Tamale Pie
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Tamale Pie

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Servings: 8


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 scant tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for salting onions
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed or finely diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup quinoa cooked (about 3 cups once cooked)
  • 1 can black beans drained
  • 1 can pinto beans drained
  • Sour cream for serving optional

For the topping:

  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cup finely ground cornmeal
  • 1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • 2 scallions chopped
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ¼ cup buttermilk or whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 tablespoon pure maple syrup or honey


For the filling:

  • If you haven’t cooked the quinoa yet, begin by doing that, then set aside and proceed with the recipe (you can cook the quinoa a day ahead).
  • Preheat the oven to 375. Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and a pinch of salt and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and all of the spices (oregano, allspice, chili, salt and cocoa), and cook another 1-2 minutes, adjusting the heat if the garlic looks like it is going to burn.
  • Pour in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 10-15 minutes. If it is splattering adjust the heat, or partially cover with a lid.
  • Add the beans and cooked quinoa. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, which it will likely need. Pour into a casserole dish, I like a deep 9 x 13 dish, and set aside while you make the topping.

For the topping:

  • In a bowl combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt and stir with a whisk to combine. In a separate bowl mix the eggs, milk, butter, and maple and stir to combine well. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Fold in the grated cheese and scallions.
  • Dollop the topping over the filling evenly and using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread it out evenly over top. Place in the preheated oven and bake until the top is set, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm, with sour cream if desired.