Kid-friendly Rápido Mexican Black Bean Mole Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Rápido Mexican Black Bean Mole

Recipe: Rápido Mexican Black Bean Mole

Rápido Mexican Black Bean Mole

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Arturo Verea/
prep time
20 minutes
cook time
20 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Rápido Mexican Black Bean Mole

I seem to categorize my memories based on food firsts, things embedded in my brain, heart, and stomach. Memories that immediately take me back. The inspiration for this recipe comes from an unexpected memory. Thanks to my parent’s rule that I must at least try everything once, I ate a lot of weird and wonderful stuff as a kid. When I was 11, we took a train from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas via Mazatlan, Mexico. Even though I grew up in California, this was the first time I ate real Mexican food (no yellow cheese!). One night, we had tamales with mole (MOE-lay) sauce, made with chili pepper...and...wait for it...chocolate! That was something I simply couldn’t fathom. Chocolate! With dinner? Now, I’m a sucker for anything rich, sweet, and savory. Every time I reach for the cocoa when making dinner, I smile at the memory of the 11-year-old Erin. This sauce is full-flavored but not spicy. Reminiscent of the first mole I ever ate, the flavors are rich, mellow, and deep.

We have very dear friends, Diana and Fernando, who grew up in Taxco, Mexico. I learned from them that each Mexican woman seems to have her own mole recipe passed down from her mother. And so on. And so on. Since traditional mole takes so much time to prepare, it is usually made in huge batches, too large for the home blender to handle. Therefore, families would take their mole ingredients, all cooked and ready to blend, to large “molinos” or grinders in their neighborhood. The mole is passed through the grinders and comes out smoother than you could get from your home blender. It is not unusual to see families walking home from the molinos with buckets of mole for a fiesta.

For those of us not lucky enough to have a loving Mexican mother with a secret mole recipe in her apron, this recipe is for you! The Sticky Fingers Cooking kid-friendly 30 to 45-minute mole was created to get you and your children excited to explore new flavors together. Add some warm tortillas or tortilla chips and pile on all the extra toppings your family loves. It is flavorful, fast, exotic, and seriously satisfying for the entire family. 

Clear the afternoon, kids! We’re making mole—holy mole! The sauce all Mexicans love (and you just may love it, too) Gracias Fernando y Diana. ¡Comer bien mis amigos! or Eat well my friends!

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • chop :

    to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.

  • grate :

    to reduce food, like a carrot, to very small shreds or pieces of the same size by rubbing it on a tool with an outside surface that has holes with cutting edges (a grater).

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • simmer :

    to cook a food gently, usually in a liquid, until softened.

Equipment Checklist

  • Medium skillet
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Measuring spoons
  • Can opener
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Blender, food processor, or immersion blender + medium mixing bowl


Rápido Mexican Black Bean Mole

  • corn or flour tortillas or corn tortilla chips—SFC Chefs choose enough for the class **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use corn tortillas or tortilla chips)**
  • Mole:
  • 1 bell pepper (you choose the color)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 T vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 C canned black beans **(for LEGUME ALLERGY sub diced canned or frozen sweet potato)**
  • 1 C vegetable stock
  • 1 to 2 oz semisweet chocolate bar or chips **(for CHOCOLATE ALLERGY sub carob bar or chips; for DAIRY/NUT/SOY ALLERGY use Enjoy Life brand semisweet chocolate bar or chips)**
  • 1/4 C unsalted shelled sunflower seeds or pepitas (Mexican pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp mild chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp salt
  • 2 pinches granulated sugar
  • Toppings (choose 1 or more):
  • cheese (grated or crumbled): Jack, cheddar, mozzarella, cotija, or Parmesan work well **(Omit for DAIRY ALLERGY or sub dairy-free/nut-free cheese shreds)**
  • fresh cilantro
  • fresh tomatoes **(Omit for NIGHTSHADE/TOMATO ALLERGY)**
  • fresh limes
  • fresh avocado
  • canned corn
  • black olives
  • sour cream **(Omit for DAIRY ALLERGY or sub dairy-free/nut-free sour cream)**
  • For morning meals:
  • 3 to 5 eggs **(for EGG ALLERGY sub 4 to 8 oz extra firm tofu, drained and pressed in a clean towel, or frozen and thawed)**

Food Allergen Substitutions

Rápido Mexican Black Bean Mole

  • Gluten/Wheat: Use gluten-free corn tortillas or corn tortilla chips.
  • Legume: Substitute diced canned or frozen sweet potato for the black beans. 
  • Chocolate: Sub carob bar or chips.
  • Dairy: Use Enjoy Life brand semisweet chocolate bar or chips. Sub dairy-free/nut-free cheese and sour cream for optional toppings. 
  • Nut:  Use Enjoy Life brand semisweet chocolate bar or chips.
  • Soy: Substitute canola oil or other nut-free high-smoking point oil for vegetable oil, which usually contains soy. Use Enjoy Life brand semisweet chocolate bar or chips.
  • Nightshade/Tomato: Omit optional tomato topping. 


Rápido Mexican Black Bean Mole


Mole (MOE-lay), primarily Mole Poblano, is Mexico's national dish. The word mole comes from the Nahuatl word "milli," which means sauce or "concoction." It is a rich chocolate and chili pepper sauce, traditionally served over turkey.

chop + grate

Have kids chop 1 bell pepper and 1 garlic clove. Chop or grate 1 or 2 ounces semisweet chocolate (unless using chips instead of a bar). Chop or grate any of the optional toppings. Set all ingredients to the side.

sauté + stir

In a medium skillet on your stove top, warm 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and cook the chopped bell pepper and garlic. Sauté, stirring frequently, until soft and slightly browned, about 2 to 4 minutes. Then add 1 pinch of sugar and cook for 1 minute more. Remove the skillet from the heat and let the peppers and garlic sit. (You'll be adding the sauce to them and simmering them together.)

measure + blend

Time to make the mole sauce! Have your kids measure 1 cup canned black beans (drained), 1 cup vegetable stock, 1/4 cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon mild chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 pinch of sugar, and the chopped chocolate into a blender, food processor, or sturdy bowl (using an immersion blender). Blend the mixture until smooth while counting to 5 in Spanish: 1 uno (OOH-no), 2 dos (dose), 3 tres (tress), 4 cuatro (KWAH-troh), 5 cinco (SINK-oh).

add + simmer

Add the mole sauce to your skillet with the peppers, return to the stovetop, and heat to medium high. Heat the sauce and peppers until it bubbles, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or longer. The longer the sauce simmers and reduces the better. Stir well and be careful, as the sauce may splatter!

taste + adjust

Have your kids taste the mole sauce (blow on it first!) and if needed, adjust with extra salt if needed or with a bit of water to thin.

top + serve

Serve the mole over warmed tortillas or tortilla chips. Have your kids add the additional toppings of their choice. Enjoy with Caliente Cinnamon Hot Chocolate (see recipe) and say, "¡Comer bien, mis amigos!" (Eat well, my friends!).

Surprise Ingredient: Chocolate + Cocoa!

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Photo by New Africa/

Hi! I'm Chocolate!

"Hello! Let me introduce myself! I can be dark brown, light brown, or even white. I'm sometimes bitter, sometimes a little sweet, and often very sweet. I add flavor and excitement to many other foods! Have you guessed yet? I'm Chocolate! You may be familiar with me from candy bars or chocolate sundaes, but I can liven up many other foods, too, including chili, butter, and milk!"


  • The cacao (kahKOW) tree is native to equatorial South America and the rainforests of Mesoamerica. It was first used 5,300 years ago by indigenous people in South America. Mesoamericans who lived in the rainforests of Mexico and Central America domesticated the tree about 1,500 years later. They drank chocolate as a bitter beverage—far from the sweet treat most of us are familiar with today. 
  • The Mayan people of Central and South America used cocoa as currency and as medicine: it was very valuable, just like vanilla! In fact, it was so precious that they made counterfeit cocoa beans out of clay and avocado seeds!
  • The Aztec people are a nomadic tribe in Northern Mexico. When the Aztec empire began to expand, they demanded that the Mayan people pay tribute to them through gifts of cacao. 
  • The Aztec people ruled until Spaniards arrived and conquered the land and its people. The Spanish explorers took cacao beans back to Europe, where they experimented by adding cinnamon and sugar to sweeten it. For a long time, only aristocratic people enjoyed chocolate.
  • Princess Maria Theresa married Louis the 16th from France and gave him chocolate as a wedding present! Demand for chocolate soon grew very fast, and as a result, people were enslaved on plantations to grow cacao to meet the high demand.
  • In 1847, Joseph Fry invented the first chocolate bar. By 1907, Hershey was manufacturing millions of chocolate kisses each day.  
  • Cacao trees grow best in the rainforest underneath the branches of taller trees. However, they won't bear fruit until they are at least three to five years old. 
  • Most early Spanish sources refer to chocolate as "cacahuatl" (cah-cah-Hwat), which translates to "cacao water."
  • The word chocolate comes from a combination of a Mayan word for hot, "chocol," and an Aztec word for water, "atl."

How Chocolate is Made

  • All chocolate comes from the beans of the cacao tree. Cacao trees produce pods containing pulp-covered seeds. Before cacao is processed, it would be hard for most of us to recognize it as chocolate! This is because the pulp-covered seeds taste bitter and raw and look nothing like the chocolate products we see in stores.
  • The seeds go through a process called fermentation, and then they are dried and made into nibs before being turned into chocolate. 
  • A cacao pod contains about 30 to 50 almond-sized seeds—enough to make about seven milk chocolate candy bars! 
  • After roasting and grinding cocoa beans, chocolate liquor is left, which is about equal parts cocoa solids and cocoa butter. After the cocoa butter is mostly extracted, the result is dry cocoa solids. Cocoa powder is the powdered form. Natural cocoa is a light brown color and tastes bitter. 

  • Dutch chemist Coenraad van Houten created the "Dutch process" method in the early 19th century to reduce the acidity in natural cocoa powder by treating the beans with alkaline salts. As a result, Dutch process cocoa is less bitter and has a dark brown color.

How to Enjoy Cocoa & Chocolate

  • You can add unsweetened cocoa to milk with sugar, honey, or stevia for a delicious and warming beverage. You can also add it to smoothies for a delicious chocolaty taste and an extra hit of magnesium and polyphenols. 
  • Chocolate comes in many forms: bars, kisses, chips, powder, shavings, puddings, syrups, and sauces.
  • Unconventional chocolate flavor pairings: cardamom, lavender, wasabi, chili, chipotle, sea salt, lime, matcha, curry, ginger, mint, figs, fennel, sesame, parmesan, and Earl Grey tea. Seriously, what doesn't go well with chocolate?! Can you think of any other fun and delicious pairings?


  • Dark chocolate helps protect your heart, blood, and brain! To get the full health benefits of chocolate, choose at least 85% cocoa content or higher. The higher percentage makes the chocolate more bitter, but those bitter compounds, called polyphenols, are antioxidants that provide several health benefits. Many people prefer very dark chocolate!
  • Polyphenols help prevent heart disease by maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, keeping vessels flexible and allowing the blood in our body to flow easier (good circulation), and reducing inflammation. In addition, they help control blood sugar levels, lower cancer risk, and boost immunity. Polyphenols also promote good digestion.  
  • Cocoa is a great source of magnesium. We need magnesium for good health! For strong bones, healthy teeth, and as a building block for proteins within the body.
  • Cocoa can protect our teeth?! Cacao contains antibacterial elements that fight tooth decay. However, this is true with unsweetened cocoa only, as most mass-produced chocolate has a lot of sugar. We know what sugar does to our teeth—it causes decay! 
  • One study has shown that the smell of chocolate may actually relax you by increasing theta waves in the brain!

History of Mole Sauce!

Photo by Marcos Castillo/
  • Mole (MOE-lay) is a thick, spicy, red-brown sauce made with chili peppers, chocolate, and nuts. It may also include fruit, cinnamon, cumin, and black pepper. Mole is usually served over poultry and other meat but can also be poured over enchiladas. The word "mole" comes from the Nahuatl word "molli," which means "sauce" or "stew."
  • Mole Poblano is the national dish of Mexico. It is a thick, rich, chocolate-tinged sauce poured over cooked turkey made famous in the colonial city of Puebla, Mexico. It is said to be a creation of 17th-century nuns. When the nuns learned that the archbishop was coming for a visit, they panicked because they had nothing to serve him for dinner. The nuns started praying desperately for guidance and said an angel came to inspire them.
  • They began chopping, grinding, and roasting, mixing different types of chili peppers together with spices, day-old bread, nuts, a little chocolate, and other ingredients. This concoction cooked for hours and was reduced to the thick, sweet, rich mole we know today. They served the mole with their only meat, turkey, and poured the newly created sauce over it. The archbishop was very satisfied with the meal, and the nuns saved face. Little did these nuns know they were making the Mexican national dish for holidays and feasts and that millions worldwide enjoy it today.
  • Mole is not everyone's cup of tea (or hot chocolate), and we get it. While it can be classified as an acquired taste, it is a popular sauce in central and southern Mexico. The authentic flavor unique to this rich chocolate-chile sauce can be found in many Mexican dishes. 

Here are a few reasons Sticky Fingers Cooking's Rápido Mexican Black Bean Mole is worth trying (and loving):

  • The sauce has awesome ingredients, including garlic, peppers, chocolate, cayenne or black pepper, black beans, and sunflower seeds. Sweet and spicy together? Though it may seem like a strange combination, the result is delicious.
  • Mole has feel-good benefits and is packed with good-for-you qualities. It is an excellent source of vitamin B, riboflavin, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and niacin. Chocolate is rich in flavonoids, helping protect your cells and organs from free radicals, and can boost your energy. Black beans also contain protein and fiber.
  • Mole plays nice with others. You can get creative and serve it with warm tortillas or tortilla chips, and top it with shredded or crumbled cheese, sour cream, corn, limes, chopped or sliced avocado, black olives, cilantro, and tomatoes. If you want to serve our Rápido Mexican Black Bean Mole for breakfast, add scrambled eggs or tofu for additional protein.

Let's Learn About Mexico!

Photo by Alena Darmel
  • Officially, Mexico's name is "The United Mexican States." It is one of several countries and territories in North America, including Canada and the United States of America.
  • Spanish is Mexico's national language, and Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world. Mexican people didn't always speak Spanish, though. For thousands of years, Native Americans lived there and built great cities. The people had advanced language, education, and calendar systems, and they had very clever ways of raising food. Mexico is also the country with the largest number of native American speakers in North America. 
  • The capital of Mexico is Mexico City. Mexican legend says that Aztec leaders were told to build their great city of Tenochtitlan at the site where they saw an eagle sitting on a nopal cactus with a snake in its beak. That image is in the center of Mexico's flag. The Aztecs built their city on an island in the middle of a lake. The ruins of Tenochtitlan are at the center of Mexico City and still sit on top of a lake! As water is pumped out to serve the needs of the city's growing population, the city has been sinking at a rate of 6 to 8 inches per year.  
  • Indigenous Mexican people included the Aztecs in the central interior of the country, the Mayans of the Yucatan peninsula, and the Zapotec of the south. Spanish explorers landed in Mexico in the early 1500s, and they ruled Mexico for over 300 years. During this time of colonization, Mexico's Mesoamerican civilizations mixed with European culture.
  • Before the arrival of Spaniards, native Mexican food primarily consisted of corn, beans, peppers, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, and herbs. Indigenous people occasionally hunted and added wild turkey, rabbit, deer, and quail to their largely vegetarian diets. Native royalty sipped chocolate drinks. Europeans introduced cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, sugarcane, and wheat to Mexico upon their arrival. 
  • Mexican cuisine uses chili peppers to give it its distinct flavor. Jalapeños, poblanos, and serrano peppers are commonly used in Mexican dishes. Dishes that include mole, a sauce made of dark chocolate, chili peppers, cinnamon, and other spices, may be served on special occasions, such as Día de los Muertos. 

What is it like to be a kid in Mexico?

  • Mexican children may live near the ocean or the gulf, in the desert, or in the mountains. 
  • Kids often live with extended family, including grandparents. Their full names include their father's and their mother's.
  • Most kids speak Spanish, but Mexico also recognizes 68 native languages. 
  • They attend school from September through June. Large schools have two shifts—one group in the morning and one in the afternoon. Students are usually required to wear uniforms. 
  • They may play soccer, baseball, and other sports. Jumping rope and other outdoor games are very popular. They might play a game similar to bingo called Lotería. It is played with picture cards and songs. 
  • Corn tortillas are a staple for kids, along with beans and rice. Dishes that include mole, a sauce often made of dark chocolate, chili peppers, cinnamon, and other spices, may be served on special occasions. 
  • A popular family holiday is Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a celebration to remember and honor a family's ancestors. Family members decorate the graves of their relatives who have passed on. Typical foods served for this holiday include empanadas, tamales, pan de muertos (a sweet bread in which a ring with a tiny plastic skeleton is hidden), and calaveras de azucar (sugar candy skulls). 

THYME for a Laugh

What do you call a sheep covered in chocolate? 

A Candy Baa!

The Yolk's On You

"Knock, knock!" 

"Who’s there?" 


"Imogen who?" 

"I can’t imogen life without chocolate!"

Lettuce Joke Around

What kinds of beans can’t grow in a garden? 

Jelly Beans!

That's Berry Funny

What bean is the most intelligent? 

The Human Bean!

Lettuce Joke Around

What do you call people who like to drink hot chocolate all year long? 


Lettuce Joke Around

What do you call stolen cocoa? 

Hot chocolate!

THYME for a Laugh

"Knock, knock!"

"Who's there?"


"Bean who?"

"It’s Bean a while since I last had a brownie!"

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