Easy vegan tamales that taste south-of-the-border but are good for you too! Whip up this simple masa recipe, and fill with one or both of the flavorful vegan tamale fillings shared here. You can cook them either in your instant pot or in a stove-top steamer.
Start by soaking the corn husks. Separate out about how many you’ll need (add a few extra to use for tearing into strips and tying around the tamales and a few more in case any tear accidentally) and soak them in tepid water for at least 30 minutes.
Vegan Taco Meat Tamale Filling
First whisk together the water and seasonings. Then add the TVP (textured vegetable protein). Mix well.
Set the vegan taco meat mixture aside to absorb the liquid and rest while you make the second filling or while you mix the masa.
Roasted Green Chile, Black Bean, and Corn Tamale Filling
Start by sautéing the onion, garlic, and corn in a little oil.
Saute for just a couple of minutes until the onions are softened and the corn are lightly browned.
Now add seasonings, roasted green chilis, black beans (drained & rinsed), and seasonings. Stir to combine and set aside.
Make the Masa
Measure out the masa corn flour and add the salt and baking powder. Whisk to combine.
Now add vegetable broth and oil, use a wooden spoon to combine.
Don’t be afraid to mix it thoroughly!!
Assemble the Tamales
Take one corn husk, lay it on a clean surface with the narrow end of the husk away from you. Using an ice cream, cookie scoop, or other ¼ cup measuring device, place a scant ¼ cup of masa at the wide end of the corn husk.
Using your wetted fingers, flatten the mound of masa to about ¼ in. thick. Avoid running the masa over the edge as it will grow during cooking and may spill out the open end of the tamale.
Now add 1-2 tablespoons of your chosen filling to the center of the tamale.
I like to add a bit of my shredded vegan cheddar cheese on top of the Roasted Chili filling.
Bring the two sides of the husk up so that the tamale almost meets in the center.
Then fold the left side of the corn husk over, followed by the right side, sort of like folding a letter to place it in an envelope.
Bring the narrow empty tail up and fold it flat against the tamale body. Use a piece of bakers twine or a strip of corn husk to secure the tamale closed.
Place 1 ½ cups of water and the steaming tray in the bottom of the Instant Pot (or your brand of electric pressure cooker). Cover the steamer tray with tamale husks if you are concerned that any tamales would slip through to the bottom of the pot. (If using a stovetop steamer, add as much water as you can to the bottom of the pot below the steamer tray without the water being able to touch the tamales.) Place your tamales on top of the steamer tray or basket and stand them with the open end up.
Steam tamales in the instant pot for 20 minutes on manual high pressure with the pressure relief valve closed. Allow natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then manually release pressure, and turn off the instant pot. Remove tamales and enjoy!If using stovetop steamer, cover pot with damp dishcloth and then the pot lid. Steam over medium heat for 1 hour, checking frequently to see if you need to add more water to the bottom of the pot! Careful!! You don’t want the pot to run out of water and burn!!
Pro cooking tip #1 – Dry your corn husks. Drain the water from the pot or dish your husks were soaking in. Stand the husks up vertically to continue draining or spread them out on the counter on towels to dry. If you’re in a hurry, use a clean dishtowel to pat each on dry before spreading the tamale dough on it. (If thPro-cooking tip #2 - When the tamales first come out of the pressure cooker/pot, they will look a bit soft – don’t worry!! Just a few minutes out of the pot, and they’ll be perfect, peeling away from the husk and ready for you to unwrap and eat!
CAN I FREEZE TAMALES?
Tamales will keep in the refrigerator for about five days. Freeze either individually wrapped in plastic or together in a larger plastic bag or air-tight container for up to three months.
HOW DO I RE-HEAT MY TAMALES?
Reheat your refrigerated tamales in a stove-top steamer (10 minutes), wrap in foil and reheat in the oven 325 degrees (10 minutes), or microwave (my favorite!) for 1-2 minutes covered with a damp paper towel. If you’re starting with frozen tamales you will need to add around 5 minutes extra to the stovetop and oven methods, and a couple more minutes to the microwave method.