If you love Mexican food, then these Vegan Green Corn Tamales are for you! These rich, spicy tamales are made with Hatch green chiles, fresh white corn, and masa harina.
These Vegan Green Corn Tamales are something that I have wanted to post since starting my blog almost two years ago.
So why the wait? For one reason, the corn is harvested late July to early October. My first year of blogging came after the season and last year we didn't make tamales.
There are many different varieties of tamales. Where I live I see two main kinds of tamales being made by the locals - red ones that are stuffed with meat which has been simmered in a red chili sauce, and green corn tamales.
Green corn tamales are made with cheese, freshly cut corn, lard, vegetable shortening, and masa harina (corn flour). There are also sweet tamales, but I have yet to try them.
When I was first introduced to green corn tamales many years ago, I knew that I had to veganize them. I love green chiles, especially when they are a spicy batch, so I knew that I would like them.
For my green corn tamales recipe I use vegan cream cheese because of its rich taste. I also use vegetable shortening.
I have seen recipes on the blogosphere using olive oil instead of vegetable shortening, but I learned from a long-time tamale maker that tamales don't fluff up the same way as when they are made with vegetable shortening.
These Vegan Green Corn Tamales are not a quick weeknight meal. They take time.
As I said in my notes below, once you grind your corn, you will want to finish the whole process. You can cut the corn, put it in the refrigerator, then grind it the next day and finish the rest of the process. That's what I did, and they worked out just fine.
I just had to include these cute little candies since they look like a small version of a tamal. They are tamarind flavored Mexican candy called tamalitos.
Other Mexican Inspired Recipes
- Black Bean and Corn Vegan Quesadilla
- Vegan Taquitos with Green Chiles
- Soy Chorizo and Tofu Breakfast Tacos
- Spinach, Tofu, and Pine Nut Enchiladas
- Bean and Mexican Cauliflower Rice Burritos
These spicy vegan tamales with green chiles are rich and comforting!
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You May Need
Vegan Green Corn Tamales (Tamales de Elote)
- Stand mixer or hand mixer
- Tall pot
- Vegetable steamer
- Husk the corn and save the leaves. Soak the leaves in water. Save the corn silk if you want to make tea.
- Cut the kernels off the cobs. Process in a food processor until finely ground (see photo above for consistency).*
- Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, mix together corn, vegan cream cheese, vegetable shortening, masa harina, and salt until mixed thoroughly.
- For each tamal, open the corn husk and spread about ¼ cup of the masa (the dough) on the widest part of the husk, an inch from the side (it will spread and spill out upon steaming). Using a fork, place a strip of Hatch green chili on top of the masa.
- Roll the husk tightly and fold over the small edge. Pinch it so that it stays shut. Tie a thin corn husk ribbon around tamal, if desired. Repeat until the dough is used up.
- In a tall pot, lay a few husks flat on the bottom*. This is to prevent burning your tamales in case the water gets too low. Place steamer on top of the leaves. Add water up to steamer. Place tamales in vertically. Steam on low heat for 45-50 minutes. Add warm water to the pot as needed. A water bottle works well for adding water. You will know the tamales are done because the masa creeps up to the ends of the tamales.
- To freeze them, wait until they are completely cool. Leave the tamales in their leaves. Place in a freezer bag and resteam or microwave before serving.
- Tamales should be made the same day that the corn is ground.
- You may need more or less masa harina depending on the consistency of your corn. If your corn is really wet, you will need more. Masa harina provides a fine consistency to mix in with the course consistency of the corn.
- Depending upon the spice level of your chiles, you may want more or less.
- One way to watch the water level of your pot is to place a coin under the steamer. If the water gets too low, you will be able to hear the coin rattling.
*Note: Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only. Different nutrition calculators give you different results.