Meatless Tamale Pie

Assorted beans are piled high inside the cheesy cornbread crust of this meatless tamale pie.   If you're among the growing number of people adopting the habit of going meatless on Mondays, we offer up this recipe as a meatless meal which will probably not entail a last minute trip to the grocery store.  That's right.  You may very well have everything you need right in your pantry and fridge - a saving grace on Mondays.

The Meatless Monday initiative that urges people to go meatless one day of the week - Monday - is really not a new call to action but one that is rather seeing a rebirth.  According to the Meatless Monday site, Presidents Wilson, Truman and Roosevelt created campaigns for voluntary meatless days during wartimes for food conservation and rationing.  Today's call is in the name of social consciousness for the  planet and better health for humans.

While I pause at mixing too many politics with food, the benefits of eating more meatless meals are both inarguable and appealing.  And, this SimplyCooking® recipe for Meatless Tamale Pie is a perfect example of how to create fantastic meatless meals - Monday, Tuesday or any day -  with staples from your pantry.

meatless tamale pie

1 Tbsp. grape seed oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green or red pepper, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. chili powder (more, to taste)
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 cup water
3 - 15oz. cans kidney, pinto, black or white beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup olives, halved
3 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 Tbsp. APflour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp. grape seed oil
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 °F.  Oil an 8" or  9" baking dish or shallow casserole.

In a large skillet, warm the oil and sauté the onions, garlic and green pepper until soft, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, water, beans, olives, parsley and pepper.  Simmer while using a large spoon to smash the beans and fold the mixture over repeatedly to combine well.   Season to taste, using additional chili powder (or other seasonings like chili flakes)  for heat.  Once the bean mixture is heated through, seasoned and a fairly creamy schmear-like consistency has resulted, spread the mixture in the prepared dish.

For the cornbread topping, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl.  Add the egg, milk and oil and stir just enough to combine.  Spread the batter over the bean mixture.  Top with cheese.  Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes until the dough rises and is golden.

This SimplyCooking® recipe uses seasonings moderately for a broadly appealing not-too-spicy tamale pie.  Be sure to taste and season, adding your own favorite spices to heat the dish up.