Mini Tamale Pies...and they're light, too!

Are you like me?  Do you always have cans of beans and tomatoes in the pantry?

Well, get ready to use them in this quick, easy, LIGHT recipe...our entire family loved it!

You'll also need polenta.  But, you don't have to make it.  Look for it in a tube, like this...
...right in your produce section.  I used this green chile & cilantro version, but plain is fine, too.  you'll only use half of this tube.
{Side note: polenta slices cooked up in a little oil topped with sour cream and pico?  Yummy and quick lunch.}

*mini* Tamale Pies
 {serves 4, adapted from Everyday Food Light}

vegetable oil
1 bunch green onions, sliced, green & white parts separated
2 garlic cloves, minced
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 (15 oz) can pinto beans  (rinsed and drained)
1 (15 oz) can black beans (rinsed and drained)
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup water
1/2 (16 oz) tube green chile & cilantro polenta, sliced into 4 rounds (plain is fine, too)
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
1/4 tsp. Tabasco
3/4 cup grated Pepper Jack cheese
pico de gallo
sour cream
tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 400.

Brush four 10-12 ounce oven-proof ramekins with oil.  Place on a cookie sheet and set aside.

Heat a little oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the  white parts of the green onions and the garlic along with some coarse salt and black pepper.  Cook, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add the pinto and black beans.  Add about 3/4 of the can of tomatoes (reserve the rest for another use).  Add the water.  Stir and bring to a boil.  Mash about 1/4 of the mixture while in the pan.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place one polenta slice in each ramekin. 

Remove the bean mixture from the heat and stir in the green parts of the green onions (reserve a bit for garnish), cilantro and Tabasco.  Season with salt and pepper, then taste to check seasonings.  Add more as needed.

Spoon the bean and tomato mixture on top of the polenta.  Top each with the cheese.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bubbly.  Let the ramekins sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with pico de gallo, sour cream, Tabasco, more cilantro and tortilla chips.
Don't you just want to dig right in??!?


  1. Yes actually, I would like to dig right in! These look wonderful Bridget. Very appetizing photographs.

  2. I want to reach through the screen and take one!

  3. What a nice spin on the traditional tamale. And I absolutely love making ramekin portion-sized foods. Can't wait to try these :)

  4. We loved this recipe and actually had it as a main meal without the chips and increased the serving size and layered polenta, mixture, polenta, mixture and topped with cheese. Just the right amount of spice for us; but it may not be liked by small children because of it.



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