A while back, I made an argument for taking back the microwave, and I stand by that argument. While not appropriate for cooking most dishes, it can be really effective in the throwing together of a meal in under thirty minutes. I’m not necessarily one of those 30-minute-meal types: I like to languish in the kitchen, relax, chop and slice and cook at leisure. This is, understandably, why most of my meals clock in around 45 minutes to an hour, and also why, reasonably, I don’t tend to do a lot of cooking mid-week. Unless eating out or being cooked for, I tend to subsist on whatever is readily available in the kitchen.
Thankfully for my appetite, The Garden of Vegan not only contains wonderful vegan recipes, it features an entire chapter on microwaveable meals. Coming across a recipe for “Tamale Pie” I was immediately entranced – all the goodness of a cornmeal-crusted casserole in exactly half the time I would usually make something like this. Despite a minor error with the cornmeal topping, this came out delicious, hearty, and very, very quickly.
Best of all, this dish is perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner time. It’s so fast, make two and save the other one for later in the week.
- 3/4 cup cornmeal
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups water
- 2 cans beans, your choice, drained and rinsed (I used black and pinto)
- 1 cup corn
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 small green pepper, chopped
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning (optional)
- 1/4 cup jalapeno, sliced (optional)
- In a bowl, stir together the cornmeal, salt, and water. Microwave for 6 minutes. The cornmeal should be a firm mush.
- In a microwaveable casserole dish, add the beans, corn, onion, and pepper. Cover with sauce and spices. Cover the whole dish with the cornmeal mixture and add the jalapeno on top, if using. Microwave for 8 – 12 minutes, until the cornmeal is crisp on top and the entire dish is heated through.
(Recipe adapted from “Tamale Pie” in The Garden of Vegan by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard)