Monday, October 14, 2013

Tofu Tamale Pie

Tofu Tamale Pie
I've been making this recipe for ages - best I can figure, about 25 years. The kids I made it for back then aren't kids any more (they have kids of their own!), but they still ask for it : )

I originally found the recipe on a package of Azumaya Tofu. It was a Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian recipe with a  Cheddar Cheesy Polenta covering the top. I remember once baking it in a cast iron pan and taking it to a potluck. It was devoured down to the last crumb. I'm guessing most of the people there had no idea they were eating Tofu. I made it for many years with the cheese topping which used 1 1/2 cups of Shredded Cheddar stirred into hot Polenta before topping the dish, but when I became vegan, it did too!

I find that some people are wary of the word "Tofu" - if that's the case with your crowd, you can call this "Veggie Tamale Pie" - after all, it has way more Veggies than Tofu!

Here's how I make it

Tofu-Tamale Pie


1 cup Chopped Onions (I often use the frozen chopped kind from a bag)
½ cup Celery
1 teaspoon fresh minced Garlic

Add and cook two minutes:
1 (14 to 16 ounce) block Tofu (firm or extra firm, not silken) mashed with fork

Aromatics & Tofu cooking


add and simmer 5 minutes:
1 (16 ounce) can diced Tomatoes, drained
1 pound bag Corn (from the freezer)
1 ½ Tablespoon Chili Powder (not cayenne, but the blend you use when making chili)
½ teaspoon Salt
Tofu Simmering with Veggies before adding Cornmeal.

Add and simmer 10 minutes (I recommend actually timing this one), stirring often:
½ cup Cornmeal
1 cup Water

At the end of the ten minutes, the mixture with cornmeal added
will be thick enough to form a pile on one side of the pan

Place in 2 quart oiled casserole dish

make Polenta* topping:

bring to a boil:
2 1/4 cups nondairy milk or water
Optional - 2 teaspoons oil (surface cracks a little if oil is omitted, but still tastes delicious!)
3/4 teaspoon salt

slowly stir in and cook till thickened, being careful to avoid lumps:
3/4 cup cornmeal

Finished Polenta looks a lot like Mashed Potatoes.

Stir in
1 cup sliced black olives (optional - a 4oz can of Green Chilies may be used instead for those who like a tiny bit of heat and are avoiding olives because of the fat content)

Spoon topping over tofu mixture, and spread to edges

Spooning Polenta & Olive mixture evenly over Tofu Mixture
Makes it much easier to spread to the edges without messing
Up the lower layer.

Bake, 375 degrees, 25 minutes, till very lightly browned on top. If you like (and if your pan isn't glass) you can broil this briefly at the end to heighten the brown-ness : )

I often freeze this in individual portions after baking. Simply microwave & eat.

*Polenta. Note for those from the American South: Y'all know this as "Cornmeal Mush"   I find it easier to make this in the microwave than on the stove top. It is much less likely to lump this way. I put all the water, salt, and cornmeal in a large microwaveable bowl. I cook it on high for 30 seconds, take it out, stir it well, and repeat till it's the consistency of mashed potatoes. It takes about 4-5 minutes in my microwave this way.

This is being shared on: Feeding Big, Penny Pinching Party, Real Food, Allergy Free, Simple Lives Thursday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Healthy Vegan Fridays


  1. My daughter is vegetarian and we often have no meat meals. I happen to have some tofu in the refrigerator and I need to use it. This recipe sounds like something my family would enjoy. Thanks for linking to the In and Out of the Kitchen Link party.

    1. Thanks so much for visiting! Hope you & your family enjoy it as much as we do : )

  2. Yum that looks great! And something a bit different from our usual meals - will def give this one a try :-)
    Thanks for posting the recipe

  3. I am definitely going to try this one - My current vegan tamale pie is a lot of work compared to yours, and I think I will like this one better, too. My old one uses masa harina for crusts and it's hard to get the right consistency. I know how to do polenta, and I know I like it. Thanks!

    1. I'm honored! You'll have to let me know how y'all like it : )


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