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Vegan Tamales

White (or other) Bean-Filled Tamales

Making tamales is a labor of love but if you love them like I do, you will find it worth it. I believe that your skill will improve the more that you make them. (I am sure, though, that I do not have tamales in my genes and that there are many people who can do a better job with them than I do.)
Servings 12 tamales


Bean Filling

  • 1 ½ cups beans soaked and drained
  • 1 - 3 inch piece of kombu seaweed
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mild chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon hot chili powder or more regular chili powder
  • One half to whole 4-ounce can of roasted green chilies if you only use half, freeze the other half for the next batch of tamale filling
  • Diced onion and garlic optional
  • ¾ cup liquid such as water


  • 2 cups organic corn masa harina must be labeled masa not cornmeal or corn flour of any kind
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth or water mixed with 1 teaspoon chicken broth powder heated or good vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening or oil such as sunflower or grapeseed oil
  • Salsa for each tamale if you want it
  • 12 Corn Husks


Bean Filling

  • Combine all ingredients in your pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes.
  • Let the pressure release naturally.
  • If you didn’t add onion or garlic, now add 1 to 2 teaspoons dried or dehydrated onion and garlic.
  • Stir in and let sit for at least 5 minutes.


  • In a large bowl, mix the masa, baking powder and salt.
  • Combine the warm water with the shortening or oil.
  • Pour into the masa and mix with a fork (or anything you like) to get it combined.
  • The dough should not be sticky nor too dry. It should not stick to your hands. If it does, add more masa. If it seems too dry, add a bit more liquid.  Mine was a bit sticky at first but I let it sit 10 minutes and it was perfect to form into balls of about ¼ to 1/3 cup each.

To Assemble

  • Gather your soaked corn husks. (Soak them for at least and hour while the beans are cooking.)
  • Drain the corn husks, one at a time. Have your filling nearby. Put the corn husk down with the pointier end toward you and the wide end up. Starting about half-way up the husk, flatten out your ball of masa into a rectangle with the narrower part at the top and bottom. (most likely 2 inches by 4 to 5 inches although not being an engineer, I didn’t measure. I barely eyeballed it.)
  • Take about 2 tablespoons of filling and place it neatly in the middle of your rectangle. (this is where things get interesting)
  • Add one half to 1 teaspoon salsa down the middle, if desired.
  • Fold over one side of the husk to envelop the filling. Then fold over the other side until you have a sealed husk. Tear one of the not-so-good husks into long strips. Fold up the pointy end of the husk and then tie it with a strip of husk. Put into a steamer basket in your pressure cooker which is over 1 ½ cups of water. (The Mealthy comes with a steamer basket but it needs to be elevated off the bottom of the cooker.)
  • Repeat with the remaining dough and filling and salsa.

To Steam

  • When you have used all your ingredients. Set your pressure cooker for 25 minutes and let the tamales steam. When time is up, let the pressure come down naturally. Open the lid carefully, tilting it away from you. Carefully remove the hot tamales. Let them cool for a few minutes before removing the husk and eating.


Note: These freeze well but let them cool before freezing. You can cook them from frozen in the pressure cooker on steam for 10 minutes.