Thursday, January 16, 2014

On My Hearth: Black Bean Tamale Pie

I know, I post a lot of Mexican-inspired recipes. I can't help it, I love spicy food, and what better way to doctor up plain ol' rice & beans than by adding a little kick?! This recipe is featuring another item I have in abundance: black beans, or frijoles negros if you're from my neck of the woods. I love beans of any kind, but am partial to the black ones.  I buy the dried beans in bulk, store in giant glass containers, and then when I have a craving for them, I rinse, soak for a while (at least 6 hours or overnight, this aids in digestion) and then cook in my electric pressure cooker.  I keep the leftover cooked beans in the refrigerator, ready for a quick meal or recipe

Black Beans & Instant Pot photo 20140115_073749_zpssjrrgjyc-1.jpg

This dish comes from Nutrition MD, originally published in Foods That Fight Pain by Neal Barnard, M.D. Once again, no photo of the finished product but, honestly, you're not missing much. Yummy as this was, it wasn't photogenic.

Black Bean Tamale Pie

  • 3/4 cup water, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 2 15-ounce can black beans, undrained (I use dried beans, soaked & cooked in the pressure cooker)
  • 1 4-ounce can diced green chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup soy- or rice milk
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1.  In a large skillet or pot, heat 1/2 cup water. Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Cook over high heat, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until all the water has evaporated. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup water, scraping the pan to remove any stuck bits of onion. Add crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce, beans and their liquid, chilies, and cumin. Stir to mix. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

2.  Preheat oven to 350°F.

3.  In a medium bowl, combine the non-dairy milk, vinegar, and oil. In a small bowl, mix cornmeal, salt, and baking soda. Add cornmeal mixture to non-dairy milk mixture. Stir to mix completely (it will be quite stiff and crumbly).

4.  Transfer bean mixture to a 9"×9" baking dish, then spread cornmeal mixture evenly over the top. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the crust is set and the bean mixture is hot and bubbly.

Source: Nutrition MD

Makes 8 servings

Per serving: Calories: 203; Fat: 2.8 g; Saturated Fat: 0.4 g; Calories from Fat: 12.4%; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Protein: 8.5 g; Carbohydrates: 36.6 g; Sugar: 2.5 g; Fiber: 9.1 g; Sodium: 516 mg; Calcium: 86 mg; Iron: 3.1 mg; Vitamin C: 14.4 mg; Beta Carotene: 53 mcg; Vitamin E: 0.8 mg

The Verdict: VeganGypsy Says: Very good, but the cornbread topping is a bit dry. I'd top w/some salsa next time.  

OmniHunny Says: Tastes just like a tamale! Sour cream would be good.

In other news, I am pleased to report that I'm down 3 pounds since going back to Weight Watchers, losing about 1.5 pounds per week, very healthy I think. I really think the Simply Filling plan is responsible; I feel more satisfied, and even though I'm (mostly) eating from a limited food list, I feel less restricted. If I find myself hungry in the afternoon, I'll have some brown rice & beans which are always present in my refrigerator. I am jokingly calling this the "potato diet" because I'm eating a lot of them! Roasted potatoes (with 1 tsp of olive oil) every day for breakfast, baked potatoes with veggies for lunches &dinner, etc. I feel like what Dr. McDougall calls a "Starchivore!" Though I am eating my share of carbs, I'm focusing on the whole-grain, brown variety. What I have not been eating (much): white flour. 

Yes, I've said it before and I still believe it to be true - for me, bread, at least the fluffy white variety, does evil things to my body! When I remove it from my diet, I lose weight, no longer feel bloated, and don't have the crazy food cravings. The only "bread" I've had this week is whole grain Sandwich and/or Bagel Thins a couple of days, and Ezekiel Sprouted grain. No fluffy Italian bread, no giant bagels, no white pasta. It's been much easier than I thought, and the number on the scale is proof that it works!

Off to scour the fridge for tonight's dinner, hope you're having a great day!


  1. I've made this recipe before and also really liked it. Yes, it does need salsa on top :) When I first joined WW, the first thing I gave up was the color white: flour, sugar, milk, etc... I swear the weight just fell off! You are doing wonderful and I'm so proud of you!

    1. Thank , Laura! You've been such an inspiration! :)

  2. And weight loss aside, I think we could all benefit from eating less refined grains, refined sugars, etc. Try to stick with whole grains as much as possible, and wheat in general is low on my "go to" list these days. Seems healthier for the whole family!

    1. Aisling, I totally agree! My problem is, the white stuff is not only less healthy, but it's also a trigger food. One hunk of Italian bread just won't do, you know?

  3. What's your take on oil? McDougall seems to be against it while Weight Watchers requires some oil (afaik).

    1. Ines, great question; I am somewhere in the middle. I use a minimal amount of oil, 1 to 2 tsp per day at the most. This is the amount suggested by the Simply Filling plan so it works for me. There are many days when I do not use any oil at all, depends on what recipes I am making. I love McDougall and think his plan is perfect especially if one is worried about cholesterol, but I myself do not have that issue at this point so a tiny bit of olive oil can be ok in my diet, I think.