Mole Verde Recipe

This bright, cilantro-forward mole has a complex, nutty flavor.

Poached chicken smothered in mole verde sauce, garnished with cilantro and toasted pepitas.

Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

Why It Works

  • Cilantro, epazote, and romaine lettuce add fresh, herbal notes—a signature characteristic of mole verde.
  • Toasting the pumpkin seeds intensifies their flavor.
  • Frying the paste before thinning it out with stock adds further complexity.

I was never much a fan of mole Poblano, but spending two days making that incredibly complex earthy sauce changed my perspective. Still, it's not my preferred mole—I'm much more into the brighter, fresher flavor of mole verde (plus there's the added bonus that it takes only an hour or so, and not days, to put together).

I started my mole verde off by roasting and grinding pepitas—green pumpkin seeds. These were then puréed with tomatillos, chicken stock, onion, jalapeños, cilantro, epazote, romaine, and garlic to form the bright green sauce.

While I tend to default to Rick Bayless as my guide to Mexican sauces, I took a shot at developing a recipe for mole verde myself—but I did borrow his procedure of cooking down the sauce into a thick paste. This is always a messy prospect, as the bubbling sauce splatters across the kitchen the second you stop stirring, but the added intensity of flavor this step creates is well worth it. Once the sauce reduced into a semi-thick paste, more chicken stock was added to bring it to its final silky state.

This mole verde breathed new life into rather flavorless poached chicken. The cilantro defined the fresh flavor, while the pepitas added a little nuttiness, the tomatillos a bit of tartness, and the jalapeños a slight heat. It retained the complexity you might think of when you hear the word "mole," but in an almost completely opposite flavor profile—one that I find more attractive.

April 2013

Recipe Facts

Active: 60 mins
Total: 60 mins
Serves: 8 to 10 servings
Makes: 5 cups

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)

  • 1/2 pound tomatillos, husked and halved

  • 3 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock

  • 1 cup roughly chopped white onion (about 1 small)

  • 2 medium jalapeño peppers, stemmed and roughly chopped (seeds removed for a milder sauce)

  • 1 cup packed coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

  • 1/2 cup packed coarsely chopped fresh epazote (see notes)

  • 1/2 cup packed coarsely chopped romaine lettuce leaves

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 medium cloves)

  • 1 tablespoon lard or olive oil

  • Kosher salt, to taste

Directions

  1. In a medium cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, toast pepitas until they start to pop and turn a light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder or blender and process until finely ground.

    Close overhead view of pepitas toasting in a cast iron skillet.

    Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

  2. Place ground pepitas, tomatillos, 1 cup chicken stock, onion, jalapeños, cilantro, epazote, lettuce, and garlic in the jar of a blender. Purée until smooth.

    Green mole ingredients are puréed in a blender.

    Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

  3. Heat lard or oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add puréed paste and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened almost to the consistency of tomato paste, about 10 minutes.

    Green mole is cooked and thickened in a saucepan.

    Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

  4. Stir in remaining 2 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days, reheating before use.

    Stock is added to the green mole paste and simmered.

    Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

Special Equipment

Blender

Notes

Epazote is a Mexican herb that can be found in most Mexican markets. If unavailable, substitute with an extra 1/4 cup cilantro and 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
101 Calories
7g Fat
5g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 101
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 10%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 485mg 21%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 6mg 31%
Calcium 24mg 2%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 265mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)