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Holy Mole Chili

Mole chili

This is definitely the best vegetarian chili I’ve ever had…at home or a restaurant. Thank you, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, for the great recipe. I’m usually a little disappointed in vegetarian chili. I eat it and feel virtuous for having a Meatless Monday, or whatever, but it’s nothing I get excited about. But this is amazing!! I swear you won’t miss the meat. The cocoa gives it incredible richness, but the chocolate flavor is very subtle. The heat level is perfect for us, but you might want to cut down on the dried chiles if you’re sensitive.

I’ve been traveling a lot for work, so we’ve fallen into a little pattern. Erik and I cook a couple of times over the weekend and then he finishes any leftovers while I’m gone. It didn’t seem fair that I had to eat room service junk while he got to eat this, though, so I made him promise to save me a bowl.

If you can’t eat gluten or if you prefer meat in your chili, see the notes at the end of the recipe.

Holy Mole Chile
Makes a big pot, but it reheats well


Amount Ingredient Preparation Where we bought it
(* Union Sq. Greenmarket)
1/4 cup Sunflower oil Stolor Organics *
1/2 pounds Onion About 1 large, chopped Paffenroth Gardens *
3 small Dried chiles Snipped into small pieces with a pair of scissors Northshire Farms *
5 ounces Frozen chopped bell peppers Substitute 1 large fresh bell pepper Migliorelli Farm *
3 cloves Garlic Smashed using the heel of your hand on the flat part of a knife or a large spoon Keith’s Farm *
1 pound Seitan Ripped into bite-sized pieces Homemade using Cayuga Pure Organics flour *
2 TBsp Chile powder
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground cumin
28 oz can Whole tomatoes Canned this summer from Cherry Hill Orchards *
3 TBsp Cocoa powder
3 TBsp Blackstrap molasses Blackstrap is much less sweet than regular molasses.
1 3/4 cups Dried beans Soaked for 6-10 hours We used a combination of pinto and Jacob’s cattle beans from Cayuga Pure Organics *
2 1/2 cups Vegetable broth Homemade using veggies from various farmers *


  1. Add the oil to a large pot, preferably a Dutch oven, and warm over medium-high heat.
  2. Once you feel heat in the pot, add the onions and both types of peppers. Sauté until the onion is translucent, 2 to 3 minutes.

    Cut the chili directly into the potSauté the vegetables

  3. Add the garlic and seitan and cook for 6 to 8 minutes. The seitan will stick to the bottom of the pan, so stir occasionally.

    Crushed garlicStir in the seitan or meat

  4. While the seitan is cooking, prep the rest of the ingredients in two groups.

    Group 1 = chile powder, cinnamon, and cumin

  5. Group 2 = tomatoes (open the can, but don’t drain), cocoa powder, and molasses. Note: The molasses will be much easier to measure if you use the oily measuring cup and just fill it 3/4 of the way. (4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup)

    A jar of home-canned tomatoes from last summerBlackstrap molasses

  6. Once the seitan has cooked, add the spices in Group 1 and stir for a minute or so until you start to smell them.

    Onion, spices, and cocoaAdd the spices

  7. Add the Group 2 ingredients (tomatoes, cocoa powder, and molasses). Stir, breaking up the tomatoes with the spoon.

    Add the tomatoesStir in the tomatoes

  8. Add the beans and vegetable broth.

    The beans are added

  9. Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook for about an hour or until the beans are tender.

    Cooking in the Dutch oven

  10. Once the chili is done, try to wait 15-20 minutes before eating it, so that it can cool down and thicken up

    Mole chili

Possible substitutions:

  • I think you could subsitute a pound of any sort of protein for the seitan, as long as you’re mindful of the fat content. If you use ground beef, for example, it might be a good idea to decrease the oil to a few teaspoons.
  • You could also use pre-cooked or canned beans and cut the cooking time to 30 minutes or so.


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