Vegan Pumpkin Chili Mole

Vegan Pumpkin Chili Mole combines hints of chocolate, spice, sweetness and pumpkin for a mellow yet incredibly flavorful chili.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 294kcal
Author Elizabeth Shah


For the Mole Paste (See Notes)

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
  • 2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 Medjool dates pitted and chopped
  • 1 dried chipotle pepper seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup pepita seeds raw or roasted usalted (plus more for garnish, if desired)
  • Optional: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (for heat)

For the Chili

  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 28 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes LIQUID RESERVED
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin puree NOT pumpkin pie filling. Or 2 cups homemade puree
  • 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed look for no-salt added. Or 1 3/4 cups cooked beans
  • 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed look for no-salt added. Or 1 3/4 cups cooked beans
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (I used tri-color quinoa)
  • Sea salt to taste


To Make the Mole Paste

  • Cut the dried chipotle chile in half, remove seeds, and chop into small dice. Place in a small dish with enough water to cover, and microwave on high for 1 minute. Set aside and let continue to soften in the hot water.
  • Add the chopped dates to a small dish with about 1 tablespoon of water, and microwave on high for 30 seconds.
  • To a food processor, add the dry mole ingredients (pepita seeds, cumin, fennel, cocoa powder, chili powder and cinnamon (and cayenne, if usuing) and process until well combined and the pepitas are ground. Add dates and chipotle pepper pieces (reserve the liquid, if desired) and process. Add liquid (either water or the reserved chipotle liquid) about a teaspoon at a time until the mixture is soft enough to blend well, but thick enought to form a very thick paste. 

To Make the Chili

  • In a large pan or Dutch oven, heat about a tablespoon of water on medium high heat, add the diced onion and a pinch of salt, and saute for 5 minutes or until the onion is tender. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add water a little at a time if things begin to stick.
  • Add the mole paste to the pan, stir well to combine, and cook 1-2 minutes. 
  • Add the diced tomatoes and their liquid to the pan, and deglaze (loosen and scrape up any brown bits). Add the pumpkin, beans, and water, and stir.
  • Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Add the quinoa, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is thoroughly cooked, about 25 more minutes.
  • The chili will thicken a bit as it rests. But if desired, you can thicken it more by sautéing a few minutes on medium heat. Add sea salt to taste and serve.
  • Garnish with pepita seeds, if desired.


Mole Flavor: This is a balanced and mellow chili, with subtle mole flavors. If you absolutely love mole and really want this flavor to stand out, I recommend increasing the paste by about 50%.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 173mg | Potassium: 752mg | Fiber: 15g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 8836IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 5mg