Tamale Pie with a Twist

February 04 00:00 2009 Print This Article

Add some spice to a cold day with this unique version of a Spanish classic, tamales. This spicy creation is easy to prepare and offers a wonderful mix of flavors and nutrition. Although a departure from the traditional tamale, this dish is sure to become a classic in your recipe book.

The Spanish tamale is a traditional Mexican food consisting of corn dough filled with meat, cheese or vegetables. Tamales were first developed as portable rations and they were as varied as the sandwich is today. Although usually wrapped in a corn husk (or sometimes plantain leaves), our version in encased in a whole-wheat piecrust.

A key ingredient in this week's recipe is the pinto bean. A medium-sized pale pink bean with reddish-brown streaks, its name actually translates to "painted" in Spanish. Like most legumes, pinto beans are rich in fiber. According to experts, foods containing dietary fiber probably play a role in combating colorectal cancer.

Adding lima beans provides additional fiber, texture and taste. Native to South America, this ancient legume is sometimes referred to as the aristocrat of beans. A member of the kidney bean family, lima beans are commonly available in large or baby lima beans. They contain potassium, folate and other disease-fighting nutrients.

Just the right combination of spices brings out the flavor of the dish, beginning with a touch of chili powder to add some heat, complimented by cumin, which imparts an earthy flavor. Oregano and cilantro round out the flavors.

Tamale Pie

Makes 6 servings.


  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 2 (15-oz.) cans unsalted pinto beans
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into ¾-inch chunks
  • 1 (14-oz.) can roasted and diced tomatoes with mild green chiles
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn
  • 1 cup frozen lima beans
  • 1 cup (medium hot) salsa
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 store bought refrigerated whole-wheat pie crust (8-9 inch)
  • 1 cup reduced-fat, shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray shallow 2 ½ quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. In 5-quart saucepan, stir together beans, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, lima beans, salsa and herbs. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Spoon into baking dish. Place rolled out piecrust on top.
  5. Bake about 25 minutes or until bubbly at the edges. Sprinkle with cheese and bake 3 additional minutes or until cheese is fully melted.
  6. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.

Per Serving:

380 calories
10 g total fat
2.5 g saturated fat
53 g carbohydrate
16 g protein
11 g dietary fiber
470 mg sodium

Source: AICR

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