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Vegetarian tamale pie on plate with sour cream and jalapeno

Three Bean Tamale Pie with Sweet Potato Cornbread Topping

There's nothing more comforting than the Tamale Pie!  This hearty vegetarian recipe is topped with a sweet potato cornbread topping for a memorable dinner!

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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 ounces ow sodium tomato sauce
  • 15 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 15 ounces black beans rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounces kidney beans rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounces 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.


Serving: 1g, Calories: 408kcal, Carbohydrates: 74g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 953mg, Fiber: 12g, Sugar: 15g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

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