Vegetarian Tamales

Christmas in New Mexico calls for tamales! This is a healthier, vegetarian version made with olive oil instead of lard. For vegan diets, hold the cheese!

Ingredients:

Wraps: Soak corn husks in hot water until pliable.
Corn Husks Tamale

Filling (calabacitas with optional chicken substitute):

2 zucchini diced
2 Yellow squash diced
1 cup sweet corn
1 onion diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp oil
¼ cup green chili
shredded cheese (optional)
Chik strips diced (Quorn brand – optional)

Add oil, garlic and onion to a frying pan. Sauté until the onions are translucent. Add remaining ingredients and cook until the squash and zucchini is tender and the chik strips are warmed through. Set aside and let cool.

Masa: Masa is Spanish for dough, and is made primarily of ground hominy. This maize flour (corn) is also used for making corn tortillas. (Here is a great article on masa from thekitchn). See also Tamale Variations  for Masa options.

5lbs masa thawed
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp + 2 tsp salt
3 cups (or less) of olive oil

You won’t get as fluffy of a masa with olive oil as you will with lard but the final product will be fine. Also, I dumped in 3 cups of olive oil which is less than the 3.5 cups of lard the original recipe calls for, but I think I could have gotten away with less (this will have to be my next experiment – stay tuned).

Here is a picture of all my ingredients. I tried to use the hand mixer but there was so much it was tough so I threw it in the KitchenAid mixer.

I don’t use the mixer often but in this case it was awesome.

Meanwhile, my cornhusks have been soaking in hot water and they are nice and malleable.

Drain them and pat dry. Open the husk and spread ~2tbsps of masa inside.

Top with ~1tbsp of filling (exclude the cheese for Vegan recipe):

Wrap them up like a burrito

Sometimes the husk will tear or you will have put too much filling in and it will overflow. In that case you can place the husk inside of another.

You can also tear strips off of the husks and use them as ties to keep them closed if they are resistant, but if you soaked the husks long enough they should be ok.

Load them into the steamer for ~30 min.

Unwrap and enjoy.

Delicious smothered in red or green chile sauce.

In my house tamales go quick so I don’t worry too much about long term storage, but they freeze really well and you can reheat them in the microwave.

Print Recipe
Vegetarian Tamales
Christmas in New Mexico calls for Tamales! This is a healthier, vegetarian, version made with olive oil instead of lard. For vegan diets, hold the cheese!
Tamales
Servings
Dozen
Ingredients
Wrap
Filling
Masa
Servings
Dozen
Ingredients
Wrap
Filling
Masa
Tamales
Instructions
Wrap
  1. Soak corn husks in hot water until pliable.
Filling
  1. Add oil, garlic and onion to a frying pan. Sauté until the onions are translucent. Add remaining ingredients and cook until the squash and zucchini is tender and the chik strips are warmed through. Set aside and let cool.
Masa
  1. You won’t get as fluffy of a masa with olive oil as you will with lard but the final product will be fine. Also, I dumped in 3 cups of olive oil which is less than the 3.5 cups of lard the original recipe calls for, but I think I could have gotten away with less (this will have to be my next experiment – stay tuned). Mix all the ingredients together until well combined.
Make the Tamales!
  1. Drain them and pat dry. Open the husk and spread ~2tbsps of masa inside.
  2. Top with ~1tbsp of filling:
  3. Wrap them up like a burrito
  4. Sometimes the husk will tear or you will have put too much filling in and it will overflow. In that case you can place the husk inside of another. You can also tear strips off of the husks and use them as ties to keep them closed if they are resistant, but if you soaked the husks long enough they should be ok.
  5. Load them into the steamer for ~30 min.
  6. Unwrap and Enjoy! Delicious smothered in red or green chile sauce.
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