Black Bean Mole

Black Bean Mole are black beans cooked with a deconstructed red mole |

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The first time I tasted Oaxacan Black Mole (Mole Negro) was about 30 years ago when I had the privilege of eating Mole Negro Chicken made by a Oaxacan immigrant. Each bite produced a flavor sensation that I still relish to this day.  Years later I found a recipe for Oaxacan Black Mole in Diana Kennedy’s Book, The Art of Mexican Cooking and decided to give it a try. The result was heavenly but it took many hours of work and 2 days.  So when I decided that I wanted to make this Black Bean Mole dish I chose to make a deconstructed mole instead of making the sauce separately.  It saved quite a bit of time and simplified the process tremendously.

For this Black Bean Mole dish, I used dried black beans which I brined for 4 hours, then cooked for 3 hours.  I added the majority of the ingredients listed in Diana Kennedy’s recipe at the beginning of the cooking time, allowing the various flavor to blend together while the beans cooked.  Several adjustments in the amounts were made because I was making a pot of beans not a sauce.  Also, instead of using whole dried chiles as one would for a mole sauce, I used an assortment of chile powders and flakes. The result?  A uniquely flavored, spicy pot of black beans with the rich, robust flavors and depth of a mole sauce.

For a shorter cooking time, you could pressure cook the beans or use canned beans.  See the Kitchen Notes for optional cooking methods, as well as ingredient substitutes and suggested meals with these beans.

Black Bean Mole

Black Bean Mole are black beans cooked with a deconstructed red mole #blackbeans #mole @mjskitchen

Black beans cooked with a deconstructed black mole |
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Black Bean Mole Recipe
30 mins
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
2 hrs
A tasty vegetarian meal with the flavors of a red mole.

After a 4 hour brine, the bean mole is cooked on the stovetop. You can shorten the cook time by using canned beans or a pressure cooker to cook the beans. See Kitchen Notes.

"*" See Kitchen Notes for more information or links to special ingredients.

Course: Main Course, Vegetarian
Cuisine: Southwestern
Yields: 4 servings
Recipe Author: MJ of MJ's Kitchen
Brine the Beans
  • 2 cups dried black beans*
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • Water
Cook the Beans
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • ½ large onion diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp. crushed dried marjoram
  • 2 tsp. Mexican oregano crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. NM red chile powder medium*
  • ½ - 1 tsp. smoked Serrano chile powder*
  • ½ - 1 tsp chipotle powder or flakes*
  • 5-6 cups stock/water*
  • ½ pound fresh tomatoes chopped*
  • ¼ cup chopped roasted red or green chile*
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 small stick cinnamon 1 gram
  • 2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. unsweetened Cocoa powder
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 Tbsp. minced almonds toasted
  • Salt to taste
Toppings (choose 2 to 3)*
  • Broken pieces of tortilla chips
  • Toasted pepitas
  • Toasted pine nuts pinon
  • Diced raw onion
  • Crumbled feta or grated cheddar
  • Sour Cream or Creme FraÎche or Greek yogurt
  • Dashes of Pepper Sauce
To brine the beans
  1. Dissolve 1 Tbsp. salt in 4 cups water. Add the beans and enough water to cover the beans and be at least 1” above them. Brine for 4 hours. Drain, rinse and set aside.

Cook the Bean Mole
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat. When hot add the onion and garlic. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add the three chile powders and sauté, stirring constantly for about 1 minute.
  3. Add 5 cups of stock/water and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients except for the almonds and salt.
  5. Bring back to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer, stirring frequently for 1.5 hours. Remove the cinnamon stick and add more water if needed, ½ cup at a time.
  6. Add the toasted almonds. Taste for salt and add more salt if needed.
  7. Continue to simmer until the beans are done, probably another hour or so.

  8. See Kitchen Notes for serving ideas.

Kitchen Notes

Black Beans – Dried beans are my standard when cooking with beans.  I find the flavor and the texture so much more enjoyable than canned beans; however, if you don’t have the 4 hours to brine and cook the beans there are 2 alternatives.


  • Using my 1970’s pressure cooker:  After brining, place all of the ingredients (minus the almonds) in a pressure cooker and cook until almost done (about 10 minutes of pressurized cooking time). Open the pressure cooker safely and add the almonds and cook for another 10 – 20 minutes or until beans are tender. Here is my procedure for cooking black beans in a pressure cooker.
  • Using canned beans:  2 cups of dried beans yield 6 to 7 cups of cooked beans; therefore, if you want to use cooked beans, then you’ll need 4 to 5 cans to get an equivalent amount of beans.  Follow the recipe above, but add the beans when you add the almonds near the end.  Reduce the liquid to about 3 cups and drain the beans, reserving the liquid.  Add the bean liquid to the soup pot when you add the other liquid.  Before adding the beans and almonds, let the “soup” simmer for 30 minutes.  By using canned beans, you could make this dish in less than an hour.
  • Slowcooker/Crockpot?  I have no idea.  I don’t have a crockpot. 🙂


Water/Stock – Use whichever you prefer.  I’ve used both water and chicken stock with great results. For vegetarian, use vegetable broth and/or water.


Tomatoes – This recipe uses 1/2 pound fresh tomatoes which can be substituted with one 15.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes.


Green or Red Chile – Use whatever chile you have available in your area. The chiles don’t have to be roasted. One to two fresh peppers work fine.  Just be aware of their heat levels and adjust your chile powders accordingly.  (Roasting fresh green chile)


Chile Powders – Again, there are several options and combinations of chile powders that you can use to create a depth of flavor and spice (heat).  Generally, you need a medium chile powder for the bulk (1 Tbsp.), then a hot chile and a smoky chile for the rest.  The chiles you use and the amounts will have a large affect on the flavor as well as the spiciness of the final dish.  So know how spicy you want this dish and adjust accordingly.


Toppings – Here’s where you can have fun and mix things up.  Tortilla chips and pepitas are listed as ingredients in Kennedy’s recipe, so as toppings they help to finish off the mole flavors.  However, Feta cheese or Greek yogurt makes a nice topping, but yields a different, but complementary result.  I think that the toppings you choose are more determined by how you plan to serve this.  See the Suggested Serving Ideas below.


Suggested Serving Ideas

  • Beans and Rice – Serve with brown or white rice and top with toasted pepitas or pinon and broken tortilla chips.  Sprinkle with a little more chile powder or a dash or two of pepper sauce.
  • Just Beans – Top with pinon nuts, cheese, raw onion, and yogurt or sour cream.  Serve with a warm flour tortilla.
  • Black Bean Mole Burrito – Wrap some beans, raw onion, and cheese in a flour tortilla and smother with red chile.



Black Bean Mole are black beans cooked with a deconstructed red mole |


No matter how you decide to serve this Black Bean Mole dish, I hope you do enjoy it!

If you enjoy this Black Bean Mole dish, you’ll also enjoy these bean dishes:

Pinto Beans

Savory Navy Beans

Beans and Rice with Sausage


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55 Responses to “Black Bean Mole”

  1. Bam's Kitchen April 29, 2015 at 6:50 am #

    I want to make your recipe. Hoping I can make a couple of exchanges as living here in HK some things are difficult to find. Do you think I could use sub out some canned chile chipolte for the roasted red or green chilis? I really do not want to use fresh roasted bird chilis and that is all I can find at the market. I also wish I had a slow cooker but nada here in HK but sure this is going to make my house smell awesome all day. How fun is that having good foodie friends. I was having a craving for some traditional Mexican flavors so of course I came to visit you, MJ.

    • mj April 29, 2015 at 9:47 am #

      I’m surprised you can find canned chipotle in HK, but that’s very cool that you can! Yes, you can substitute canned chipotle. What I would do is eliminate the chipotle powder/flakes and just use 2 or more of the chipotle chile. More is you and the boys like it hot, because chipotle is much hotter than New Mexico green chile. I’m so glad when you think Mexican (or New Mexican) you come here. That’s thrilling! YAY! But just in case anyone asks – most of the dishes I make are NEW Mexican from New Mexico in the USA. It’s somewhat different from what one finds south of us in Mexico. However, both cuisines use a lot of chile so we share a lot of the same flavors. Good luck and please let me know how it turns out! Thanks!

  2. Terra November 30, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    oh heck ya! I adore mole. Love the idea of mole in black beans, just gorgeous! Hope you are doing well. Hugs, Terra

    • mj December 1, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

      Thanks Terra! Black beans and mole turned out to be a great combination!

  3. Sanjeeta kk November 24, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

    Sigh…I don’t get black beans here…but I think the Kidney beans that I get here should make do.

    • mj November 25, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

      Oh I can’t imagine not having access to black beans. Do you get pintos? I live on those two beans! I’m sure kidney beans would work just as well. Thanks Sanjeeta!

  4. Karen (Back Road Journal) November 23, 2014 at 11:57 am #

    What a great post, MJ…so detailed. I would never have thought of brining beans and must give it a try.

    • mj November 23, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

      Thanks Karen! For me, brining beans is the only way to go. I’ve tried every method out there, and brining is the best! 🙂

  5. Bam's Kitchen November 22, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

    You even make even brown food look amazing!!! I have yet to try to make home made mole at home but this recipe looks like a good place to start. Our family is trying more vegan meals so this is a perfect Meatless monday meal. Just shared!

  6. Soni November 22, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    Oh my God!This looks absolutely delicious!!I’ve never had a mole before but the ingredients are making my mouth water especially the smoked chili and chipotle since I’m a big fan of chipotle chlies!!Wish I could taste this right now MJ…don’t do this to me 🙂

  7. Nusrat Azim November 19, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

    Never tried a dish entirely based on black beans! Thanks a bunch for this outstanding, detail, useful recipe. And thanks for inspiring me to try black beans.

    Nice, soothing pictures 🙂

    • mj November 22, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

      Thank you Nusrat! We eat bowls of black beans for supper quite often. It’s a great protein and helps me out with meatless main ideas. 🙂

  8. Raymund November 17, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    I had tried mole I guess once in a Mexican restaurant in Las Vegas, cant remember the taste now so I guess I will make some of this at home.

    • mj November 18, 2014 at 10:17 am #

      Hope you do get a chance to make a mole. It’s quite good!

  9. Katerina November 17, 2014 at 3:09 am #

    I have tasted mole here in Athens in a Mexican restaurant but I suspect it has nothing to do with the true one. I would love to try some of your mole MJ.

    • mj November 18, 2014 at 10:16 am #

      Thanks Katerina! Well, because this is deconstructed it does have a different texture and overall taste of true Mole Negro, but the depth of flavor is still there. 🙂

  10. Debra November 16, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    Seriously genius idea here, MJ! I bet the black beans were great moled. (I just made up that use of the word!)

    • mj November 18, 2014 at 10:15 am #

      Moled? I like it! You should submit for a “new word of the year”. 🙂

  11. easyfoodsmith November 16, 2014 at 12:36 am #

    That sounds insanely delicious. I want to have it right away!

    • mj November 16, 2014 at 10:53 am #

      Thanks so much Taruna!

  12. Angie@Angie's Recipes November 15, 2014 at 8:00 am #

    It looks definitely worth all of the efforts and time. It looks amazing, MJ.

    • mj November 16, 2014 at 10:52 am #

      Thanks Angie! It is worth the effort. 🙂

  13. Sissi November 15, 2014 at 2:11 am #

    Thank you for sharing with us this simplified version. Something tells me it tastes at least as good as the original. I have never had mole (it shouldn’t surprise you: I say similar things below most of your dishes 😉 ) and I’m very tempted to try it! (PS Sorry for such a long absence; I was on very busy holidays).

    • mj November 16, 2014 at 10:49 am #

      Thanks so much Sissi! Hey – I say the same thing about your dishes! But like you, I love learning new things for the kitchen and for my stomach. 🙂 Hope you had a wonderful holiday!!!

      • Sissi November 16, 2014 at 11:10 am #

        Thank you, I have had lots of fun 🙂 (By the way, I have forgotten to say I love your plate!).

        • mj November 18, 2014 at 10:14 am #

          Thanks. 🙂

  14. Judit + Corina @ Glamorous Bite November 14, 2014 at 11:58 pm #

    We just love the comforting taste of spiced beans and your Black Bean Molé sounds perfect as a side dish for dinner this week! J+C

    • mj November 16, 2014 at 10:48 am #

      Thanks J+C! I hope you do get a chance to try them.

  15. anna@icyviolets November 14, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

    oo i am very intrigued by this! i love mole but i’ve never had it black bean style. can’t wait to try!

    • mj November 16, 2014 at 10:48 am #

      Thanks Anna! Glad to find another mole lover. 🙂

  16. Thalia @ butter and brioche November 14, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    This black bean mole looks really delicious, comforting and hearty. Just what i am craving right now!

    • mj November 16, 2014 at 10:47 am #

      Thanks Thalia!

  17. Nami | Just One Cookbook November 13, 2014 at 10:41 pm #

    Hmm I had never had black bean mole but enjoy learning new flavor and ingredients! I’d love to scoop up these beans with chips. Seems very flavorful and delicious. 🙂

    • mj November 16, 2014 at 10:47 am #

      Thanks Nami! I really like eating them with chips or a flour tortilla. It’s all good. 🙂

  18. Nads November 13, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

    I’ve never been a mole fan but I’m game to try yours. This looks really good. Maybe sometime you could make it for us. Not at all subtle am I? 😉

    • mj November 16, 2014 at 10:44 am #

      I will be more than happy to make it for you!!! XOXOX

  19. Carol at Wild Goose Tea November 13, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    OMG! I love mole’ . I had no idea you could ‘do that’ with black beans. You have made my day!!!! What a fantastic recipe.

    • mj November 16, 2014 at 10:43 am #

      Thanks so much Carol! Black beans and black mole just sounded like a nice combo. 🙂

  20. Hotly Spiced November 12, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

    It sure is black! I have never tried a black bean mole. This looks like it is good for you and has lots of flavour. I’d love it with corn chips xx

    • mj November 16, 2014 at 10:43 am #

      Yes, it is black. Hard to make something black look good if it’s not chocolate. 🙂 It actually is quite good with corn chips. A great use for the little pieces at the bottom of the bag.

  21. Ramona November 12, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

    I have some dry black beans sitting in my pantry just calling out for me to mole them up!! This looks really fantastic and hearty. 🙂

    • mj November 12, 2014 at 7:42 pm #

      Thanks Ramona!

  22. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles November 12, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    Wow, two days is a long time to create a recipe, good thing it had a heavenly result ;-). Thank you for simplifying this version for us. I have played with mole before (but mainly for me that just means adding cocoa) this sounds like a much more thoughtfully rendered recipe. The ingredients are just gorgeous from the spices to the nuts and raisin. I can well imagine the aromatic result. Do you find it’s the kind of recipe you can eat with frequency (or enjoy as leftovers, etc) or is the flavor such that a little goes a long way (you know how very distinctive robust flavors are delicious the first time but then can become overwhelming — just curious about that). Lovely dish MJ.

    • mj November 12, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

      Thanks Kelly! Oh mole’ is so much more than just cocoa as you can see. It’s fun making it for scratch is you like standing over a hot skillet all day toasting each and every ingredient, one ingredient at a time. Your house smells wonderful, but by the end of the day, your feet hurt. 🙂 As far as this being a recipe that I would eat frequently…probably 2 to 3 times a year. I cook a pot of black beans about once a month, so I like to mix things up. This dish makes great leftovers too. This last batch we initially had with rice and then made burritos with the leftovers. Actually, I made a burrito and Bobby just ate a bowl of beans with some cheese and raw onion.

  23. Shashi @ runninsrilankan November 12, 2014 at 9:54 am #

    I adore a good mole – MJ – this one looks phenomenal! I prefer dried black beans too – but sometimes when I am in a hurry I tend to use the canned ones – I would never have thought of using them in a mole before though! Thanks so much for this!

    • mj November 12, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

      Thanks so much Shashi!

  24. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef November 11, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

    I’ve eaten this once but I would never have tried this before reading your post. Lovely!

    • mj November 11, 2014 at 8:41 pm #

      Thanks Maureen!

  25. Deena Kakaya November 11, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    Such a deep dish to devour and full of comfort…I love it with smokey chillies x

    • mj November 11, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

      Thanks Deena!

  26. Amy (Savory Moments) November 11, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    This recipe looks awesome. I love mole, but never had it with black beans before – a great idea!

    • mj November 11, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

      Thanks Amy! I had never had it with black beans either until I started making this. 🙂

  27. Evelyne@cheapethniceatz November 11, 2014 at 10:31 am #

    h the black beans in mole looking amazing. I have never dared to try making mole from scratch but I did recently have a red mole in an authentic Mexican restaurant, just so amazing. This version with beans must be incredible too.

  28. John@Kitchen Riffs November 11, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    Dianne Kennedy is a genius, isn’t she? I always get inspired reading her recipes. And I’m inspired by your take on this! I’ve never brined beans — I definitely have to give it a try. And this is such an easy method to make this dish — really good. Thanks.

    • mj November 11, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

      She definitely a genius. Have you seen Maricel E. Presilla’s Gran Cocina Latina cookbook? Another great cookbook you should check out if you like Diana’s.

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