You Had Me At Tamale: Vegetable Tamale PIe

I have a love affair with tamales. When I came across a recipe for vegetable tamale pie while feeding my new addiction (can you say Pinterest?) I knew it wouldn’t be long until I tried it.

I haven’t been to the grocery store in almost 3 weeks and the coffers are getting dry in this house, but it seems this is the perfect meal for those occasions as the ingredient list is so flexible and can be found in almost any kitchen cabinet.

I subbed black beans for the pintos and didn’t have a can of diced tomatoes, but did have a quart of grape tomatoes that I could dice, so I did a little switcher. This recipe can take some tweaking. You want squash in your tamale pie? Why not. Don’t like the polenta? Leave it out.

I rarely come across a recipe as delectable and flexible as this one. You can basically fill this with whatever your family really loves and walk away looking like the Top Chef in your house. It’s basically a base of polenta topped with a mix of mashed beans, salsa, corn, tomatoes and some seasonings. All of that is covered with some cheese and baked to bubbly perfection.

This dish is warm in the way good comfort food always is. It satisfies your need to feel good on a cold day as well as your desire for a variety of flavors. It’ gives you the textures of a tamales and the flavors of Mexico combined with whatever vegetable you choose to use inside. Try it. I know you wanna.

Vegetable Tamale Pie
Makes 6 individual pies
Prep: 15 minutes Cooking: 20 minutes Total: 35 minutes

1 cup cornmeal or prepared polenta (18ox tube)
1 cup frozen corn
1 – 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cup salsa
2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
Sour cream to serve, if desired

Make the polenta or slice the pre made polenta, spreading about three tablespoons on the bottom of the individual baking dishes.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Drain the diced tomatoes and the salsa until there is no excess liquid. Also drain the beans if you are using canned. Chop the cilantro.

Using a fork, coarsely mash the beans then add the corn, tomatoes, salsa, cumin, cayenne, oregano, salt and 1/4 cup cilantro, mixing to combine.

Spoon the mixture on top of the polenta in the dishes topping each with the cheese and remaining cilantro.

Bake for 20 minutes or until heated and bubbly. Let the pies cool for about 5 minutes before serving. If desired, top with sour cream.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 292, Fat 7.6g (Sat Fat 4.3g, Polyunsat .3g, Monounsat 0.1g), Cholesterol 20.8mg, Sodium 695mg, Total Carbohydrates 43.1g, Fiber 10.8g, Sugar 3.2g, Protein 15g

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