Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Vegan Tamales

Two days until Cinco De Mayo. Two days! Two days until I make a delicious mexican feast whilst wearing a sombrero and jamming out to some authentic Cinco tunes. Two days until I have a Corona.

Ok. Well actually I probably have to work that day so I will more than likely not be enjoying a Corona. I will, however, wear a sombrero.

I have two days worth of Cinco De Mayo worthy recipes for you. Because in this household? We lurve mexican food! Lurve it.

We used to be vigilant about Taco Friday. Every Friday was Taco Friday. We actually became known amongst our once wide circle for Taco Friday. That was when we were awesome and had people over all the time. Now? Well, I'll just be honest and say that now we're still awesome; we just don't party like we used to.

This isn't a Taco Friday post though... this is a tamale post! Because I have operated under the impression, for basically ever, that tamales are hard to make. And then I made them. And then I realized that they aren't difficult at all! In fact, I think I might make some for breakfast. Ole!

These are delicious Spinach Mushroom Tamales. Ridiculously easy and Forty-Two times more delicious. A perfect partner to that Cinco Corona.

Yield: maybe 16 ish tamales?

16-20 dried corn husks (find them in the hispanic section of your grocer)

Olive oil
1 sweet mayan onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, diced
1 pkg (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups) sliced crimini mushrooms
1 Tablespoon cumin
Sea salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
1 pkg organic baby spinach leaves

2 cups Maseca tamale mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups lukewarm vegetable broth
2/3 cup vegetable shortening

Daiya 'cheese'

In a large pot, heat some water to just boiling. You don't have to bring it to a complete boil. Add corn husks and soak until soft. Remove and place on a towel to soak up extra water.

In a saute pan, heat a little olive oil on medium/high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until just a bit soft. Add mushrooms and cook for another 3-5 minutes until mushrooms are soft.

Add cumin, salt and pepper to mix, stir lightly, turn heat down to low and add spinach. Stir to incorporate, cover and let cook for 2-3 minutes.

While your spinach is cooking, prepare your dough. Turn off stove when spinach is just barely limp.

In a medium bowl, beat shortening until smooth.

In another small bowl, combine maseca, baking powder and salt. Gradually add vegetable broth and mix with hands until just combined. Don't overwork it.

Gradually add maseca mixture to shortening until you have a smooth, spongy dough.

Now it's time to prepare the tamales.

To 'stuff'. Put a corn husk in the palm of your hand. Spread the maseca mix evenly across the inside of the husk, leaving one side without any spread, so you have space to fold it.

Put a little of your filling in the middle, top with a bit of Daiya 'cheese' and gradually fold the corn husk into itself, working the maseca dough from one side onto the other. Kind of like rolling sushi.

Fold the excess corn husk into itself, creating a lovely little package.

Place in or on a steamer. Repeat until all filling and/or dough is gone.

Pack your tamale pockets into a steamer and steam for 20-30 minutes. I used my bamboo steamer over top a large pot of water. You can use any sort of steamer.

After 20-30 minutes. Turn off steamer and let tamales sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

I plated the tamales and prepared a fresh green salad to go with it. For presentation, I served them in their husks with some simple salsa verde on the side.

These tamales are perfect comfort food; filling, flavorful and fun to make and eat.




  1. We made these yesterday and loved them! Thank you for sharing! I had given up on tamales after going vegan, and definitely thought they were too difficult to attempt, but this was fun, easy, and delicious!

  2. Kristen... I love it! I'm so glad you made them and that they were easy and delicious! Yay for you :) Great job!

  3. These sound wonderful and so easy! I am sharing these on pinterest.

  4. Hi Steve! I am so glad you liked them, and that you're sharing! We make these often; definitely a favorite :)



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