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overhead shot of a bowl of tamale pie and the tamale pie in a cast iron skillet off to the side

Black Bean Tamale Pie with Sweet Potato + Corn

  • Author: Allison
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


A vegetarian black bean tamale pie with sweet potato and corn is bursting with southwestern flavours, not to mention colour and nutrients. It’s the perfect meal to enjoy in the cooler months of the year.



Black Bean and Sweet Potato Base

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 cup corn kernels (thawed if frozen)
  • 3 cups cooked black beans (or 2 14-oz cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 3 heaping cups peeled, cubed sweet potato (1/2-inch dice- from ~2 medium sweet potatoes)
  • 2 1/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 heaping cup grated cheddar cheese

Cornbread Topping

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons light spelt or all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (thawed if frozen)
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

For serving

  • Diced avocado
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream


  1. Prepare the base: Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. (If you use a cast iron skillet or other oven-proof skillet, all the better, as you’ll be able to transfer the skillet right into the oven when you bake the tamale pie.) Once the oil is warm, add the onion, garlic, and a small pinch of salt to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes, before adding the red pepper, the 1/2 teaspoon of salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste, cumin, coriander, and chili flakes. Cook for a couple more minutes , until the peppers to soften.
  2. Stir in the corn, black beans, and sweet potato, followed by the vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes have softened and are fork-tender, about 20 minutes or so.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Prepare the cornbread topping: Combine the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar together in a small dish to ‘curdle.’ In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and add the ‘curdled’ milk and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Fold in the corn, red pepper, and cilantro.
  6. Assemble the tamale pie: Sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese over the bean and vegetable mixture in the skillet. Pour the cornbread batter over top, using the back of a spoon or a spatula to spread it out into an even layer that covers the entire top of the dish. Alternatively, if not using an ovenproof skillet, transfer the bean and vegetable mixture into a casserole dish, sprinkle with the cheese, and top with the cornbread batter.
  7. Transfer into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.


Cornbread topping and recipe concept lightly adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates cookbook.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: Southwestern

Keywords: vegetarian black bean tamale pie with sweet potato