Tamale Pie

A delicious, healthy recipe adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites. What could be better than getting corn, cheese, and vegetables all in the same plate?  The original recipe calls for (optional) cheddar cheese sprinkled on the bottom of the casserole dish, but I opted to mix Parmesan into the cornbread topping because I love strong-flavored cheese. I think it made the topping a little more dense (i.e. it didn’t rise as well), but it was still delicious, so you can go either way.




  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 c chopped onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1-2 T water
  • 1 c peeled and diced carrots
  • 1 c diced red/green bell peppers
  • 1 c diced zucchini
  • 2 c canned diced tomatoes (15oz can, undrained)
  • 1.5 c cooked beans (15oz can, drained)

Cornbread topping

  • 3/4 c cornmeal
  • 3/4 c grated parmesan
  • 1 T flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 c buttermilk
  • 1 T olive oil


  1. Warm olive oil in pan, add onions and garlic, cover, and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the cumin, coriander, oregano, enough water to prevent sticking, and the carrots. cover and cook 5 minutes.
  3. Add the bell peppers, zucchini, and cayenne pepper. cover and cook another 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and beans, cover, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and salt/pepper to taste.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  7. In a mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, Parmesan cheese, baking powder, and baking soda. in a separate bowl, mix together the egg, buttermilk, and oil. gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring until just mixed.
  8. Prepare casserole dish with cooking spray or a light coating of oil. spread the vegetable-bean mixture in the bottom of the dish.
  9. Pour the batter directly on top of the vegetable-bean mixture, pressing it down a little with a spatula. bake 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden and a knife inserted into the topping comes out clean.
  10. Garnish with minced scallions, chopped cilantro, and sour cream.