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Copycat Amy’s Mexican Tamale Pies

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They are almost too cute to eat.

Copycat Amy's Mexican Tamale Pies- easy to make, and completely meat-free!

Almost, but not quite.

And when you see how easy these little pies are to prepare, you might give up buying frozen meals for good.

They take just THREE simple steps, the first of which is to simply throw a bunch of cans into a pot and wait. Not much harder than microwaving a frozen meal, is it?

vegan mexican tamale pie

The perfect comfort food for a chilly Fall night.

Copycat Amy's Mexican Tamale Pies. Meatless and easy to make.

Katie’s Mexican Tamale Pies

(makes 4-5 pies)

  • 1 can (15oz) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into tiny pieces (optional)
  • 1 can (15oz) corn, drained (or 1 3/4 cup fresh or frozen)
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp each: onion and garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • optional: hot sauce or red pepper flakes (for a spicier version)
  • for the topping: 1 cup cornmeal, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 cups water, and optional 2 tsp oil. Or you could probably just use instant polenta and slice it on top.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a small pot and cook on low-medium for 40 minutes, stirring very occasionally as it bubbles. (If you prefer, you can even make this in a crockpot!) Meanwhile, if using the homemade polenta topping, combine all other ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. As soon as it starts to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and stir constantly until it thickens. Preheat the oven to 350 F and portion the bean mixture into oven-proof dishes or aluminum pans (as shown in the picture directly below these instructions). Top with polenta, smooth the tops, and bake 45 minutes. I also set the oven to “broil” for a few minutes at the end, to achieve more of a crust on top. You can either eat in the dish, or go around the sides and pop the pies out. (Note: if you sub fresh corn and/or unsalted tomatoes, you’ll probably want to add a little extra salt.)

View Tamale Pie Nutrition Facts

Mexican Tamale Pies

Above, before being covered with the cornmeal topping.

tamale pie

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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. Sarah the official CCK drooler @RomneyRyan2012 says:

    Hey, I aint vegan but that sure looks good to me- especially since I’m freezing right now (and yawning after English)
    I’m making it. For lunch!!! TODAY!!! be back with results before you can take a mid term English exam. (and if you’re me that’ll take a while 🙂 )

  2. Andie says:

    Aww! They are so cute! But they look equally as delicious so I’m DEFINITELY making them! 🙂 I love how all of your recipes don’t require obscure ingredients…I’m pretty sure I have all of this in my pantry! Thanks Katie! Right now, frozen meals pretty much save me..I am so busy right now with school and my whole family are carnivores. (But i’m trying to convert them w/ delicious recipes from this blog!)

  3. Heather says:

    When I make my version of this I always throw some chipotle in with the polenta. Also delicious with black beans. Yum!

  4. Jill Paxson says:

    Thank you! Now I know what to make for dinner! Also looking forward to more of that sweet potato chili this fall!

  5. Skylar says:

    OMGosh Katie!!! I love love LOVE your copycat recipes!! Thank you so much for posting this! I will probably make it in my kitchen today 🙂 And as for your question, I do buy frozen meals– I think they are delish. Amy’s burritos, tamales, and vegetable samosa wraps, vegan kung poa chicken and dumplings… I’m addicted to it all. I especially like to raid the sections of Whole Foods and Mrs. Greens dedicated to other vegan comfort foods. Although now, with your YUMMY RECIPES, I won’t need to :). I’m 100000000% grateful for your blog (and so is my wallet!!). Keep up the good work and I’ll be sure to spread the word about your amazing cooking skills!!!!!

  6. The only thing that I buy frozen is fruit! Walmart’s Great Value brand of raspberries and blueberries is seriously the best. My favorite childhood frozen meals were Kid Cuisines. Remember those? Also frozen pizzas were pretty spectacular 🙂

  7. Samantha D. says:

    Hey Katie, this looks delicious, can’t wait to try make it for the boyfriend and I! And, I think there might be an issue with the site, I’m not longer receiving updates by email! Think I should try and sign up again? I know I haven’t unsubscribed..
    Just thought Id let ya know!

    1. That’s weird! So you’re not getting them at all? Did you get the Greek Yogurt Cheesecake one? Today’s probably won’t go out until tomorrow, so you didn’t miss it!

  8. I’ll have to omit the zucchini but I’ll definitely be making these! I teach night classes so my dinners Monday-Wednesday are usually steamed veggie and something frozen (egg rolls usually). Can’t wait to change things up a bit!

  9. Heather G says:

    Great recipe! I am super busy today but I know I can make this very quickly. I am going to use a boxed cornbread mix for the top, prepackaged chili bean seasoning, and whatever tomatoes I have in the cabinet. I’ll probably make it as one big pie. I’m so excited!

  10. Emilia says:

    I’m usually not a fan of mexican-y, south western-y flavors, but these look great. I’m not usually a microwave meal fan, except when it comes to amy’s. Definitely going to try them soon!

  11. alyssa booko says:

    looks great katie

  12. Where can I buy the little tins? any idea?

    1. Most grocery stores, in the baking aisle.

      1. Jenny says:

        Hi Katie – by chance, do you know what size your little pans were? If I make that mixture up, I would like to be able to portion it the same way you did here, so whatever measurements your tins were, I’d love to know. Thanks!

      2. Caroline says:

        I’ve been to a couple grocery stores & can’t find them! Weird. They only have the larger pie sizes.

  13. These look adorable!! I used to buy frozen meals but I found myself rarely eating them so I stopped buying them.

  14. bree ltc says:

    Rogue tomato! Rogue tomato alert! This recipe looks fantastic and I can’t wait to try it. And that tomato wants a piece!

  15. Frozen dinners have saved me in a pinch. But then I realized–why not make my *own* frozen dinners? So I have, in the past, bought containers that make dinners more portable & easy to store in the freezer (much like having the feel of a frozen dinner, but without the cost). Has saved a ton of money, & makes life a bit easier to have meals ready to go (other than heating up).

    That said, nothing like a fresh salad (which can’t be frozen). If I can add a few fresh ingredients as a garnish or side, to compliment a frozen dinner, I won’t complain 🙂

  16. just sayin' says:

    Hi there, I’m new to your blog and I think it’s wonderful what you do, your desserts look amazing but I have yet to try your recipes…I’m not into single servings with a family of 4. Your tamale pie caught my eye and I have to say I’m disappointed in your choice of using single use foil baking pans for this dish. Yes, you’re promoting better health for your followers, whom I hope are continually inspired by your recipes but you are losing something when you don’t consider the implications on the environment when promoting the use of disposable cookware. Perhaps next time you could lead by example and encourage your followers to use muffin tins, small casserole dishes, ramekins, or making it in a large casserole dish and portioning/freezing in individual reusable containers so not to waste the lovely casserole as well as considering the impact of sending the one time use dishes to our overflowing landfills.

    1. Hi just sayin,

      I actually re-use my tin foil pans many times over. They are easy to clean, and there’s no need to throw them away after one use. 🙂 The environment–and doing my part to protect it as much as possible–is very important to me.

      All that being said, I also wrote into the recipe that one could use any oven-safe dish.

    2. Krista says:

      The use of the little tins is fantastic as a way to have a freezer meal ready to go to a sick friend or an elderly neighbor. Takes the pressure off of them to have to return your dish. Thanks for posting this idea, Katie!

    3. Melissa says:

      And, the tin dishes can be recycled, so, once you are done using them many times over, you can recycle them! 🙂

  17. sam says:

    OMG. i cant even get over this. okay i know this may sound weird but you are truly my inspiration katie! im 17 years old and a senior in highschool. im devoted to living a happy, healthy lifestye and am currently searching for a college with a nutrition undergraduates program. im not going to lie or hide it, but i am struggling on my journey of recovery from annorexia and it is a constant fear of mine that without the gym and with increased calories i will someday lose all control and become fat. However, every time i see your blog and see how you create amazing, healthy recipes that can sometimes contain calorie dense items, it gives me hope that i can get better. Eating healthy isnt defined by low calorie but by nutrient density and nutritional benefits. its about fueling your body properly and listening to your bodys signals. i want to have an active/healthy lifestyle and i know that i must fuel my body properly in order to pursue this dream. i want to discover health and be as sucessful as you are. thankyou for everything katie.

    1. Aw Sam, good luck. I think just the fact that you WANT to get healthy shows that you WILL. Just think about the food nourishing your body. Think about exactly what the calories are doing– providing energy to your cells and your skin and your hair and your brain and heart.


    2. Emma says:

      I’m currently living with the disorder and you’re really inspirational. Please tell me, does the mindset ever truly go away, do you think?

  18. Kerry says:

    This looks delicious! I occasionally buy some frozen meals, but they can be expensive, so I don’t get them very often. One of my favorites is Amy’s tamale pie. I’m so excited to be able to make my own now! I might even make extra to keep in the freezer for nights when I don’t feel like cooking.

  19. I buy them here and there. I like Amy’s or Kashi, but only use them when I’m in a super hurry or have nothing else in my house to eat. These look delish and my kids would love that they each get their own individual pie.

  20. Renata says:

    Katie, I eat these EVERYDAY for lunch and I was just thinking to myself…Geez, I wish I could make these at home, it would be SO MUCH CHEAPER! Thank you so much, you just made my month!

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