How sweet it is: Savory mole sauce

Contributed by Food for health editors

How sweet it is: Savory mole sauce

Chocolate — Theobroma cacao — isn’t generally considered a health food. However, research has shown that cacao contains antioxidants. Thus, there could be some health benefits from consuming high-quality and less-processed forms of chocolate without loads of added fat and sugar.

A recent post on this blog explains some of the ways that you can be choosy with chocolates and enjoy it in moderation as a guilt-free treat. You can also try one of these recipes:

 - Dark chocolate bark with pistachios and dried cranberries

 - Instant chocolate pudding

 - Vegan pumpkin chocolate chip quick bread

Or, try this savory mole sauce, adapted from a nontraditional vegan mole recipe. Mole is often served with chicken, but it can also be served with tofu, beans or another protein of your choice. The spicy, earthy flavor is also good with butternut squash or avocado.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter or peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle in adobo sauce (be sure to include sauce and a pepper)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 can diced, no-salt-added tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, optional
  • Cilantro, for garnish


  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed pot. 
  2. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. 
  3. Add the garlic, coriander, cinnamon, cumin, oregano and 1/4 cup of the broth. Sauté for 2 minutes more, until the mixture forms a fragrant paste. 
  4. Transfer onion and garlic mixture to a blender and add the almond butter, chipotle in adobo, cocoa powder and the rest of the broth. Blend until smooth. 
  5. Transfer the blended mixture back to the pot and add the tomatoes. 
  6. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to low heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and add salt, if needed. 
  7. Serve over your choice of prepared protein, grain or vegetable.

Nutrition information (per serving)

(does not include added salt)

  • Calories: 100
  • Total fat: 6 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 100 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 8 g
  • Dietary fiber: 3 g
  • Sugars: 3 g
  • Protein: 4 g