Tamale Casserole

This recipe originally called for ground beef and whole milk, so here’s a healthier vegetarian version that’s still gluten-free and soy-free. You could use lentils in place of the beans, depending on what you have on hand. It’s a pretty flexible recipe, so have fun with it!

[GF] This recipe is gluten-free.


  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans, drained, rinsed and mashed
  • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (8 oz.) corn, drained
  • 2/3 can (15 oz. can) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (6 oz.) sliced olives, drained
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese


  • Large skillet
  • 8×8 glass casserole dish
  • Aluminum foil
  • Food processor or Slap-Chop is very helpful but not required


  1. Saute onion, garlic, and green pepper in olive oil for a few minutes until softened.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Add mashed kidney beans and stir over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add tomato sauce, corn, and olives. Stir to mix.
  5. Add milk and stir for a few minutes until heated evenly.
  6. Add cornmeal, salt, and chili powder. Stir for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Grease 8×8 glass casserole dish. Pour in the skillet mixture.
  8. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  9. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes.
  10. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the top of the casserole, then bake 5 more minutes.


Adapted from “Tamale Casserole” in The Gluten-free Gourmet: Revised Edition, by Bette Hagman, page 276.