Brown Rice and Black Beans Molé

Our annual family reunion took us to the Hudson Valley in upstate New York this summer, and it was here, on one of the very hottest days of the year that we headed to Gaskins, in Germantown – a family-owned tavern with exceptional service, a sophistocated atmosphere, and a menu to match.

This restaurant wasn’t even close to vegan, but they accommodated my plant-based vegan needs cheerfully and creatively. They suggested a summer squash dish with a green harissa sauce, and a roasted carrot molé.

Well, the vegan molé sauce was amazing. Couldn’t believe it. I puzzled over its ingredients because it was so intricately flavored, passing tastes of it all around the table. I asked our server the secret to this sauce, and made a few quick notes, vowing to see if I could create a similar flavor profile in my own kitchen.

I took many liberties to simplify, because molés can actually start with over 50 ingredients! So this sauce is merely (and if I might say, deliciously) reminiscent of that special dish, and it’s lovely over roasted vegetables, as well as black beans and brown rice. : )


  • Servings: makes about 2 cups
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Molé Sauce

1 onion, diced
1 16-ounce can tomato sauce
1/4 cup almond butter
1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 fresh orange, peeled and halved
1 fresh lime, peeled and halved
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
3/4 teaspoon traditional or hot chili powder
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 or 3 pinches cayenne pepper

Serve over: bowls of steamed brown rice and cooked black beans 

Garnish: fresh cilantro (optional)


Heat a large nonstick skillet (like Scanpan) over high heat. Add onions and dry sauté until translucent. Sprinkle a little bit of water as needed to prevent sticking to the pan.

Add cooked onions, along with all other ingredients into a high-powered blender (like a Vitamix), gradually working up to high speed until mixture is completely smooth.

To serve, warm sauce briefly and drizzle over bowls of rice and beans. Garnish bowls with fresh cilantro, if desired.

Copyright © Vicki Brett-Gach | Ann Arbor Vegan Kitchen

3 thoughts on “Brown Rice and Black Beans Molé

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