Cole Cooks: Nut Free Pork Mole Verde



Pork Tenderloin Apple Mole Verde

A relatively easy to prepare nut free Mexican green mole
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Pork Tenderloin Apple Mole Verde
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 8


For marinade

  • 2 lb. pork tenderloin
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp salt and
  • 1 tsp pepper

For sauce

  • 4 medium tomatillos
  • 2 shallots peeled and quartered
  • 2 green apples cored and quartered
  • 1 cup apple juice divided
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 oz Savory Spices Mole Verde Spice
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup carrots sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup chicken stock


  1. Combine marinade ingredients in bowl
  2. Put pork in seal-able plastic bag, cover with marinade and refrigerate for 1 hour
  3. Preheat oven to 425
  4. Core apple and cut into slices, peel and quarter shallots and tomatillos
  5. Place apples, shallots and tomatillos on baking sheet and broil until they start to blacken, turning twice. Estimated time 8 to 15 minutes.
  6. Combine Mole Verde Spice, pumpkin seeds and spices, 1/2 cup apple juice, lime juice, salt and olive oil into mole paste
  7. Add Mole paste, broiled ingredients, remaining 1/2 cup apple juice to food processor or blender and blend thoroughly.
  8. Sear pork on stovetop, about 2 minutes per side
  9. Place pork in baking dish and cook until it reaches 145 degrees (about 15-25 minutes)
  10. While pork is cooking saute carrot slices for 2-3 minutes
  11. Add apple cider vinegar and deglaze pan, reduce by half
  12. Add mole sauce and stir to coat
  13. Add stock, remaining apple juice and bring to a boil
  14. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook 5 minutes
  15. Slice pork and add to pan, coating with sauce

Recipe Notes

The pork can be done sous vide. Simply cook in water bath at 145 for an hour or more. Sear 2-3 minutes per side and slice.

Adapted from from Savory Spices

Mole is often cited as the national dish of Mexico.  There are all kinds of moles but one thing most of them have in common is they are made with nuts.  Unfortunately our family suffers from severe nut allergies so mole has been a dish we have generally had to avoid.  However, while shopping at our local Savory Spices store we noted some nut free mole seasonings.  Intrigued we bought the 2 oz bottle of Mole Verde Spice for about $7.  Time to make some Nut Free Pork Mole Verde!

Luckily our purchase also included a recipe for making a Pork Tenderloin Green Apple Mole that seemed fairly simple.  We should note that mole is a complicated dish that can have dozens of ingredients.  We have tried making a nut free version before and it is really an all day project.  The Savory Spice Mole Verde cuts down on that by combing many of the spices into a powder but this is still a fairly major project.   With some experimentation we have tweaked this recipe but for the original version go here

The marinade bag can go right into a sous vide bath

The first thing we noted about the recipe that it only called for 1 lb of pork tenderloin.  Our pork tenderloin package came in a 2 lb bag and if we are going to all this trouble why not double the recipe.  Unfortunately, the recipe calls for the entire 2 oz jar of spice.  So we improvised by adding extra spices.  In the end, we think the original recipe probably makes enough for 2 lbs of meat but we have made some adjustments that overall resulted in a pretty darn good dish that is definitely unique.

The recipe calls for searing the pork in the stove and cooking in an oven.  This works but it is easy to overcook and we have found the time it takes to cook varies greatly and requires hovering with an instant read thermometer to get the right temp.  Pork tenderloin is one of those meats that can be easily overcooked so we like to control the cooking by using our Anova Sous Vide.  After putting the meat in a bag filled with the lime apple juice we simply drop it into our sous vide bath at 145 degrees and let it go for at least an hour (2 if frozen).  At that point it can be seared on the stove, cooled, sliced and added to the sauce.


If you sous vide you can make the sauce while the pork is cooking.  Otherwise you want to make the sauce before cooking the pork.  The first step is coring and slicing the apples, shallots and tomatillos and broiling them until they start to blacken.  The recipe said this would take 8 to 10 minutes but for us it was more like 15, turning halfway through.  While this is cooking you have time to make the mole paste by adding the spices, oil and juice and blending.  

Simply add it all to a food processor or blender and mix into the sauce.  Cook the carrots as directed, add the sauce, some more apple juice and stock of your choice (we used chicken).  Let simmer until pork is done.  Slice the pork and coat with sauce.  A fairly simple and tasty mole and if you don’t have nut issues you can sprinkle with roasted pecans as suggested by the original recipe.

We will say that mole sauce tastes better than it looks.  This had some great, complex flavors and the kids ate it up.  However, it did take them awhile to get past the heavy greenish, brown sauce.  We found this recipe made more than enough sauce to freeze and use later in another dish.  Savory Spices makes some other prepared mole concoctions, including a nut free one that has cocoa.  We will try this one next time.  

If are in San Diego and want to try a variety of authentic mole dishes the place to go is El Agave in Old Town.  This place has many types of mole, many of which are nut free.  It is located in Old Town a few blocks off the beaten path in a small strip mall.  It is fairly expensive but our Mexican friends say it is one of the only truly authentic places in the area.


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