Dairy Free,  Gluten Free,  Main Course,  Recipe,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

“Cheesy” Polenta Covered Mexican Tamale Pie (Vegan+GF)

I think there will always be something a little bit comical about Mexican food to me.

Years ago when I first started blogging I was still living in the southern part of Chile with my family. I’ll never forget my assumptions of what it would be like before I’d ever been there. You see, me being a naive North American I just assumed everything south of Texas would be the land of great Mexican food. Well, news flash to me, it’s not.

In fact, the area we were living in had way more European style cuisine than just about anything else. However the Chileans, of course, have their own style of cooking. It’s simple and uses a lot of local ingredients which is something I always appreciated. That being said, my own family really loves Mexican food and that meant it was something I learned to make really well. Okay, maybe I should say “my own takes on classic Mexican food”. I’m sure many abuelas would be turning over in their graves if I tried to pass of this cheater version of a tamale as authentic so we won’t even go there.

Haha, well you know how much I love an easy meal and that’s why this has become a really great go-to for a last minute meal. Everyone loves the simple ingredients and it makes for a cozy dinner anytime of year. I’m definitely thinking Fall right now though, and this is perfect for chilly weather.

As I always do with my recipes, I really encourage you to put your own spin on it and make it your own. Let me know how you like it and tag me in a photo if you want, I love seeing them!

"Cheesy" Polenta Covered Mexican Tamale Pie (Vegan+GF)

Looking for a quicker way to enjoy this classic Latin dish? This tamale pie comes together quickly and easily and is a tested crowd-pleaser

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 - 8 servings



  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can corn, drained
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 (4 oz) can green chiles
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin


  • 1 (18 oz) package pre-cooked polenta I used Trader Joe's
  • 1 cup unflavored plant-based milk I used almond
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

For Serving:

  • additional cilantro
  • non-dairy yogurt or "sour cream"
  • guacamole


  1. Cut the polenta into pieces and set aside. Pour the broth and milk into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and slowly whisk in the polenta. Cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is soft and thick, about 15 to 20 minutes. (At first the pieces will hold their shape but after a few minutes they should start to loosen up). Stir in the nutritional yeast then season with salt and pepper. If the polenta seems a little thick you can add extra milk.

  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium non-stick pan, cook garlic and onion in just enough water to keep them from sticking. Stir occasionally until translucent. Combine the remaining ingredients for the filling in the pan and stir to mix evenly.

  3. Once the polenta and filling are done you can choose to either bake the pie in individual serving ramekins (pictured), in a large cast iron skillet, or in a casserole dish. Pour the filling into your chosen dish(es) and smooth out polenta into a single layer on top. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pie is bubbling and the polenta is browning. Allow to sit 5 to 10 minutes and then serve with fresh cilantro and any desired sauces or toppings. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.