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Vegetarian Tamale Pie

Tamale Pie is a comfort food casserole at its best. Here we use a lentil-brown rice mixture instead of traditional ground beef. A good Meatless Monday choice.


  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup green or brown lentils
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetarian ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 14ounce can Mexican style stewed tomatoes pureed
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar or Colby cheese
  • 1 tube polenta
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese optional


  • First make the vegetarian ground beef: Bring the broth to boil in a 3 quart saucepan.
  • Add the brown rice and lentils. Reduce heat, and simmer until soft or even mushy, about 1/2 hour. Add more water if necessary to prevent sticking.
  • To make pie: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and sauté until soft, 3-4 minutes.
  • Add 2 ½ cups of lentil-rice mixture to skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add chili powder, tomatoes, corn, and black olives to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally until mixture is heated through.
    Add cheese to skillet. Stir until melted.
  • Spoon mixture into a greased 8 x 8 inch pan, OR a greased 9x 13 inch pan.
  • Chop polenta and scatter over top of casserole. Sprinkle with queso fresco cheese if desired.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
  • Serve as is or with salsa and chopped avocado.