Many years ago I had a recipe for Vegetarian Tamale Pie that I absolutely loved. I have no idea where the recipe went, but I was hungry for it last week. The two obstacles that I needed to overcome were recreating the recipe that I loved and making it slow cooker friendly. We had another very hot week in Kansas.
You might have thought that I was going to say one of the hurdles was getting my family to eat it, but I wasn’t concerned about that. I didn’t tell them that it was Vegetarian Tamale Pie. Wink.
I had a rough idea of what had been in the inside of the Vegetarian Tamale Pie that I loved; black beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese, and green chiles. The topping was a relatively standard cornmeal topping. I was unsure if the topping would adapt well to the slow cooker so I looked to find a few slow cooker tamale pie recipes. There were several, but they all called for a box of cornbread mix. That wasn’t what I wanted.
Finally I found a recipe that had a homemade cornmeal topping and I adapted it. When the time came to put the topping on my Vegetarian Tamale Pie I became concerned. The recipe that I used to make had a thick topping and this was a thin and somewhat runny layer. Well, we would just have to see what happened.
I also had a few concerns about the cooking time. Set on low I was pretty sure that it would not take 8 hours to warm through, allow the flavors to meld, and cook the cornmeal topping. I checked in around lunchtime and was informed that it was definitely done.
The only thing remaining was to taste it and see how it turned out. By the time I got home from work and running a few errands the Hubs and D3 had already eaten. The comments were mostly positive. D3 said that it was very spicy, but she liked it in spite of that. The Hubs, not knowing that it was Vegetarian Tamale Pie, said that if it had shredded pork in it then it would taste just like tamales. I informed him that it was called tamale pie and that it was 100% meatless. He was impressed with the flavors, the texture, and the topping. He agreed with D3 that it was a little spicy.
I served myself a plate of it, and was so happy. The topping had risen to at least an inch thick, which was just what I wanted. The flavors were spot on and the black beans definitely gave the dish a texture that was close to ground beef.
The Vegetarian Tamale Pie was a huge success. I will definitely put this in the rotation. It is easy to make, doesn’t heat up the house, and it tasted great.
Do you have a recipe that you used to make and have lost? You should try to recreate it! You might just stumble on a way to make it even better.
Vegetarian Tamale Pie
- 2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
- 1 can Fire Roasted Salsa Style Tomatoes (drained)
- ¼ cup diced onion
- 1 teaspoon chili seasoning
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup cheddar cheese (grated)
- 2 tablespoons green chiles (diced (optional))
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup milk
- ½ cup cheddar cheese (grated)
Additional Toppings, optional
- Cheddar Cheese (grated)
- Sour cream
- Jalapeño (sliced)
- Spray the inside of the slow cooker crock with nonstick cooking spray.
- Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese, onion, and seasonings to the slow cooker. Add green chiles, if desired. Stir gently to combine.
- In a small bowl add the cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a liquid measuring cup add milk and egg. Whisk gently.
- Pour milk and egg into cornmeal mixture and stir to combine.
- Stir in cheese.
- Pour cornmeal topping over the filling, covering the entire top.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 5 hours, or until topping is crusty and beginning to brown slightly on the edges.
- Serve warm with optional garnishes, if desired.