Friday, November 30, 2012

Tamale Pie , Vegan Veggilicious

This pictures reminds me so much of the
small rural Minnesota town where I
grew up. No horse carriages or sleighs
in the 1940's, but the rest seems so
familiar I just had to show it.
With Christmas sneaking up on us, most moms I know have swung into overdrive. Even all the grandmas I know, though our overdrive should really be called mini drive because that's how we get around--a mini bit at a time. Even so, nightly dinners that are fast and easy are the name of the game from now until next year because stopping at the nearest fast food chain or ordering up a pizza doesn't work for most vegans. Toward that end, I've been going through my recipe box of family favorites to find those easy hot dishes I could make vegan without giving up taste.

My dresses are shorter and my
hair is gray. Otherwise, glasses and
all, this could be me.
By now you know that I only post recipes that receive my seal of approval and this one does. It's fast, bakes in the oven so there's no standing over a hot stove, and prep work is minimal. By now you also know how much I hate being in the kitchen and always have, so my recipes are generally fast and dirty, taking up almost none of my precious time. After all, there are quilts to finish, knitted scarves to get done, aprons and hot pads that need their bias bindings sewn on, and then there's all that wrapping and mailing looking me in the face.

Phew, just writing it all down makes me tired. I'm going to take a nap.

Back again with the rest of the story. Yesterday I grabbed my decrepit 40 year old recipe box and spent some figuring out which favorite casseroles could be easily veganized. My eyes stopped at Tamale Pie and since the day was chilly, I figured it would be belly warmer. Now I don't always come up with a re-worked recipe winner the first go-around, but this time it worked. I hope it works for you too. Let me know what you think.


2 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 cups of corn, fresh or frozen
1 small onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 roasted red pepper, diced (I used jarred)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 jalapeno, minced, ribs and seeds removed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can refried beans
1 cup water or vegetable stock
1 cup salsa, (I'm addicted to La Victoria)
1 small can sliced black olives
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 Tbs. ground cumin
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 cup vegan cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Add more water or vegetable broth if the mixture is too thick to spread easily.

Put the vegetable oil in a large fry pan.
Add the onion, bell pepper, roasted red pepper and all the spices.
Cook on medium heat until the fresh vegetables are limp. Then add both cans of beans along with the corn, salsa, olives, garlic, stock, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook till all the ingredients are blended. I used my potato masher to make sure everything jammed together quickly. I'm not against helping things along so I can get out of the kitchen quickly. When everything looks homogeneous, turn off the heat, cover the pan and ignore it for now.

Now it's time to make the substitute tamale dough.

Into a bowl put:

1 cup corn meal, (I always use Albers as I think it has the best taste)
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Set aside for now.

Into another bowl put:

1 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened soy)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Mix together and set aside.

Use your coffee bean grinder to turn 1 Tbs. flaxseed into powder. Move the ground seeds to a bowl and add 1 Tbs. water. Stir together and then set the mixture aside for 5 minutes. This is one of the egg substitutes that works quite well. If you don't have flaxseed, you can substitute 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, but the cornmeal mixture will taste a little sweet.

Pour the flaxseed mixture into the bowl of liquids and mix them together. Now add the dry ingredients in 2 increments. Mix by hand. You will have some lumps. That is normal. Overmixing will make a tough cornbread that even the dog can't chew.

Grease a medium sized casserole dish and pour about half of the cornmeal mixture on the bottom. Spread out thinly. Top that with the bean/vegetable mixture and pat down smoothly.

Spread the vegan cheddar cheese over the top and then pour the remaining cornmeal mixture over that.

Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes at 350degrees or until the top is a light brown. Let stand a few minutes before cutting into serving pieces.

Serves 4-6 hearty appetites.

While this recipe sounds complicated, it's really quite easy. You will use a lot of bowls but the dishwasher can take care of washing and drying them. Believe me when I say this recipe is fast, for then it must be so. You know how much I hate being in the......well, you know.

Another idea:

If you'd prefer to make this recipe even easier, use a small bag of Frito's as a substitute tamale dough. Lay the bag on the counter and give it a good crush, breaking up the Frito's at least by half. Now pour half of the bag on the bottom of the pan and the rest of the bag atop the whole thing before baking it. I mention SMALL bag as compared to a personal size bag. Personal size simply does not have enough chips to do the job.

You're probably laughing because you think I'm joking!

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to try this recipe tonight; but just so you're aware, Worcestershire sauce is not vegan as it contains anchovies. You can find anchovy-free at Trader Joe's or a similar market marked "vegan." I'm really excited to try your recipe though- I've been wanting to make real tamales, but don't have a steamer, so this casserole is AWESOME!