Mole-Spiced Black Bean and Quinoa Bowl


Smart cooking is about knowing when to rely on shortcuts to mix up flavor and format. In the case of this simple vegetarian dinner, you’ll use a jarred mole sauce, which cuts the work down significantly. (Mole is a traditional Mexican sauce that can call for dozens of ingredients—not so great for quick weeknight meals.) You’ll use it here to create a rich dressing that pairs with roasted cauliflower, black beans, quinoa, and arugula. It’s healthy, delicious, and best of all, quick and easy—just the stuff great recipes are made of.Headnote by Lindsay Maitland Hunt

Photo: Jen Causey
Hands On Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
4 serves


  • 4 cups cauliflower florets (from a 2-lb. head)

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 ½ cups quinoa

  • 1 15.5-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

  • 6 tablespoons jarred red mole sauce

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 4 cups baby arugula (about 2 oz.)

  • ½ cup cotija cheese or queso fresco, crumbled (about 2 oz.)

  • ¼ cup roasted pumpkin seed kernels (pepitas)

  • Lime wedges, for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss cauliflower, cumin, 2 tablespoons oil, and 1 teaspoon salt on a baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Roast until cauliflower is tender and caramelized, 15 to 17 minutes, stirring halfway through.

  2. Meanwhile, combine 2 cups water, quinoa, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan with a lid over high; bring to a boil. Stir and reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook until quinoa has absorbed most of the water, 12 to 14 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl; stir in beans.

  3. Make dressing: Whisk mole, vinegar, honey, and remaining ¼ cup oil in a small bowl. Transfer half to quinoa mixture; add arugula and toss gently.

  4. Serve cauliflower over quinoa, topped with cheese and pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with remaining dressing and serve with lime wedges, if using.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

773 Calories
44g Fat
72g Carbs
22g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Calories 773
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 44g 56%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 1418mg 62%
Total Carbohydrate 72g 26%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 22g

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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