Three Bean Tamale Pie with Sweet Potato Cornbread Topping
This post was sponsored by USA Pulses & Pulse Canada. All opinions expressed here are mine alone.
There’s nothing more comforting than the Tamale Pie! This is a hearty vegetarian recipe with a sweet potato cornbread topping, and it’s prepped in just 15 minutes!
Last week I was tiptoeing around fall a little bit with some great comfort food, but now that it’s officially fall I’m pulling out all the stops. I’ve been incorporating apples, pears, autumn squash, and even more sweet potatoes than usual into my recipes.
I grew up eating a dish like this Three Bean Tamale Pie with Sweet Potato Cornbread Topping. My mom normally made it using ground beef and topped it with her homemade cornbread, and it was always a favorite of mine.
If you’ve never had tamale pie, it’s basically a chili filling with cornbread baked right over the top. It doesn’t get much better than this meal for me!
This version of tamale pie is considerably different than the one I grew up on because I chose to make it vegetarian. I feel that this version is even heartier because it’s packed with (3) types of pulses –> black beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans.
Pulses are the delicious, protein-packed, sustainable foods known as dry peas, chickpeas, lentils, and beans, and I incorporate them into my meals several times a week.
There are so many benefits to using pulses. Not only are they nutritious, but they’re extremely versatile. They’re great in dips, salads, soups, pasta, and so much more!
If you’re looking to eat healthier, just add pulses! Sign up for the Half-Cup Habit and see how easy it can be to add 1/2 cup serving of pulses to your diet 3x per week.
This Three Bean Tamale Pie with Sweet Potato Cornbread Topping is extremely easy to make and family friendly. There’s only about 15 minutes of hands on prep, and you can make the filling completely ahead of time and even freeze it until you’re ready to make your tamale pie.
The filling is completely customizable too. You can sub the vegetables I’ve used and make it spicier by adding chipotle or more jalapeno.
Once the filling is made, it takes all of 5 minutes to make your cornbread topping. Spread it over the top of the filling in an even layer and bake it for 20-25 minutes.
Many cornbread recipes are on the dry side, but this recipe is so tender thanks to the sweet potato!
A few years ago I made Butternut Squash Cornbread Muffins and discovered what a difference a little puree makes when added to cornbread. These muffins are our favorite, and I knew sweet potato would be equally delicious.
Not only is this cornbread topping tender, but it has a mild sweetness from the sweet potato and a beautiful orange hue that makes it perfect for fall.
I garnished my tamale pie with plain Greek yogurt, jalapeno, and cilantro and thought it was perfect. How you top yours is completely up to you!
This Three Bean Tamale Pie with Sweet Potato Cornbread Topping is the ultimate fall comfort food and is a great way to add more nutritious pulses in your diet!
More vegetarian Mexican recipes you’ll love:
Black bean tacos by The Kitchn
For the filling:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
- 15 ounce can low sodium tomato sauce
- 15 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 15 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
For the cornbread topping:
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup low fat buttermilk
- 3/4 cup sweet potato puree*
- 1/3 canola oil
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
Additional garnishes (optional):
- Greek yogurt or sour cream, cilantro, and jalapeno
Prepare the filling:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute 5 minutes until softened.
- Add the garlic, spices and salt and saute for 1 minute longer.
- Add the bell pepper, jalapeno, and corn, and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomato, and beans and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes while you prepare the topping.
Prepare the cornbread topping:
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, beat the egg lightly. Add the buttermilk, canola oil, puree and maple syrup and whisk until combined. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir together until just incorporated.
- Pour the filling into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Top with the cornbread topping and spread in an even layer.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cornbread is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool for 10 minutes and serve with additional garnishes if desired. Enjoy!
- The filling may be made entirely in advance and even frozen.
- I've made this recipe using both fresh mashed sweet potato and canned sweet potato puree, and found the texture to be much more tender with the canned puree.
- The sweet potato puree may be substituted for pumpkin or butternut squash.
- Customize this meal with your favorite vegetables or make it spicier by adding more jalapeño or chipotle.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 408Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 953mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 12gSugar: 15gProtein: 15g