June 20, 2020
Black Bean Tamale Pie
Black Bean Tamale Pie! This weeknight meal is healthy and filling! Black Bean and Zucchini Chili topped with homemade cornbread, baked to perfection.
Serves 4

Black Bean Tamale Pie! This weeknight meal is healthy and filling! Black Bean and Zucchini Chili topped with homemade cornbread.  Baked to perfection! Vegan with Gluten-Free option. This recipe was originally posted in 2015, updated in 2020 based on user feedback.

Black Bean Tamale Pie! This weeknight meal is healthy and filling! Black Bean and Zucchini Chili topped with homemade cornbread, baked to perfection! Vegan with Gluten-Free option | www.delishknowledge.com

I’m fairly certain that I will love any recipe that includes the words ‘cornbread crust’ in the description, but this tamale pie might just take the cake. All the flavor of vegetarian tamales with a fraction of the work.

The bottom layer is a simple black bean chili that comes together in just 15 minutes.

Chop an onion, add in zucchini, bell pepper, garlic and spices, and stir in a can of diced tomatoes and black beans. Just like regular chili, you can season until your heart’s content. I use the usual suspects: chili powder, cayenne, cumin and coriander but feel free to turn up the heat with chopped jalapeños or other spices.

Black Bean Tamale Pie! This weeknight meal is healthy and filling! Black Bean and Zucchini Chili topped with homemade cornbread, baked to perfection! Vegan with Gluten-Free option | www.delishknowledge.com

Then comes the best part- the cornbread crust. Essentially, tamale pie is just chili and cornbread combined together in one pan. And for me, it’s not chili unless I’ve got a side of cornbread. I’m using my favorite cornbread recipe here that’s only 7 ingredients and requires just one bowl.

While the chili is cooking, mix up the cornbread and set aside. Did I mention how much I love dinners that only require one bowl and one skillet? Considering it took me hours to clean up after my one tamale episode, this was a welcome change.

Pie goes in the oven, delicious dinner comes out. If you decide to use a casserole pan for this instead of a oven-safe skillet, make sure your chili is fairly saucy. It will dry out as it cooks in the oven and you want enough moisture to create the best part of this meal —> the thin layer of soggy cornbread that’s been baked in chili juice. The top layer is slightly crunchy, the underneath is perfectly soggy. The texture is so perfect. Good luck not picking off the cornbread topping as you dish this one up!

Black Bean Tamale Pie! This weeknight meal is healthy and filling! Black Bean and Zucchini Chili topped with homemade cornbread, baked to perfection! Vegan with Gluten-Free option | www.delishknowledge.com

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

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Black Bean Tamale Pie

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: dinner, entree, pie, healthy
  • Cuisine: southwestern, mexican

Description

Black Bean Tamale Pie! This weeknight meal is healthy and filling! Black Bean and Zucchini Chili topped with homemade cornbread, baked to perfection! Vegan with gluten-free option. Originally posted in 2015; updated in 2020. 


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: dinner, entree, pie, healthy
  • Cuisine: southwestern, mexican
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: dinner, entree, pie, healthy
  • Cuisine: southwestern, mexican
Scale

Ingredients

Filling:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use more if you want more heat)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 15. oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz. diced tomatoes with juice

    Cornmeal Topping:
     
  • 3/4 cup ground cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup cup whole-wheat flour (use gluten-free for gluten free option)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 4oz. can diced green chilis
  • 1/2 cup corn (thawed from frozen or canned)

Instructions

  1. Make the chili layer. Heat a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and saute the onion for 5-6 minutes until translucent. Add a pinch of salt and the garlic, stir together.
  2. Add the rest of the vegetables: bell pepper and zucchini along with the chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, and coriander. Cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the beans and tomatoes with juice to the skillet.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Make the cornbread filling. Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder in a large bowl. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the oil, maple syrup, soymilk and apple cider vinegar.
  5. Add the wet to the dry and mix until combined. Add in the green chilis and corn, mix again then pour the cornmeal batter over the filling and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Notes

I used a large cast iron skillet for this dish but if you don’t have a skillet that large, use a casserole dish instead. Make the filling and pour into a casserole dish, cover with cornbread mixture and bake as directed.Feel free to get crazy with variations! Add in chopped jalapenos or shredded cheddar cheese (regular or dairy-free) to your cornbread topping. Once it’s baked, enjoy as is or top like you would your favorite chili!

did you make this?

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Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

21 comments
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  1. This is like a 4.5/5, realllly good and so easy. My biggest complaint that didn’t get it to a 5/5 is the cornbread needed a little something extra, its was kinda bland. Of course, with the filling on the bottom it was a delicious combo, but if you got a bite that was mostly cornbread, it lacked something. I think maybe a little more maple syrup and some salt would do the trick. Definitely making this in the future again!

  2. My vegetarian son, who usually only gives a response of “good”, labeled this “very good”. We did agree that next time we make this we will use two cans of beans and two cans of tomatoes.

  3. Good recipe but the pan size if 12′ in diameter worked fine. I used some Masa with the cornmeal turned out great.

  4. Just made this for dinner. Probably the best thing I’ve had during quarantine! Will be making again, adding to the weekly rotation!

  5. This was really really good. I ate 2 servings! I used a corn muffin mix with your list of wet ingredients and it turned out perfectly.

    • Hi Samantha- I haven’t done that so I don’t know if it will work! I know you can sub applesauce for oil in most recipes, but I don’t know how it will affect the flavor- it may be too sweet. If you try it- let me know and I’ll add it as a note! Thanks, Alex

  6. This looks AMAZING! I bet even my “scared of all things vegan” boyfriend would love this. It has been pinned….along with some of the other goodies I’ve discovered on your site. 🙂

    • Isn’t that the best? I have at least 6 canisters of Quaker Oats- why!? Hope you make it! If you do – let me know what you think 🙂

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