There are certain dinners that are not fancy, not elaborate, and certainly not on-trend with foodies, but are just plain good comfort food.
Tamale pie is one of those dishes. I have no idea who thought to make the first tamale pie but, in my humble opinion, they deserve a medal. I mean, come on – spicy ground beef slathered with a cheesy sauce and topped with a cornmeal crust? No, not fancy. Fantastic!
A recent visit from my vegan son inspired me to re-create this comfort classic without the meat and cheese. To be very honest, I was not too optimistic about the result. So you can imagine my surprise when the vegan version was so darn good that dyed-in-the-wool carnivores devoured it without question.
This recipe does require a little advance planning – you need to soak some cashews in water overnight to make the vegan “cheese” sauce. But other than that, it is simple to prepare, especially when using Kim’s Simple Meals organic homestyle burger mix – an organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan burger substitute that is as simple to prepare as just adding water.
Gluten Free Vegan Tamale Pie Recipe
1½ cups raw cashews
Gluten free non-stick cooking spray
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, use divided
Kosher or fine sea salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 (8-ounce) box Kim’s Simple Meals Organic Homestyle Burgers
1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and chilies, such as RoTel
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup gluten free masa harina
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup gluten free vegetable broth
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon paprika
Vegan sour cream
The night before making the tamale pie, place the cashews in a bowl, cover with water and place in the refrigerator to soak overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 1 ½ quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
Drain the cashews and place them in a blender. Add enough fresh water to cover the cashews by an inch. Blend, scraping down the sides of the blender jar as needed, until very smooth. If needed, add more water a little at a time. Add the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, garlic and onion powders, turmeric, and cayenne. Blend until smooth.
Place the homestyle burger mix in a bowl, cover with 1½ cups boiling water, stir, and let sit for 5 minutes. Bake the burgers according to the package directions.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, poblano and red peppers and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Crumble in the homestyle burgers, add the cumin and canned tomatoes and chilies (with the can juices) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Place the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
Top the “meat” mixture with the cashew “cheese.”
In a mixing bowl, combine the masa harina with the baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, vegetable broth, vegetable oil, and paprika until well blended. Smooth the mixture over the top of the casserole and bake 20 – 30 minutes or until golden brown and hot.
Serve with vegan sour cream, salsa, and cilantro if desired.
Serves 6 – 8
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