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Tempeh Tamale Pie (ever-so-slightly adapted from Peas and Thank You)

A great chef once said, “This is so good you will die. And then you will be sad because dead people can’t go back for seconds. Or the whole pan.” That chef is Mama Pea. She is brilliant not only with words, but with food. Amazingly delicious veggie food.

Thanks to a reader, Mama Pea crafted her own style of Shepherd’s Pie, with a Mexican flair: Tempeh Tamale Pie. Delicioso! I’ve had some tempeh in the fridge for quite some time and decided to put it to use tonight in this most savory, flavorful vegetarian Mexican treat. I’ve already had a huge piece and just thinking about it, I’m salivating.

I slightly adapted Mama Pea’s recipe based on what I had:

Tempeh Tamale Pie
Serves 6-8


  • 1 medium onion or 1/2 of a large onion, roughly chopped
  • One 8 oz. package tempeh, grated
  • 2 t. minced garlic
  • 2 t. chili powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 2 t. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 t. maple syrup
  • One 8 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • One 15 oz. can chili beans (pinto beans in chili sauce), drained


  • 2/3 c. cornmeal
  • 1/3 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 T. maple syrup
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1/3 c. cheddar cheese (leave out to make this vegan)

In a medium bowl, combine garlic, chili powder, 1/2 t. salt, vinegar, 1 t. maple syrup and crushed tomatoes. Let this sit to co-mingle the flavors while you place a large skillet over medium high heat and spritz with cooking spray or oil. Add onion and sauté until softened and starting to brown, about 4 or 5 minutes.

Add the grated tempeh into the pan with the sautéed onion. Lightly brown tempeh, cooking for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the sauce and beans mixing with the tempeh and onions.

Let the filling stay on the heat for 4 minutes to, again, co-mingle all the flavors, occasionally stirring. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. In a liquid measuring cup, combine milk, maple syrup and oil. Add wet ingredients to the cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in corn.

Spread corn mixture carefully and evenly over the top of casserole dish. Top the casserole with shredded cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese has melted and crust is starting to brown.

Let cool, then devour!


So, so, so, so good! SO GOOD! Who wants to invite me over to cook for them? Thanks Mama Pea!