Pipian Mole Verde – Green Pumpkin Seed Mole – with a Surprise Ingredient: Radish Leaves!

The word “mole” used to strike fear and trepidation into my heart. I have always had visions of spending hours and hours of time with ingredient lists of items 30-plus long. But, it turns out, some moles are surprisingly easy!

That being said, I have had a craving for a pumpkin seed mole that I once had in Santa Fe at a fabulous Southwest restaurant, the Coyote Cafe, famous for its contemporary Southwest cuisine. I have been craving this sauce ever since I ate it a few years ago.

This “pipian verde” mole has pumpkin seeds and fresh greens as a base. It also has a surprising ingredient: radish leaves, which give it a peppery flavor. (and, YES! – radish leaves are edible!) I followed the recipe from the Coyote Cafe cookbook, but added a few jalapeños with their seeds for a little heat and a small can of tomatillos for acid.  Unlike most moles, this one has a short ingredient list and doesn’t take all day to make. A 30 minute mole – surprisingly easy and incredibly flavorful. What’s not to love?

You must cook the corn tortillas in oil or they will disintegrate when baking

You must cook the corn tortillas in oil or they will disintegrate when baking

Spreading the mole on cooked tortillas

Spreading the mole on cooked tortillas

Enchilada Stacks before cooking

Enchilada Stacks before cooking


2 1/2 cups hulled pumpkin seeds
(make sure the white outer shells are removed and you use just the inner green kernels!)
1 large white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
2 – 3 cups vegetable stock
1 can (6 ounces) tomatillos and onions
2 diced jalapeños, with seeds and pulp
2 cups diced cilantro leaves
16 large Romaine lettuce leaves, center stems removed
1 handful radish leaves
2 tablespoons green Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Toast pumpkin seeds in a large dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until seeds are lightly browned and stop making a  popping noise. Remove from heat and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan and add diced onions and cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes.

Blend pumpkin seeds and 2 cups of broth in food processor until a smooth paste forms. While processor is running, add in onions and garlic mixture,tomatillos, jalapenos, cilantro, Romaine, radish leaves, Tabasco sauce, honey and salt and pepper to taste, blending until smooth.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in skillet to medium high heat. Add sauce and “fry” the sauce at a sizzle for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk in remaining broth until sauce reaches consistency of a thick tomato sauce.

Can be used immediately or stored in an airtight container for 2 -3 weeks in refrigerator.


I used the mole and created stacked chicken enchiladas. You could use it anywhere you would normally use a Mexican sauce.

Green Pumpkin Seed Mole, Our Life in Food
Pumpkin Seed Mole, Where’s the Beef
Green Chile Mole, Serious Eats
Pipian Mole, Homesick Texan
Mole Poblano, Mexico in my Kitchen

— posted by Donna

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  1. says

    I love Moles (not the rodent’s but I can’t figure out how to add the punctuation). I have to try this recipe. And the stacked chicken enchiladas look fabulous.

    • says

      Bonnie – I think this is my favorite mole! The greens make it refreshing and the pumpkin seeds give it a richness. I hope you get a chance to try it!

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