Mexican Mole Verde With Roasted Chicken

roast chicken topped with green mole

A traditional Mexican mole verde, sometimes called pipian verde, is a cooked green sauce based on ground pumpkin seeds, green chiles and tomatillos. While dark moles are very complicated, have lots of ingredients and take hours to make, mole verde is fresh, vibrant and easier to prepare.

Travel around Mexico and you will find that each region of the country has a different version of a sauce referred to as mole…some being dark, rich and complex while others are green and vibrant. Most Mexican families have been preparing their own version of mole for so long that they don’t have an exact recipe and prepare it according to the ingredients they have on hand during different times of the year. I too alter my mole verde recipe from time to time but it always starts with a basic green mole paste that I developed years back.

Mexican green mole sauce
Homemade Mexican Mole Verde (Green Sauce) Topped With Pepitas (Hulled, Green Pumpkin Seeds)

Green Mole Paste

Makes two 1/4 cup portions

  • 1/3 c. pepitas (hulled green pumpkin seeds) toasted until lightly golden
  • 1/4 c. toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. peanuts (I use dry roasted)
  • 2 Tbsp. bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. each garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, and ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 4 tsp. pumpkin seed oil
  • 4 tsp. peanut or canola oil
  • 1 serrano or jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped

Place all ingredients in a blender or processor and blend until the mixture is smooth and the consistency of peanut butter. The paste recipe makes enough to be used twice and freezes well. It can easily be doubled or tripled, and frozen.  Because of the oil in this paste, it stays pliable enough to scoop out what you need even when frozen.

Roasted Chicken Topped With Mexican Green Mole
A Platter Of Roasted Chicken Topped With Mexican Mole Verde And Served With Yellow Rice And Peas

Roasted Chicken Topped With Mexican Mole Verde Sauce

Serves four, adjust the recipe accordingly

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 or more serrano or jalapeño peppers (according to spiciness desired) seeded, cut into pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 large poblano pepper, charred, seeded, skin removed, cut into pieces
  • 3 – 4 tomatillos, husked, washed, charred and cut into quarters (canned may be used)
  • a handful (about a 1/3 c.) fresh cilantro, trimmed of thick stems
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp. green mole paste, see recipe above, store bought may be substituted
  • 1/2 c. or more chicken stock, homemade is preferable for a richer flavor
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 roasted or store bought rotisserie chicken, cut into serving pieces, any accumulated juices reserved

Heat oil in a skillet and add the chopped onion, serrano pepper and garlic then cook until softened. Place in a food processor or blender along with the chopped poblano pepper, tomatillos, cilantro and mole paste and process until smooth. Pour the mixture back into the skillet and add the chicken broth. Stir in any accumulated juices from the roasted chicken, if using, season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce starts to reduce and thicken, about 5 to 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. The mole will thicken as it stands so you might want to thin it with chicken stock or water if you are not going to use it right away.

To serve the roasted chicken with mole verde, ladle some sauce onto a plate, top with chicken and spoon a little additional sauce on top. Garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired.

Tips:

  1. Pepitas are hulled, green pumpkin seeds that can be found in Mexican markets. I get mine in the bulk section at my regular market (Fresh Market).
  2. If you do not wish to make the mole paste, you can find mole pastes in jars and plastic containers on the international aisle of your local grocery store, Mexican market and online. There are many varieties so make sure that it is a green (verde) mole paste.
  3. For the paste, if you don’t have peanuts you can use almonds and if your don’t have breadcrumbs you can use crackers instead.
  4. Tomatillos are herbal, tangy, citrusy and are essential in this recipe. They are about two inches in diameter, plump, bright green and surrounded by a papery husk that peels right off. After peeling, they have a slight stickiness that washes off easily.
  5. If fresh tomatillos aren’t available, canned ones that are drained can be substituted.
  6. You can char the peppers and tomatillos over an open flame or under a broiler.
  7. I use a homemade chicken stock that gives the mole a rich flavor however store bought broth can be substituted.
  8. You can add a few romaine, chard or spinach leaves for a deeper green mole, if you wish.
  9. Moles can be made a day or two in advance, actually the flavor will improve. If so, the sauce will have thickened and will need to be thinned with a little stock or water.

****

You might be more familiar with the dark, thick and rich moles which often contain lots of ingredients such as chocolate, fruits and spices and take days to prepare. However my mole verde, green sauce, is not complicated, has a fresh taste and will take less than an hour to make…less than 30 minutes if you already have made the paste. While I will never profess that my mole verde recipe is “authentic” Mexican, it certainly is a flavorful sauce that I enjoy preparing. The sauce goes great with roasted chicken but also makes an excellent topping for chicken enchiladas, seafood or even used in a hearty pork stew. When you want to serve your family and friends something a little different, please think about making a roasted chicken and topping it with mole verde, I believe you will enjoy the flavors of this Mexican inspired dish.

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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

91 thoughts on “Mexican Mole Verde With Roasted Chicken

  1. This looks great! I haven’t made — or even had — a mole verde in ages. It has such a nice, vibrant flavor — kinda sings on the tongue, doesn’t it? Perfect on chicken. Good recipe — thanks.

  2. This sounds delicious. I was only familiar with the complicated dark mole sauce which my husband loves, but I’m too lazy to make. 😁 This recipe is more my speed. I’ll let you know if I make it.

  3. That first picture looks like the food is sitting right in front of me. Beautiful! Your food presentations are fabulous. Do you use a lightbox to avoid shadows, and reflected light? This surely is not a cell-phone pic! P.S. the recipe sounds great also – Pinned.

    1. Thank you Suzanne for your lovely compliment. No I don’t use a light box, I simple use two small desk lamps and a point a shot Canon camera. I take about 8 to 10 photos and then the plate goes to my place at the dinner table…a little cold but still good. 😊

  4. I love moles, especially the mole negro. But as you rightfully said, that one requires a two-foot-long list of ingredients and time to spare. This mole verde definitely seems more my speed for making at home.

    1. Hi Sylvia, Growing up in Texas, I had a lot of good Mexican food. Since it is hard to find here in Florida, I often make it myself. I think you would enjoy this dish and thank you for your compliment.

  5. Fabulous recipe! I love all moles and appreciate your sharing the mole verde paste recipe. I see it makes a small quantity making is nice to keep and use to add that mole flavor to a variety of dishes.

    1. Hi MJ, Yes this does make a small amount of mole sauce. Most of my recipes serve two to four people. The quantities for the paste make enough for one meal and enough to freeze for another. Coming from you, I really appreciate your nice compliment.

  6. It must have been seven or eight years ago I had to attend a meeting in Mexico City. For dinner, on the first night, I chose chicken mole and I sent a photo back to colleagues at work. One friend was horrified that I was eating a mole.

    Mexican food isn’t as well known in Australia as it is in the USA.

    1. Gary, that is such a funny story about your colleague mistaking what you were eating during your visit to Mexico City. I’m sure there are lots of people here that aren’t familiar with Mexican moles either. 😁

  7. If I need lessons in any regional cooking it is that of Mexico ! With many young Australians now heading that way more and more Mexican food outlets have opened here and stores carry most of the ingredients, but . . . my experience is limited to a few trips to Mexico City and environs and a cruise along Pacific ports . . .I have as yet to find tomatillos available here and some of the chilli types are not grown..The latter are not a problem as the dried versions are easily available. I must say your green mole very much attracts and seems more than ‘doable’ . . . shall definitely try !!

  8. this looks like a tasty dish karen. love all those flavours. i’ve made a dark mole before and yes it took quite some time to make. this looks terrific and much quicker.

    1. Hi Sherry, If you have made the dark mole then you know how time consuming they are to prepare. The green mole is much simpler in comparison. I’m glad you like the recipe, thank you.

    1. Hi David, The sauce is so flavorful that I don’t think leaving the garlic out would be that noticeable. I bet you friend makes you a good one but it would be fun to try your own version.

  9. You’re so right. This kind of sauce with the chile peppers and nuts and seeds, is so easy, and you can really change up the flavors. But you can also use dried red chile peppers, and end up with a red sauce. A mole just means sauce, it doesn’t necessarily imply the 87 ingredient mole with chocolate. Sorry, just fyi. I’ve never used the mole paste, just your other ingredients, and it actually is an authentic recipe!

  10. I’ve made both dark and green moles in the past. My dark mole turned out great, however I was disappointed with the flavors in my green mole. Your ingredients sound like a winner and will have to try your recipe next time. Also I didn’t make my own mole paste, that might make it taste better too.

    1. Hi Jan, Years ago I was able to buy a great mole paste to use when making mole verde but it is no longer being made. I had saved the empty container with the list of ingredients and just kept experimenting until I had a paste that I was pleased with. I think the pumpkin seed oil is one of the reasons it turns out so good. I appreciate your nice comment and hope you will enjoy the recipe if you give it a try.

    1. Hi Bobbi, Knowing your love of fresh herbs in cooking, I believe that you would enjoy the mole verde. Thank you for your nice compliment and I hope you will enjoy the dish.

    1. I’m glad you like my tip about freezing the paste Debra. The oil keeps it from freezing completely and it is pliable enough to scoop out what you need whenever you want to make a mole sauce.

    1. Thank you Gloria for your thoughtful comment. I’m glad you like the recipe. We are being careful and staying as safe as possible…I hope the same is true for you as well.

    1. Thank you Linda for not only your nice compliment but for letting me know that my comments are going through. I seem to have worked through the problem…let’s just hope it continues as I used to be able to connect with all my Blogger friends and then it stopped. 😘

  11. I have to admit that I thought mole only referred to the darker variety with chocolate. I’m intrigued by this green version! It sounds quite tasty, and the pepitas + peanuts + sesame seeds must add a ton of flavor. The thought of spooning this over roasted chicken sounds delicious, too – a great way to mix up the flavors but still have an easy dinner!

    1. Hi David, Mole just means sauce in Spanish but like you, I think most people think of the dark complex one made with chocolate when they think of mole. The seeds and nuts not only add lots of flavor but they act as the thickener for the sauce. I appreciate your nice compliment about the dinner, thank you!

  12. I’ve always though of a mole as being made with chocolate, but I have to confess that I don’t know a whole lot about Mexican food – except how much I love it! I definitely know it from that angle! I’m not sure I’ve ever had a sauce with this particular set of ingredients. It sounds really delicious. I’m veyr interested to know what the seeds and penuts taste like in this aauce.

    1. Hi Jeff, the seeds and nuts give it a complex flavor. Adding the tomatillos and cilantro gives it a fresh vibrate taste. Combined, they create a delicious sauce that I think you would enjoy.

  13. We just adore Mexican food and the traditional molé is something that I make once or twice a year because it takes so much time. A green version would be a welcome addition and I love that the paste makes more than one serving, being able to create a lovely meal like this in a pinch is a real bonus. I also love the use of the seeds and nuts to thicken the sauce, so much healthier than flour.

    1. Hi Eva, I believe that you would really enjoy the mole verde since you like Mexican food and it is way easier than making the complex dark ones. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  14. Karen, Mole is one of my ALL TIME favorite dishes! I love making it and eating it! It’s rare that I make it totally homemade but so worth it! Thanks for the beautiful recipe!

  15. Hi Karen! We have never heard of Mexican mike verde ( the green sauce) before but now we are intrigued to try this, thanks for the recipe!

    1. I’m glad that you like the recipe Fritzie. Seeing how you both love Mexican food, I believe you will enjoy this meal. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  16. This sounds delicious! I loved the sauce its so lighter and fresher version of the sauce I imagined. I can’t believe how quick and easy the recipe is Karen

  17. That recipe looks incredible! I must admit rather sheepishly that I don’t love typical black mole… The versions I have tend to be very bitter, almost acrid, and spicy just for the sake of heat, not flavor. I LOVE the sound of your green mole though, since I pepitas are wonderful and the seasonings sound much more nuanced. It’s going on the “to cook” list right now!

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