Quinoa Tamale Bake - hearty vegan casserole, a delicious take on a classic.

Quinoa Tamale Bake

A hearty vegan casserole with delicious Tex-Mex flavours.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 or more
Cheryl (Eat What You Sow) Cheryl (Eat What You Sow)



  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup quinoa (dry, uncooked)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp plus one tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp plus one tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp plus one tsp mild chili powder
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp Bragg's liquid aminos (or other soy sauce)
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (or one 15 oz can, drained and rinsed)
  • 750 ml diced or crushed canned tomatoes/sauce (or 28 oz can)
  • salt and black pepper, to taste

Cornbread Topping

  • 1 cup cornmeal (white or yellow) - finely ground
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar (or less, or omit)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground chia (can use other egg replacers, though I think flax might be too strong a flavour)
  • 3 tbsp water (for mixing with chia) (or use 3 tbsp of aquafaba in place of chia/water mixture - see note)
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted vegan butter


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Heat a large pan over medium heat, add olive oil. Add the onion and saute until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the quinoa, and stir to distribute evenly. Add the stock, give it a good stir, and let the mixture come to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 15 minutes. 

  3. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the ingredients for the cornbread topping. 

    Stir the ground chia into the water. Set aside. Measure dry ingredients into a medium bowl, stir to combine. When chia has thickened, mix with the rest of the wet ingredients. Set aside until after the next step.

  4. When the quinoa mixture is done, add the seasonings, corn, black beans, tomatoes, nutritional yeast, and Bragg's. Bring back up to a simmer, and let it bubble away for a few minutes over medium low heat to let the flavours combine. Taste for seasoning, adding salt, pepper, or spices if needed.

  5. While the filling is simmering, finish making the topping. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and stir just until combined.

  6. Spoon quinoa filling into a 9 x 13 pan; spread it out so you have a level surface. Pour the cornbread batter on top, and spread evenly.

  7. Bake in preheated oven for 20 - 25 minutes, or until tester comes out clean, and cornbread is lightly golden.

  8. Serve with guacamole or mashed avocado, cilantro, and hot sauce (we like Valentina). 

Recipe Notes

Aquafaba is the water that is usually discarded from a can of beans (or bean cooking water). It is an excellent egg substitute. If using canned beans in this recipe, feel free to replace the chia and water in the cornbread portion with 3 tablespoons of the water from your canned beans (is using black beans, this might change the colour of your topping slightly, but not the flavour).