These Butternut Squash Mole Nachos are loaded with all the traditional toppings, plus roasted butternut squash for a lovely fall vibe and the easiest mole sauce you’ll ever make from scratch.
I’m in a pretty good mood today. It might be because it’s Friday, but it also might have something to do with the fact that I FINALLY get to share these spectacular Butternut Squash Mole Nachos with you, because this has been months in the making.
I mean, if you really want to go way back, it’s been years in the making. Back to when I was but a wee twenty something newbie on the drinking scene, and the late-night Mexican joint that we would stumble to across the street from our favorite bar served me plain chips with mole sauce and queso fresco (for free) while I was waiting for my burrito.
Maybe it was the alcohol. Maybe it was because they were free and everyone loves free things. All I know is I fell in love with mole nachos that night.
Why you need this easy mole sauce in your life
Mole is a thick, darkbrown or reddish sauce used in traditional Mexican cuisine. It is typically served over meats, and there are so many different regional versions that it could make your head spin, but the ingredients of mole sauce can be generally grouped into five classes: chiles, sour (tomatoes or tomatillos), sweet (dried fruits, sugar, chocolate), spices, and thickeners (nuts and tortillas).
Most mole sauces require a laundry list of ingredients and several hours of simmering on the stove in order for the sauce to thicken and the flavors to develop properly. But this pared down version comes together in about 15 minutes while still tasting bold and authentic, which will get you into nacho munching territory in no time.
When I was a kid I actually thought mole sauce was gross! Sometimes my mom would make it and I’d think, a chocolate sauce served over chicken makes no sense! I didn’t get it back then, but now that I’m able to grasp the whole spicy/sweet contrast thing I think mole sauce is just the best. Especially on these nachos.
Why these butternut squash mole nachos work
I couldn’t resist adding roasted butternut squash to these mole nachos, and it’s honestly a game changer. The sweetness of the squash echoes the smoky sweetness in the sauce and gives the dish a nice fall vibe. And of course, these mole nachos are loaded up with all the traditional fixings: black beans, jalapeño, cilantro, scallion, melty Monterey Jack cheese, avocado, sour cream and a generous drizzle of that easy, flavorful mole sauce.
What to do with leftover mole sauce
This recipe makes more than enough sauce for one serving of nachos, so here are some ideas for how to use up the rest:
- it makes a wonderful enchilada sauce
- serve it over eggs, or make mole chilaquiles for brunch
- mix some into your quesadilla filling
- if you eat meat, try it served it over roasted chicken or turkey
Butternut Squash Mole Nachos
These Butternut Squash Mole Nachos are loaded with all the traditional toppings, plus the easiest mole sauce you’ll ever make from scratch.
- For the mole sauce:
- 3 dried pasilla chiles stemmed and seeded
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 ounces Mexican chocolate chopped
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup tortilla chips crumbled
- For the nachos:
- 1 bag tortilla chips
- 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese shredded
- 1/4 cup cooked black beans
- 1/2 cup diced butternut squash roasted
- 1 jalapeño pepper thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped
- 2 tablespoons scallions chopped
- 1/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
- 1/2 avocado sliced
To make the mole sauce, soak the chiles in 1 cup of hot water for 15 minutes. Drain and discard the soaking liquid.
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cinnamon, cumin and crushed red pepper and cook for another minute. Transfer to a blender with the chiles, broth, peanut butter, sugar salt and tortilla chips and blend until smooth.
Transfer to a saucepan and add chocolate. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to melt chocolate, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. If sauce seems too thick, add more broth or water a couple of tablespoons at a time to thin if necessary. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat the broiler. Place the tortilla chips on a baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Top with butternut squash and black beans. Broil until the cheese melts, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven and top with the jalapeño, cilantro and scallion. Serve immediately with avocado and Greek yogurt.
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