did it.
Ok, so there might have been just a few vegetables involved too. You know me. Whatever the ingredients, this recipe for Vegetarian Winter Mole more than made up for last night’s parsnip incident! Holy mole! (Cheap pun. I’m keeping it.)
When I first saw this recipe, I was excited at the thought of combining such healthy and flavorful ingredients into a dish unlike any that I’ve attempted before (my prior mole experiences have been limited to restaurant dining), but I was admittedly a bit turned off at how long and involved the procedure was. So I took a risk and adapted the recipe for my slow cooker (crockpot). I’m so happy to report that the result is beyond fabulous, the bonus being that I barely lifted a finger to put my dinner on a plate tonight!
Here is my adapted recipe for Michelle’s Vegetarian Winter Mole. See her recipe if you don’t have a crockpot—you don’t want to miss out on this one!
Slow Cooker Winter Mole
1.5 cups black beans (or 1 can beans of your choice)
1/2 large unpeeled delicata squash (or other winter squash), seeded and chopped – about 3 cups
3 tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup chopped onions
5 chili peppers (red and/or green), seeded and chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 28oz can + 1 14.5oz can no-salt-added diced tomatoes*
4 tsp paprika
1 tsp sea salt
3 cups water
3 oz raw almonds, ground (or buy almond meal/flour)
4 oz 60% dark chocolate
1 bunch lacinato kale (see photo below), sliced into ribbons
*I have been making an effort to avoid canned goods lately, but the amount of tomatoes called for in this recipe (along with the liquid needed for the crockpot) would have meant gratuitous time and money involved in the prep. Try to find Muir Glen organic canned tomatoes —their cans are lead-free and enamel lined.
Coat the inside of your crockpot with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine all ingredients in the pot exceptfor almonds, chocolate and kale.
Cover and cook on low setting about 8 hours.
Remove lid. About 15 minutes before serving, add almonds, chocolate and kale. Stir to incorporate and leave lid off so some liquid evaporates.
Spoon over red quinoa or grain of your choice.
To make this super-easy, I spent maybe 15 minutes prepping the ingredients in the crock last night and put it in the fridge. When I left for work this morning, I put the crock in its pot and turned it on to cook while I was gone. There’s no meat or anything in this recipe that could really get overdone to the point of ruin, but starting it cooking from cold bought me a little extra time since I knew I couldn’t be back before 5:30pm.
When I got home, I checked on the pot to make sure no dinner disaster had occurred while I was gone. Finding it safely bubbling away, I left it as it was until I’d puttered a bit and was ready to eat. I put some quinoa on the stove to cook (which takes about 15 minutes), at which point I removed the crockpot’s lid and added the almonds, chocolate and sliced kale. I stirred every couple minutes to make sure the chocolate was melting evenly and that the kale was wilting.
And in honor of Vegan MoFo, my adaptation is indeed vegan —just be careful about which chocolate brand you use! I had Ghiradelli on hand as a gift from the roomie (girlfriend knows me too well), which is not vegan but also not a deal-breaker for me as a non-vegan. Just be aware that you might want to look for a chocolate even darker than 60% cacao, which would be less likely to contain milk products.
In my perfect world, it doesn’t get much better than chocolate for dinner! What’s on the menu in your personal heaven?