These vegan Tamale-Inspired Bowls are a quick and easy dish, ready in less than 30 minutes, but they bring home the flavors of a bowl of tamale pie. The filling contains black beans, pinto beans, fire-roasted tomatoes, chilies, and vegan cheese. For ease and simplicity, this recipe utilizes pre-cooked polenta rolls or logs, available at most supermarkets. Choose polenta that is organic.

Tamale Bowls [Vegan, Gluten-Free]



  • 1 pre-cooked polenta roll, cut into 8 slices
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (4-ounce) can mild green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes, lightly drained
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups vegan pepperjack-style cheese
  • 4 scallions, minced
  • 2 fresno or 1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro
  • Fresh salsa, for serving


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the polenta slices until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic and cook until golden, about 30 seconds. Stir in the green chilies and cumin. Cook for 2 minutes, or until most the liquid from the chilies evaporates.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, beans and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the flavors meld, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese, scallions, peppers and cilantro. Stir until the cheese melts, about 3 minutes.
  4. Using 4 (2-cup) baking dishes or ramekins, place 2 polenta slices into each cup. Divide the bean mixture equally among the containers and serve the bowls with salsa fresca.