Tamale Pie

I have never made tamales or pies before. I just thought that these recipes are labor intensive that it would take a long time. But I should just get my hands dirty and really start making pies. As for the tamales, I think I will leave that to the professionals.

Side story: I used to work for a large hotel in college and I would buy tamales from our housekeepers on Sundays. They would bring them in bucket full and hide them in their lockers because they didn’t want to get in trouble for selling food to other employees. Back then, they sold each tamale for $1 and I would buy a bag full and bring them home. Authentic tamales for our family dinner. What a funny situation that was looking back at it. Smuggling tamales on work premises 🙂

Ok, lets get back to the recipe….

Making this Tamale Pie dish (recipe from PeasandThankYou blog) was simple enough that I have made it twice. Once, to try the recipe and the second time to give to a girlfriend who recently had a baby.


Mexican food is one of my favorite dishes. When making it at home, I always find ways to make it healthier without sacrificing the flavors and the taste.

The items needed for the recipe are my pantry staples, so I really had no reason not to make it.

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If you don’t have tempeh or don’t want to make this dish vegetarian, you can probably substitute it with 8oz of your choice of ground meat.


Tempeh Tamale Pie

Ingredients (6-8 servings)

For the filling:

  • 1 medium onion or 1/2 of a large onion, chopped
  • One 8 oz. package tempeh, crumbled
  • 2 t. minced garlic
  • 1 t. chili powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 t. apple cider
  • 1 t. maple syrup
  • One 14 oz. can tomato sauce
  • One 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

For the crust:

  • 2/3 c. cornmeal
  • 1/3 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 c. non-dairy or organic milk
  • 1 T. maple syrup
  • 2 T. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 c. frozen corn, defrosted and drained
  • 1/3 c. non-dairy (i.e. Daiya) or organic cheddar cheese (optional)

For topping:

  • sliced olives and non-dairy or organic sour cream (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place a large skillet over medium high heat and spritz with cooking spray or oil. Add onion and sauté until softened and starting to brown, about 4 or 5 minutes.
  • Crumble tempeh into the pan with the sautéed onion. You can use a grater so that all the pieces are approximately the same size.


  • Lightly brown tempeh, cooking for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
  • To the pan, add garlic, chili powder, 1/2 t. salt, vinegar, 1 t. maple syrup, tomato sauce and beans.

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  • Allow bean mixture to simmer for a few minutes to meld flavors. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray or lightly coated with oil and set aside.

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  • In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In your liquid measuring cup, combine milk, maple syrup and applesauce.
  • Add wet ingredients to the cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined.
  • Gently fold in the defrosted corn.


  • Spread corn mixture carefully and evenly over the top of the casserole dish.


  • If using, top the casserole with shredded cheese.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese has melted and crust is set and starting to brown.
  • Serve with desired toppings.


or you can also topped with cheese for single servings.


I really loved the corn meal crust so I am thinking of doubling the recipe for next time and cooking the extra batch on a pie tin to serve separately.


  1. Wow ! This looks great! Every recipe in her book does! I cant wait to cook more once I move ❤

    Hope you are well love! xoxo

  2. Oh my that looks good! Love the whole corn kernels in the crust!! I love that you smuggled tamales

  3. This recipe looks SO GOOD! Yum! How long did it take to make start to finish? I’m excited to try this out for the cornmeal crust!

    • Hi Kjirsten (unique name btw, love it).

      The recipe didn’t take that long as I thought it would. Maybe 45 minutes? Including baking it for 20 minutes. I think it’s worth it, so hopefully you will be able to try it soon.

  4. yummm, ive been thinking about attempting tamale pie at some point- you make it seem easy!

  5. This tamale pie looks amazing! I’m going to have to try making this! 🙂

    I love the smuggling tamales story! Too funny!

  6. LOVE Mexican food and this looks so good! I’m going to try it. With meat 🙂


  1. […] also made corn bread to serve with the chili. I used the same corn bread recipe used in the Tamale Pie […]

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