The cornerstone of Mexican cuisine and famously complex, mole sauce typically takes days to prepare. This recipe cuts down on the prep and cooking time significantly, yet still yields a deeply flavourful, chocolate-kissed sauce that perfectly complements roasted butternut squash, earthy black beans, and zesty pickled onion.
Play within the framework of this recipe to vary the mole as you wish: nut or seed butters to make it creamy, different dried fruits for sweetness, your favourite roasted chilies for heat, and your favourite chocolate for body and richness.
Place large, rimmed baking tray in oven before preheating oven to 400 F (200 C).
In medium-sized stainless steel or glass bowl, place thinly sliced onion along with 1/4 cup (60 mL) lime juice and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt. Scrunch mixture with your hands until onions have wilted slightly and set aside while preparing rest of dish.
To prepare butternut squash, peel, cut in half lengthwise, deseed, and cut each half crosswise into 1/2 in (1.25 cm) semicircles. Place in large bowl along with oil and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt. Toss to combine, then tumble onto preheated baking tray, spreading out into a single layer. Roast squash until tender but not mushy, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare mole sauce. To bowl of blender, add diced tomatoes along with their liquid, three quarters of the black beans, garlic, onion, chipotle chili pepper, adobo sauce, cinnamon, oregano, cumin, dates, and remaining 1 Tbsp (15 mL) lime juice and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt. Purée until smooth.
Transfer smooth sauce to medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, while stirring often, and cook for 4 minutes. Add almond butter and chocolate, stirring until melted and smooth. Remove saucepan from heat.
To serve, spread warm mole sauce in thick layer over bottom of serving platter. Pile roasted squash on top and scatter with remaining black beans and drained, pickled red onions. If desired, finely grate some extra unsweetened chocolate overtop and garnish with cilantro. Consider serving this dish accompanied by soft corn tortillas to mop up all the delicious mole.
Pears and chocolate make for a very natural friendship and play together beautifully in this plant-based, dairy-free cake. This cake is dense and rich, with a medley of spices, and enhanced by just a hint of espresso powder, which allows that chocolate flavour to shine through. In addition to slices of pears being laid on top, this cake employs some pear purée to add moisture and sweetness to the slightly nutty texture provided by the whole wheat flour. Pear primer A firm pear such as Bosc, recognizable by its distinctive dusty brown skin, is perfect for this dish. When eaten raw, Bosc pears are crisp and not too sweet. When baked, this variety softens up and its flavours are enhanced, but it maintains its characteristic long-necked, graceful shape. Unlike a Bartlett pear, which turns from green to bright yellow when ripe, Bosc pears don’t change much in colour when ripe. Give it a little nudge with your thumb near the neck of the pear and it will give slightly—that’s how you know you’ve got a ripe one. Compared to other pears, Bosc will still be quite firm.
Many flavours that complement pears—sage, ginger, maple syrup—also go well with butternut squash, so it makes sense to bring the two together. For this autumn salad, mixed greens are tossed with marinated squash ribbons that serve to dress the salad with spicy, gingery brightness. A juicy yet firm medium-sweet pear, such as red Anjou, works well here, and its vibrant red skin makes a pretty plate alongside butternut squash. The finishing touch is a sprinkling of crispy sage and maple syrup-toasted hazelnuts. Refrigerator tip Treat butternut squash ribbons as you would a dressing, keeping them in the refrigerator until ready to use. They will last a few days in the refrigerator, and you can have them on hand to dress small amounts of lettuce. If, rather than making one large salad, you want to serve individual amounts of this salad, just dress a few leaves with some ribbons; cut up pear and fry sage leaves as you serve.
Luscious figs loaded onto hearty flatbread make a satisfying breakfast or brunch. They’re sweet and delicious when paired with savoury cinnamon-flavoured crunchy pumpkin seeds and tart goat cheese. And, with a dough enriched with whole wheat flour, hempseeds, and nigella, these flatbreads are sure to be satisfying. They’re also chock full of fibre and protein, and with 6 mg of iron, you’ll be on your way to 31 percent of the recommended daily value. A freezer favourite By making dough in advance and freezing, you can make these individual flatbreads part of your routine for days when you don’t have much time. Simply portion dough individually right after mixing, allow it to rise in the fridge for 8 to 10 hours, and then freeze in individual containers. To thaw an individual ball of dough, 24 hours before you wish to use it, remove the container from the freezer and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. At least an hour before baking, allow dough to come up to room temperature outside of the fridge.