Gringa’s Mole Verde y Pepitas

A quick and easy version of mole with greens, onion, raw carrot and toasted pepitas

Dana came up with this recipe (I came up with the name!) when I was craving Mole sauce but the traditional recipes we had were all too far off my diet.  I made this for lunch yesterday, the most time-consuming part was stripping the kale leaves from the ribs, which can be done in advance.  The toasted pepitas and grated raw carrot add crunchy sweetness to this dish.  If you don’t remember how easy toasted pepitas are, here’s a reminder!

Ingredients and procedure for 2 servings:

Collards or kale, one big bunch, ribs removed, leaves chopped

A big bunch of lacinato kale chopped and ready for the skillet.

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat saute about 1/3 cup chopped onion

and 2 cloves crushed garlic

in 2-4 Tablespoons of olive oil with salt.  After a couple of minutes….

Add 1/2 teaspoon each: chile or chipolte powder, sweet smoky paprika, (smoked) black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon each cumin and coriander.  Mix to combine.

Ground smoked black peppercorns, chipolte pepper, coriander, cumin and smoky sweet paprika

Then add a heaping tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder, a tablespoon tomato paste, juice from half a lemon and a little water, about  3-4 Tablespoons.

Mix well again to make the chocolatly sauce, if it’s too thick, add a little more water or oil and then…

Combining the spices, onion and garlic with cocoa powder and a tablespoon of tomato paste to make the sauce.

Add the chopped greens, salt and a bit of stevia to taste.  Cook, continuing to stir so that the greens get completely covered in mole sauce.  Cook until the greens are wilted.  Taste and adjust any seasonings.

Top individual servings with toasted pepitas and grated raw carrot.

If you want to add cooked chicken, tempeh or pulled pork you can easily make this side dish into a filling meal.  This recipe is easily doubled and wicked delicious.

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Toasted and Popped Pepitas

Need to improve your skin, thyroid function, sexual health or just find a healthy new snack? Pepitas, pumpkin seeds, are loaded with zinc, protein, healthy fats, fiber and crunchy deliciousness!  I like mine toasted with a bit of tamari and a dusting of chipotle, yum.

Here’s what you do: cover the bottom of a heavy skillet, cast iron would be best, with a layer of raw pepitas.

Raw pepitas, ready for toasting!

Turn the heat to medium and when you hear the pepitas starting to pop, start shaking the skillet so the pepitas toast evenly without burning.  Keep them moving, shaken or stirred, it’s up to you, until the pepitas are nice and toasty brown and puffy!

Toasted pepitas look like raw pepitas but with a tan.

They are ready to eat as is but I like to toss them in a bowl while they are still hot with a teaspoon of tamari and a sprinkle of pepper like cayenne or, my favorite smoky hot pepper, chipotle.

Toasted pepitas tossed with tamari and chipotle

The last step is to throw them back into the still warm skillet (the heat should be off) and toss them around a bit to dry them out so they stay crispy crunchy.  Toasted pepitas make a great topping to many cooked leafy green dishes, salads, or a soft fish dish that could use a little crunchy kick.  Coming soon: a recipe for Gringa’s Mole Verde that just so happens to be topped with toasted pepitas!