A simple Mexican green mole, Pipián Verde gets it’s name from using toasted pumpkin seeds to add flavor. Use this pumpkin seed sauce to drizzle onto meats, as a sauce on tacos or burritos, or as a delicious green enchilada sauce.
What is Pipián Verde?
If you’ve been to Mexico, you know the difference between Tex Mex and authentic Mexican cuisine. This delicious pumpkin seed sauce is the real deal. Moles are from the Oaxaca and Pueblo regions of Mexico.
Moles are complex sauces, that combine chiles, herbs, nuts and seeds, and vegetables (like tomatoes or tomatillos). These sauces can range from black in color, to red, and my personal favorite, green. A black mole is flavored with chocolate, fruit, chiles, nuts or seeds, and lots of spices.
Green moles are made with tomatillos, chili peppers, garlic and onions, and spices. They also usually contain seeds, like sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds.
My version of Pipián Verde has a much-shortened ingredient list, so don’t shy away if you’ve been afraid to make moles in the past!
What is the difference between Green Mole and Pipian Verde?
Pipián Verde is a particular style of making green mole sauce, using toasted pumpkin seeds.
Mole Verde (green mole) is a more broader term for green mole sauces, which can be made with a variety of herbs, chiles, and spices.
What You’ll Need
- Pumpkin Seeds (toasted pepitas)
- Fresh Tomatillos (these look like green tomatoes in a husk and are common in grocery stores)
- Serrano Peppers (some versions use poblano peppers or other spicy green peppers, which are okay to use here too! Use mild green chiles, like Anaheim peppers or green bell peppers for a mild sauce.)
- Onions (a white or yellow onion)
- Fresh Garlic Cloves
- Chicken Broth (or chicken stock)
- Mexican Oregano
- Sea Salt
- Lime Juice
- Black Pepper
*some traditional green mole sauces use Hoja Santa, an herb that is used commonly in Southern Mexico. I do not use it because it’s not readily available in the United States.
How do you Make Pipian Verde (Green Mole)?
Traditionally, moles are made by pounding and crushing the chilis and spices down into a paste, and then thinning with broth or water.
Luckily we can streamline this process with a food process or blender!
Step 1: Add pumpkin seeds to a skillet, and toast over medium high heat for about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Step 2: In a large skillet, add olive oil, then add tomatillos, quartered onions, peppers, and garlic cloves. If your peppers are spicy and you’d like a more mild sauce, remove some of the seeds and veins of the chilis before adding it to the pan. Cook the vegetables over medium heat for about 10 minutes, then flip everything over and continue cooking another 20 minutes. Cover the skillet if the tomatillos are large to help them soften faster.
Step 3: Add the vegetables to a blender or food processor, along with toasted pumpkin seeds, poultry broth, cilantro, and spices. Blend until smooth.
Step 4: Use Pipian Verde on top of chicken or pork, or as a sauce for burritos, tacos, and enchiladas.
How to Serve Pipián Verde?
Simmer Sauce: Roast chicken or pork, and use this green mole sauce to add tons of flavor! Season meat with salt and pepper, and brown it first. Then add the sauce into your baking dish and allow the flavors to cook into the meat. Don’t forget to serve warmed corn tortillas on the side to soak up the extra sauce!
Enchilada Sauce: I discovered Pipian Verde because of my favorite halibut enchiladas at a local Mexican spot. They call it pumpkin seed enchilada sauce. I had to research it to learn how to make it at home! You could sub it for the enchilada sauce in this Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole.
Crockpot Shredded Chicken or Pork: Use it in place of the sauce in this Crockpot Salsa Verde Chicken.
Taco or Burrito Topper: If you love “wet” burritos, then use this sauce to drench yours at home!
FAQ & How to Store Leftovers
How to Store Leftover Pipian Verde
After the sauce has fully cooled, store it in glass jars or airtight containers, and refrigerate the sauce for up to a week. It will separate after sitting for a couple days, but just shake the jars to reincorporate it.
The sauce also freezes well! Add it to an airtight container and freeze up to 3 months.
Other Healthy Mexican Recipes
Pipián Verde (Pumpkin Seed Green Mole)
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds toasted
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound tomatillos removed from husks
- 1 onion quartered
- 2 serrano chilis*
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds optional
- 1/2 cup cilantro packed
- 1 lime large, juiced
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- black pepper to taste
- Toast pumpkin seeds in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes, then set aside. Optionally, toast extra pumpkin seeds to use as a garnish later on.
- Add tomatillos, garlic, onions, and serrano peppers in the frying pan, along with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Soften the vegetables over medium to medium high heat. This will take about 15 minutes. Flip the vegetables about half way through. NOTE: Serrano peppers can be very spicy. I typically remove the seeds and veins to reduce the heat. You can sub bell peppers if you are very sensitive to heat.
- Once the vegetables are softened, add them to a blender along with the spices, pumpkin seeds, and cilantro. Add 1 cup of chicken broth and blend until smooth.
- Add the 2nd cup of broth, and pulse to combine.
- Add lime juice, and then adjust salt and seasonings to taste. The sauce should be spicier/saltier than a salsa, since it’s meant to season meats or other dishes.