Mexican VegBeef Tamales

20141212-12 Beef Tamales 5849-Edit

I love tamales, and wish vegetarian versions were more commonly available.  Below is Tyler Florence’s recipe adapted for our vegetarian diet.  Takes a while to make, but is totally worth it.  Has that perfect blend of chilies, vegetarian beef, and sweet corn.  This version is very mild, with just a touch of heat.


  • 1 bag dried corn husks, about 24

Meat Filling:

  • 14 Morningstar Original Vegetarian Sausage Patties
  • 1 onion, peeled and copped
  • 2 T garlic, minced
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t pepper

Chili Sauce:

  • 2 oz dried California chilies (about 5 chilies)
  • 1 oz dried ancho chilies (about 2 chilies)
  • 1 oz dried pasilla chilies (about 3 chilies)
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 T cumin seed, toasted
  • 1 Knorr vegetarian bouillon cube
  • ½ T salt

Masa Shell:

  • 2¼ c masa mix
  • ½ T baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 t sugar
  • 2 cups veggie broth (1 Knorr vegetarian bouillon cubes dissolved in 2 c of boiling water)
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening


Prepare the ingredients as described in the ingredients list.

Corn husks:  Go through the dried cornhusks, separate them and discard the silk, be careful since the husks are fragile when dry. Soak them in a sink filled with warm water for 30 minutes to soften.  Rinse, drain, and dry the corn husks and set aside.

Meat filing:  Toast the veggie sausage patties in the oven for 14 minutes on 400°F. Pulse the toasted patties a food processor (or chop manually) to a ground beef consistency.  Heat 1 T cooking oil in a large saute pan on medium high heat.  Add the chopped onions, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.  Stir fry until translucent, about 2 minutes.  Add the ground patties and continue cooking for 3 minutes.

Chili Sauce:  Remove the tops of the dried chilies and remove the seeds. Place the chilies in a large stockpot and cover them with just enough water to coat. Add the chopped onion, cumin, and Knorr bouillon. Stir until the bouillon is dissolved.  Boil for 20 minutes until the chiles are very soft. Strain the chiles/onions and put into a blender, adding a ladle full of the chili water. Puree the chiles until smooth. Pour the chili sauce into a large bowl and add salt, stir to incorporate.

Add the meat filing to the bowl of chili sauce, and mix thoroughly.

Masa shell:  In a large bowl, combine the masa, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Pour the broth into the masa a little at a time, stirring well. In a small bowl, beat the vegetable shortening until fluffy. Add it to the masa and beat until the dough has a spongy texture.

Constructing the tamales:  Lay a husk flat on a plate or in your hand with the smooth side up and the narrow end facing you. Spread a thin, even layer of masa over the surface of the husk with a tablespoon dipped in water. Add about a tablespoon of the meat filling in the center of the masa. Fold the narrow end up to the center then fold both sides together to enclose the filling. The sticky masa will form a seal. Pinch the wide top closed.

Stand the tamales up in a large steamer or colander with the pinched end up. Load the steamer into a large pot filled with 2-inches of water. The water should not touch the tamales. Cover with lid and keep the water at a low boil, checking periodically to make sure the water doesn’t boil away. Steam the tamales for 2 hours.

The tamales are done when the inside pulls away from the husk. The tamale should be soft, firm and not mushy.


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