Make this bright, creamy and incredibly unique mole at home, courtesy of Chef Fernanda Serrano

Chef Fer's simple, direct recipe is the perfect walk-through for the best mole you've ever made at home

By Michael La Corte

Deputy Food Editor

Published August 20, 2023 1:30PM (EDT)

Pink Mole (Photo by Alice Gao)
Pink Mole (Photo by Alice Gao)

This iconic pink mole, created by Chef Fernanda Serrano  the executive chef of elNico at Penny Williamsburg  is based off of a mole from the town of Taxco in Guerrero, Mexico. Serrano's version is a sesame and beet mole with sliced beets, fennel, pine nuts, kumquats and habanero kosho.

In speaking with Salon Food, Serrano called the dish "fresh" and "light . . . yet so full of flavors without being overwhelming." She adds she "wanted to create a pink vegan mole where instead of a protein, beets are the main ingredient of the dish," based off of the flavors of a salad she had while vacationing in Greece. 

While some may think that making mole is a serious undertaking and one that is incapable of doing properly at home — that would be incorrect. Although there are multiple components, it's a very straight-forward dish. The trickiest aspect for most will probably be sourcing some of the ingredients! The dish is moreso assembly than it is cooking, really.

Follow these steps and you'll be amazed at the result.

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Chef Fernanda Serrano's "Pink Mole"
08 servings
Prep Time
25 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes

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For mole base: 

1 cup of tahini 

2 tablespoons beet powder 

1 seeded habanero 

1 cup lemon juice

1 garlic clove

½ teaspoon toasted cumin seed 

1 ½ cups water 


For roasted beets: 

8 red beets, cleaned  

Kosher salt


For kumquat habanero kosho:

4 habanero, seeded 

4 cups kumquat, seeded 

Zest of 4 lemons

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup extra virgin olive oil 


For assembly: 


2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts 

1 teaspoon butter 

1 cup of fennel, thinly shaved/sliced

3 pieces of shiso leaves 

5 pieces of fennel tops

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil 

½ teaspoon of kosher salt



  1. For mole base: In a Vitamix, blend all ingredients. Be careful to blend all ingredients thoroughly, double check consistency and color. It should be a creamy texture, without being liquid. If needed, add more water if too thick or beet powder for color. 
  2. For roasted beets: Preheat the oven at 420 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the bottom of a deep sheet pan with a layer of kosher salt. Place clean beets on top of the salt and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Place the pan in the oven for 35 minutes.
  3. When done, check to see if the beets are cooked by placing a cake tester into the beet and it goes through easily. If needed, add 5 minutes every time. Keep in mind the beets will keep cooking once you take them out of the oven. They should still feel firm done (sign that you haven't overcooked!).
  4. Cool down and peel beets. Thinly slice with a knife or mandolin. 
  5. For kumquat habanero kosho: In a Vitamix, Blend all ingredients and habanero until very smooth. Emulsify with olive oil, adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil at a time. The mixture should blend easily and be smooth. 
  6. For final assembly: On a larger serving plate, add two tablespoons of pink mole to a plate and spread it in a circular shape.
  7. In a mixing bowl, combine the shaved fennel with the kosher salt and lemon juice. Shape into a ball and place it in the middle of the mole sauce.
  8. With the thin beet slices, create small parachute-like shapes, a layer of the Kosho and cover the fennel ball and sauce. (you want to hide the fennel and sauce underneath the beets).
  9. Once covered, sprinkle the pine nuts on top of the beats. Then place the shiso leaves and fennel tops around the beets and drizzle with olive oil and maldon salt. Serve and enjoy. 

By Michael La Corte

Michael is a food writer, recipe editor and educator based in his beloved New Jersey. After graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, he worked in restaurants, catering and supper clubs before pivoting to food journalism and recipe development. He also holds a BA in psychology and literature from Pace University.

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