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Zucchini Corn Tamal Casserole

Zucchini Corn Tamal Casserole

Vegan Zucchini Corn Tamal Casserole: the tamal casserole is steamed just like regular tamales but without all that work assembling them! #mexican #casserole
Tamales have a special place in my heart. I didn’t grow up eating tamales but as soon as I made them for the first time a few years ago, they soon became a favorite comfort food.

Tamales do take some planning and a few hours to make the filling, sauce, and assembling them. It is definitely worth the effort and time to make traditional tamales, but what if could you could have a tamal without all that work?

This Zucchini Corn Tamal Casserole is the perfect option to make for when you get a tamal craving, but you don’t feel like making individual tamales.

While reading Mexico One Plate at a Time by Rick Bayless, I came across a recipe for casserole style tamal that was steamed on the stove just like regular tamales.

A casserole and tamales all in one? Two of my favorite things. I was very intrigued by the idea of steaming one large tamal in a cake pan. You steam the tamal casserole the same way that you would steam tamales that are wrapped up in corn husks.

I just had to make a vegan inspired tamal casserole. I used zucchini and corn since they are still in season right now along with a little roasted poblano for a little spice.

I have also made it with diced jalapeños instead of the roasted poblanos; both versions are tasty!

I use the same steamer that I would if I was steaming a big batch of tamales. Instead of forming the tamales in corn husks, the tamal batter goes in to a cake pan.

My cake pan fit exactly inside the steamer. Set the steamer up exactly as you for steaming tamales in corn husks. It’s that easy!

Zucchini Corn Tamal Casserole steams right on the stovetop, a great way to have tamales but without all the work of assembling them. Vegan Zucchini Corn Tamal Casserole: the perfect comfort good! #veagnmexican #casserole Vegan Zucchini Corn Tamal Casserole steamed right on the stove! Easy, simple and delicious!
The tamal casserole will need at least 1 1/2 hours to steam. Mine took around 2 hours to steam.

If you have a steamer where the distance of the water to pan is short, like a bamboo steamer, it won’t take as long as if you are using a larger steamer pot.

Check the casserole after it has been steaming for 1 1/2 hours. The tamal will continue to set as it cools.

You’re looking for the top to not be liquidly. When you press your finger it shouldn’t sink down.

You want to let the tamal casserole cool for at least 20-30 minutes before slicing.

Zucchini Corn Tamal Casserole: get all the comfort of Mexican tamales but without all the work of assembling the tamales in husks! #veganmexican #tamales #casseroles
I like to slice the casserole just like a pie.

This Zucchini Corn Tamal Casserole is definitely on the filling side and make a delicious main course.

For serving, I like to serve with salsa and some chopped cilantro.

Vegan Zucchini Corn Tamal Casserole served with salsa verde! A great vegan + gluten-free main course dinner option! #vegan #entree #glutenfree
I hope that you enjoy this Zucchini Corn Tamal Casserole as much as we did! If you make it, let me know in the comments or on Instagram @thymeandlove!

Vegan Zucchini Corn Tamal Casserole: the tamal casserole is steamed just like regular tamales but without all that work assembling them! #mexican #casserole

Zucchini Corn Tamal Casserole

Yield: 6-8 Servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours

Zucchini Corn Tamal Casserole is perfect for when you want tamales, but don't want to assemble them in husks! This make a great dinner entree that even omnivores will enjoy. It's also naturally GF!


  • 1 3/4 Cup Masa Harina
  • 1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Hot Water
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Shortening, room temperature
  • 1/4 Cup Vegan Butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Broth
  • 2 Medium Zucchini, trimmed and grated
  • 1 Cup Fresh Corn
  • 1/2 Cup Green Onions, the green part only sliced
  • 1-2 Roasted Poblano Peppers, seeded and diced*

For Serving:

  • Salsa
  • Chopped Cilantro


  1. In a small bowl, add the masa harina and reconstitute it by pouring the hot water over top. Mix together. Add a splash or two more water if the masa is too dry.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the shortening and butter along with the baking powder and salt. Using a hand mixer beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Continue mixing and add the reconstituted masa to the bowl in 3 additions. After all the masa has been incorporated pour in the vegetable broth and mix. After this point I like to use a rubber spatula and then add in the shredded zucchini, corn, sliced green onions, and roasted peppers. Stir just until throughly mixed together.
  3. Set up the steamer with water. Find a pan or casserole dish that will fit exactly in your steamer. I found that a cake pan worked perfectly. Pour the prepared batter into the pan and place in the steamer pot. Cover the top of the pan with parchment paper then place the steamer lid tightly on top. Steam at a constant simmer over medium heat. Check the water level once in awhile. If you run out of water, pour more boiling water into the steamer.
  4. Cook for 1 1/2 hours. Check to see if the top of casserole is firm. If it is still a little moist cook for another 20- 30 minutes, or until done. It'll continue to firm up as it cools.
  5. Once the casserole is done turn off the heat and let cool for at least 20-30 minutes.
  6. Slice and serve with salsa and chopped cilantro, if using.


You could also sub diced jalapeños

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Vegan + GF Zucchini Corn Tamal Casserole served with salsa verde. A great main course dinner option!

Recipe adapted from Rick Bayless. 

Xo Jeni 

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Monday 20th of August 2018

Love this recipe, I've made it three times now, and it's quite forgiving to those who are measuring cup adverse. The first two times, I wasn't able to create a proper steaming environment, but the end product was still delicious.


Sunday 5th of August 2018

Hi there I am so grateful I found your blog, I really found you by accident, while I was browsing on Aol for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say cheers for a incredible post and a all round interesting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don't have time to read through it all at the moment but I have bookmarked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the fantastic job.


Friday 18th of May 2018

Have you tried cooking this with any different method? Looks delicious but I’m kind of a newbie and don’t have a steaming pot.


Friday 18th of May 2018

I have not but I think you could make traditional tamales with the dough. I haven't tried that method but the tamal casserole is essentially one big tamal!

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