Borlotti Bean Mole with Roast Winter Squash Recipe

A rich, hearty vegetarian mole recipe from Denis Cotter's new book. Seasonal beans, squash, and kale are baked in a rich, hearty chocolate and paprika-spiked mole.

Borlotti Bean Mole with Roast Winter Squash

I want to do a quick highlight of a fantastic cookbook I picked up while visiting Wayne's family in Philadelphia last August. Truth be told, I picked up a few books, but Denis Cotter's Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and Me was one of them. It is a beautifully crafted volume featuring chef Cotters' passion for the farm-fresh, vegetarian ingredients available to him in his native Ireland. Denis is the much celebrated chef at Café Paradiso and this Borlotti Bean Mole with Roasted Winter Squash is indicative of the type of recipe you'll find throughout the rest of this volume - seasonal and flavorful. In this case, beans, squash, and kale are baked in a rich, hearty chocolate and paprika-spiked mole.

Pumpkin Mole Recipe

In many regards - size, scale, design, and vibe, it reminds me of a vegetarian version of Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries, another beautiful book. Cotter and Slater's writing styles are notably different, but if you like the design of Kitchen Diaries, and are looking for a new swatch of veg-centric recipes, this book is well worth exploring.

Pumpkin Mole Recipe

I've earmarked - Beetroot and Pomegranate Tabbouleh with Orange-marinated Feta, Rosehip Syrup, Watercress Hummus, Green Seakale with Orange, Tomato and Fresh Sheep's Cheese, Roast Sunchoke Risottto with Lemon-thyme Oil. There are lots of others too.

Pumpkin Mole Recipe

Cristian Barnett's photographs are beautifully represented on thick, uncoated paper stock throughout the book.

Pumpkin Mole Recipe

Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and Me includes a mix of simple preparations, alongside more intensive, chefy, component-driven main-dish type recipes. Not a huge number of one-pot preparations, but there are many recipes included where I could see using individual components, or cutting corners on some of the preparation methods. There are a lot of really great ideas here, and Denis uses ingredients in combinations that might never have occurred to me.

I have the sense that because this book was originally published in the UK by Collins, an imprint of HarperCollins it might not have much distribution here in the U.S. Aside from the day I purchased it, I haven't seen it in stores - but it seems there are a few copies stocked at Amazon, and it has the "look inside" feature enabled, in case you'd like to take a closer peek. I should also mention that the book uses measurements in ounces and grams - no "cups" to be found.

Related Links:

- Wild Garlic on A Wee Bit of Cooking
- Cafe Paradiso Weblog
- Denis on BBC Food

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Borlotti Bean Mole with Roast Winter Squash

I made a few tweaks to the original recipe, primarily to communicate amounts in a way that is a bit more approachable to American cooks. If you don't have fresh beans on hand, cook up a pot of dried ones. If you can't find borlotti beans feel free to substitute pinto beans or another bean of that nature. Chiles can vary in heat, so if you are sensitive, start with less, you can always add more later on in the cooking process if you like. Dennis recommends serving this mole with tortillas, polenta, mashed potatoes, or potato cakes.

~1 1/2 cups (7 ounces) fresh borlotti beans
~1 1/2 cups (7 ounces) winter squash
olive oil
4 - 5 big leaves of kale (3 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 - 4 red jalapeno chiles, halved, seeded, and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound of fresh plum tomatoes, chopped or 14-ounce can
2 teaspoons paprika
1 ounce of almonds, dark roasted and finely ground
2 ounces dark 70% dark chocolate, broken into pieces

Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas mark 4. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil, add the borlotti beans and cook for about 10-15 minute until they are just cooked or even slightly undercooked. Drain and cool under cold running water, and set aside.

Cut the squash flesh into good-sized chunks, about 2 cm or 3/4-inch squares, place them in a roasting pan and toss with olive oil. Roast them in the oven for about 20 minutes until caramelized on the outside but still firm. Reduce the oven temperature to 130C/ 250F / Gas mark 1/2. (hs note: alternately, you can brown the squash in a skillet.)

Without removing the central stem, cut the kale across the leaf into 2cm / 3/4-inch slices. Melt the butter into an oven-proof casserole dish (pot) and fry the onion and chilies gently over a low to medium heat for 20-30 minutes, until caramelized. Add the garlic and fry for three minutes more. Add the tomatoes and paprika, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add the ground almonds, chocolate, squash, borlotti beans, kale, and a teaspoon of salt. Stir until the chocolate has melted. Cover the casserole and put it in the oven to cook gently for 2 hours.

Serves 4.

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Heidi, I made the recipe and it came out really good. I used 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil instead of butter and seeing that my squash was really sweet I substituted the chocolate with 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa. Being a cookbook lover too I think I'm going to buy this book as well for the wonderful pictures. Thanks for posting this recipe, keep up the great work!


That book looks amazing!


I only recently discovered this site and have made a few dishes from it. So far, every one of them has been good, but this was stupendous! There is no such thing as borlotti beans where I live. I used canned red beans, some kale that I had put up this spring (frozen), and I roasted a kabocha squash. That squash is so good roasted, it's almost decadent. I simmered the pot on the stove for an hour and then we ate. Even my pickiest teenage daughter liked it! Thanks so much!


A delicious recipe! I substituted carrots and sweet potato for the squash, and added some extra tomatoes, leftover corn and crumbled tofu. I let it in the oven for only about 40 minutes (I was hungry!) and the consistency was lovely. Thanks, Heidi, for the incredible inspiration!


I'm glad some of you like this as much as I did - we've had the leftovers all sorts of different ways after the initial meal. If you want some color for serving, hold back a bit of squash and/or kale and use it as a garnish or sorts. I think part of the reason you are commenting on the colors in my version is because that one bottom shot was taken just as I was stirring in the ingredients :/ -h


Had a butternut squash lying around and was looking for some inspiration for it when I stumbled across this recipe. I ended up making this recipe for dinner and thought it was amazing. The only change I made was substituting pinto beans for the borlotti. I served mashed sweet potatoes along side the mole and thought it was a fabulous combination. As with another commenter, I ended up with a generally "brown" dish overall instead of the beautiful, discrete colors shown in Heidi's photos, but the taste was so good that I didn't care. Wonderful fall meal that I will definitely make again.


I can't wait to try this recipe, it looks delicious. I think I will have to get this cook book too. I get so frustrated with the amount of non-imaginative vegetarian cook books on the market that have variants of the same old recipes over and over. This book sounds like a breath of fresh air.


I love the idea of this combination, but I'm thinking of an easier remix: Leftover mole (from this GIANT recipe) stirred into and simmered with some beautifully cooked pinto beans. Shredded kale added in the last 15-20 minutes of a long simmer. Served up in a big bowl, sprinkled with cotija cheese and fresh chopped cilantro. Crusty, crispy cornered cubes of roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash and fresh buttered corn tortillas on the side.


I made this dish last night and it was great! I live in SF so I got the Tamari-roasted almonds in the bulk section at Rainbow and used Pimenton paprika instead of plain. I don't know if it made a difference after stewing for 2 hours, but it turned out really well. Easy to follow recipe and a good hearty dish for Fall. Thanks! Now I want to get that cookbook.


Any idea how much an ounce of whole almonds becomes when it's ground? 1 TBSP? I have some leftover almond powder from previous HS recipes!


Made this yesterday, and loved it. Looking forward to eating leftovers for lunch for the next few days.


Heidi, this mole is slowly melding together in my oven RIGHT NOW and it smells amazing.... I made some substitutions based on what I had on hand: canned pinto beans for the borlottis, swiss chard instead of kale, and roasted butternut in lieu of the winter squash. We'll see how it turns out! I just whipped up some polenta and it's chilling in my fridge for toasty polenta fries as an accompaniment. I can't wait to dig in later this evening!


Right on time--I've been craving mole!


Well I made it and it was delicious. It smelled so good cooking for two hours in my oven, although the colors of the kale and squash were not as pretty as in your picture when it was done... everything sort of turned brown. I was really happy with the way it turned out though. I'm having it for lunch with some fresh corn tortillas.


Wow I love your site. I have found so many delicious and healthy recipes here! I just wanted to say thank you! I have recently launched a site called You can find all sorts of great information on everything from recipes to healthy lifestyle and so much more. Our users save their favorite health sites and share them with everyone. I think you guys would like it.


It's a wonderful book, isn't it? I love the lengthy essays on how the vegetables are grown and his thoughts on them (though I disagree about the rainbow chard - tougher, yes, but it's still my favourite). Many thanks for the link to my site. An honour! :)


What a gorgeous book, with such lovely-sounding recipes. Cookbooks are like the garden -- there's always room for one more... I'm awash with winter squash and kale right now, so this will be a fun recipe to try when the temps plummet later this week. Plus, you use borlotti beans -- how can I resist an heirloom legume dish?

Becky and the Beanstock

What a gorgeous book, with such lovely-sounding recipes. Cookbooks are like the garden -- there's always room for one more... I'm awash with winter squash and kale right now, so this will be a fun recipe to try when the temps plummet later this week.

Becky and the Beanstock

I love that book, along with all Denis Cotter's writing! I've eaten in Café Paradiso many times, never been disappointed and have had great fun trying out his recipes. You're right - there are not many one-pot dishes but it is possible to take one of his recipes and just make one of the elements, turning it into something more useful for a home kitchen. He frequently mentions one of his growers, Ultan Walsh, who with his partner Lucy Stewart run a fantastic vegetarian guesthouse called Gort-Na-Nain (you can read about our stay here) .They also offer evening meals and the chestnut sausages for breakfast will be remembered!


hey heidi, maybe you could start a low-lactose or lactose-free label? i just gave it up and between the kale and the almonds, this recipe seems especially friendly for non-dairy people who are looking for other sources of calcium for their diets. being new to this way of cooking, i'm hoping there's not too much lactose in dark chocolate because i really want to make this! do you know?


It certainly looks good. I am guessing that it tastes as good as it looks. The pictures in the book are amazing!!

Potato Chef

It certainly looks good. I am guessing that it tastes as good as it looks. The pictures in the book are amazing!!

Potato Chef

This dish is in the oven right now. I have tried quite a few of the dishes on your website Heidi and have yet to be disappointed. I always considered myself an adventuresome cook, and you have expanded my palette to a new level. I made the healthy cookies last week and they were a big hit! I am bringing the mole to my sister's house and she will love it I know. I used pinto beans from the can rather than the borlotti due to time constraints. I met a guy who was at work surfing the web and he was on your website! I pointed out the recipes that I had tried and he was excited to start cooking. Thanks again and I look forward to your next email.


Oh. My. Goodness. I have a Cafe Paradiso and just love it! This week I checked out John Scharffenberg & Robert Steinberg's The Essence of Chocolate, which also has recipes with chocolate in entrees. I'm now convinced I must try this...soon.


What a great way to step into the cooler season. Squash and kale are two of my favorite winter time eats, as they always stir up warm, cozy feelings. I'll make this for my dear friend, Amada. She's a big Mole fan!

Ellie from Kitchen Caravan

Heidi, this is a great blog. Thank you for all the work you do.


Yum... I LOVE mole, and after making a traditional Mexican mole a few years ago (which took all day long, dirtied every pot, pan and stirring utensil in the entire house, and required frying all of the various components separately), I definitely appreciate a mole recipe that manages to replicate some of those flavors without all the labor. Keeping that in mind, toasted pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds which are often used in traditional moles might be nice sprinkled on top for garnish. And maybe a little queso fresco? I went out and bought some kale and winter squash this morning to make this recipe, along with some fresh broccoli and apples for your broccoli salad. Can't wait to try them! Thanks Heidi.


this is a great crock pot recipe. Thanks it looks delicious.


Having the ingredients in exact measurements is the best thing! I treasure Cotter's Cafe Paradiso Seasons more than other cookbooks because it has exact measurements, and everything comes out perfectly balanced. Looking forward to making this...


I love beans, squash, and kale. Sounds perfect!


I'm very fortunate to be married to an anything-you-want kind of man, so if I end up trying this, he'll only balk slightly. :) I like mole very much but ever since I saw it made in the old world, central Mexico (documentary), I've have never had the desire to make it myself. However. This is an interesting combination that piques my curiosity, so we shall see. I just re-stocked my pantry with cranberry and pinto beans. This has such an earthy, autumn or winter vibe to it that I just may give it a go. Thanks!

Erin @ Sprouted

this looks fantastic and so does the book. And thanks for "translating" it a bit by adding the cups and possible substitutions!

Tabitha (From Single to Married

Yum! It looks like a hearty and warming meal for a cool fall day. And chocolate never hurts, does it! I think this may find it's way to my menu plan for next week! Thanks for sharing.

Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

Okay, THAT looks and sounds amazing!


This looks so good! The suggestion of serving alongside potato cakes (which I'm picturing as potato pancakes?) made me immeadiately think that this would make a great vegetarian main dish for Channukah to go alongside Latkes instead of brisket! I can't wait to try it out! Thanks for another great recipe!


Gorgeous book, gorgeous recipe. I need more mole in my life, that's for sure! Thanks for the recipe!


This looks beautiful! But I'm writing because I made your Salt-Kissed Buttermilk Cake! The comments are closed, so here goes. Despite a million missteps, YUM! My "changes": spilled the bowl of fresh-picked raspberries onto the sidewalk--good thing you said to squish them. Realized I have only teensy weensy tart pans, no 11-inch, so we have mini-cakes. AND realized after I had put on the raspberries that I forgot the baking powder! I pulled off the raspberries, put the batter back out of the 9 tart pans, and mixed in the baking powder. Oh, and spelt flour. I pulsed whole spelt flour into the food processor to try to make it more like pastry flour. It expanded from 2 cups to 2-1/2, so that's what I used. My only comment--you could use a whole tsp of kosher salt, and need a little less sugar on top when using individual pans. Cooked in about 18 minutes. Ah, Heidi, how nice to have recipes that leave room for error.


oooh, lovely, I'm glad you've found this book - I didn't think it had made it to the US. One of my favourite's of the last year, second only the Ottolenghi cookbook. I love the clever twists on old favourites like the watercress hummus and the black kale and aubergine spring rolls (p.s Heidi, your Cafe Paradiso Weblog link points to Wendy's site, the same URL as the link above)


Oh my gosh...I have EVERYTHING for this recipe. That just doesn't happen around here...with a new recipre for me. Okay, I'm too excited now! I've been looking for a reason to get better at cooking mole recipes too. Dried beans are a staple in my house over the traditional flour/sugar; second to loose tea(s). I've literally just added borlotti (cranberry) beans to my pantry! (my kiddies groaned) Now if I can just get everyone to eat kale...willingly. ;) C.


Salivating already...always been curious about the chocolate thing in non-dessert items but never got around to trying...this having 3 other favorite foods of mine in it, is the mole recipe that will get me to do it, TONIGHT! "Thank you Heidi! " I say that outloud every time your journal shows up, but don't always post :)


I love all things mole and this looks delicious. I've always made the crazy labor intensive version, this will be a nice change.


MMMM, I can already smell this cooking in my kitchen! And with how blustery the weather has been lately (and some new squash I just scored at the Farmer's Market), this sounds like a perfect fall meal. Can't wait to make this over the weekend!

Kimberly @ Poor Girl Eats Well

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