Healthy Vanilla Bean Recipes Series: Vanilla Scented Morel Mushroom Mole

by Kindi Lantz October 04, 2018

Healthy Vanilla Bean Recipes Series

Post 4: Vegan Vanilla Mushroom Mole

In my recent quest to develop healthy vanilla bean recipes to share with our readers and customers, I was particularly challenged by savory dishes (though I now have a long list of healthy vanilla dishes I can’t wait to create in the future). Then I recalled an instance when I was entertaining my sister’s family, including my vegan niece. We had just gone morel hunting; so I concocted a vegan morel mole. It was a hit! So, I decided to recreate it—this time making it a tad healthier, enhancing it with vanilla beans, and using the rehydrating liquid from dried morel mushrooms in place of broth for an extra earthy kick!

If you’ve been following the Healthy Vanilla Bean Recipes series, you already aware that our previous recipes were:

  1. Vegan Mango and Vanilla Ice Cream
  2. Vanilla Bean and Dark Rum Barbecue Sauce over Cherry Smoked Ribs
  3. Dairy Free Coconut Vanilla Pudding

In the last three healthy vanilla bean recipes I posted, I featured our plump, floral, and absolutely gorgeous Tahitian Vanilla Beans, which are produced on a small farm by a single family living on the island of Tahiti.

These beans are truly unique. The curing method in Polynesia is unlike anywhere in the world. The beans are vine ripened. After they are harvested, they are allowed to brown until they are just soft and tender. Once they have reached complete maturity (this takes an average of one to two weeks) the vanilla beans are rinsed in cold water and laid out in the sun to begin the fermentation process.

Because they have a higher moisture content, their aroma is extremely floral and mildly intoxicating. Further drying the bean would compromise the unique flavor profile.

Unlike planifolia, the majority of vanilla from the islands of Tahiti is exported to France, where the high demand for this specific variety of vanilla tahitensis significantly raised prices on most of these beans. Given its consistently high price point, it's a vanilla bean that may never be experienced by most people. Still, we highly recommend you experience the difference for yourself. Get yours here. 

I digress. I just get so excited talking about these beans!

For this week’s healthy vanilla bean recipe, I’m going to switch it up a bit. Since mole is a Mexican dish, I chose a bean with origins in that region—vanilla planifolia. Check out the varieties of vanilla planifolia we carry

Vanilla planifolia is the most classic of vanilla beans, with a flavor profile that is sweet, rich, earthy, and creamy, with buttery undertones. As you can imagine, it pairs beautifully with chocolate. So it’s the obvious choice for enhancing my Vegan Vanilla Mole Mushroom dish!

This particular version is made with pure, dark cacao. Of course, there is no refined sugar. The slight sweetness is contributed by dried, organic apricots. Gorgeous flecks of vanilla caviar are visibly noticeable. It’s filled with antioxidants and is gluten free, low carb, vegan (so obviously dairy free, too), and,  nut free, so it will satisfy most dietary restrictions! It's rich, savory, and incredibly hearty without any unhealthy additions!

Vegan Vanilla Mushroom Mole


  • 15 dehydrated morel mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 pint fresh mushrooms (chef’s preference)
  • 3 tablespoons cold-pressed, extra virgin coconut oil
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 medium-sized roasted poblano chile peppers, peeled and seeds removed
  • 1 large tomato
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 ½ cup mushroom rehydration liquid, divided
  • 12 dried apricots
  • ¼ cup dark cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Vanilla caviar (seeds) from 2 vanilla beans
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh, minced cilantro


  1. Put your dried mushrooms in a container with 2 cups of water to rehydrate (this should take about 30 minutes).
  2. When fully rehydrated, drain the mushrooms and reserve the liquid.
  3. Slice the fresh and rehydrated mushrooms into ½-inch pieces.
  4. Place the onion, mushrooms, 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, and salt into a large skillet and saute until the onions are a golden brown.
  5. While the mushroom/onion mixture is cooking, use a blender or food processor to make a puree the following until you have a thick paste: poblanos, tomato, garlic, apricots, ½ cup morel mushroom rehydration liquid, and cacao.
  6. When the onions and mushrooms are perfectly sauteed, add the lemon juice and vanilla and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Carefully stir in the cacao puree to avoid breaking the mushrooms.
  8. Add in the cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, and the remainder of the mushroom rehydration liquid. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mole will reduce by about ¼.
  9. Finish by stirring in the apple cider vinegar and cilantro.


Serve in tacos, lettuce wraps, or over rice, quinoa, or even riced cauliflower! I had mine over a coconut-infused wild rice and quinoa and topped it with a bit of cotija!

This recipe used 3 of my favorite ingredients from our store! You can find them here:

Bourbon Vanilla Beans

Dried Morel Mushrooms

Ceylon Cinnamon Powder

Kindi Lantz
Kindi Lantz


Kindi Lantz discovered her love of cooking long before she could even reach the kitchen counters; her grandmother gave her access to nearly every ingredient in her kitchen for her (mostly inedible) experiments. Kindi’s culinary capabilities continued to grow even when she had reached her peak height at just under 5’. Her first job was as a Chef’s Assistant on her relatives’ farm at the age of 11. Throughout high school and college, she worked in a wide variety of restaurants—from American pub food to Japanese, Korean to Cajun, and down-home diners to Italian— and with each, she developed techniques and expanded her culinary expertise. For the better part of 10 years, Kindi managed and even took on part ownership of a gourmet catering company in the Portland, OR metro area—it was there, alongside some of the most talented chefs, planners, and entertainers, that Kindi’s passion developed the most. Kindi is obsessed with only using fresh and sustainably-sourced ingredients in the recipes she creates, which is what led her to SloFoodGroup!

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