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Vegetarian Tamale Casserole | An easy weeknight meal

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Easy Vegetarian Tamale Casserole Recipe

This easy vegetarian tamale casserole recipe is my take on the Trashy Tamales fromThe Lazy Genius. Adaptable and very kid-friendly.

This recipe comes from the ever-delightful Kendra Adachi aka The Lazy Genius. I discovered Kendra a few years ago, and really love her motto, “Be a genius about the things that matter, and lazy about the things that don’t.” These words describe me to a tee. I’m a big fan of hers (and her mom) and she has some no-fail recipes that you should add to your repertoire.

She calls her tamale casserole recipe Trashy Tamales. Kendra says that they are as ugly as they are delicious and I’ll vouch for that. Not the prettiest dinner, but I make it all the time and it’s one of my favorite weeknight dinners.

These days, I make a vegetarian tamale casserole, but this is ever adaptable. Add a few cups of cooked chicken, ground beef, pork, whatever you have around. Have some veggies that have seen better days in your fridge? Saute them up and add them in. Covered in cheese and enchilada sauce, your kids won’t know the difference.

This vegetarian tamale casserole is a great “what are we having for dinner “recipe” to have in your back pocket”. I always have everything in my pantry.

Trashy Tamales Lazy Genius Recipe

Tips for making Vegetarian Tamale Casserole //

  • Whatever you want to add to this should already taste good before you add it to the pan. So make sure that is well seasoned before you add it.
  • You can use ground beef, chicken, shredded pork, whatever protein you like. You really can’t go wrong.
  • The recipe calls for Jiffy mix, but I really love the Trader Joe’s cornbread mix.
  • I like to put mine on a bed of shredded lettuce and top with sour cream, green onions, and a squirt of lime juice.
  • Also goes perfectly with an icy cold beer.

Easy Tamale Casserole Recipe

Easy Vegetarian Tamale Casserole Recipe

Vegetarian Tamale Casserole | An easy weeknight meal

Yield: serves 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

This easy vegetarian tamale casserole recipe is my take on the Trashy Tamales fromThe Lazy Genius. Adaptable and very kid-friendly.


Tamale Casserole Ingredients //

  • 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I like a cheddar/jack blend or pepper jack if I’m feeling a little spicy)
  • 1 can (10-ounce) enchilada sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Toppings //

  • Sour cream
  • Lettuce
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Hot sauce
  • Cilantro


Preheat the oven to 400°. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray.

Mix corn muffin mix, creamed corn, eggs, milk, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Mix until combined. Fold in half of the cheese and pour into the pan.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is just set. (It can have a little jiggle, but the top will look cooked.)

While the corn mixture is baking, heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Sauté onions and peppers until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add corn and beans. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Take the pan out of the oven, poke some holes with a fork and pour half of the enchilada sauce on top. Add the bean mixture, pour the rest of the enchilada sauce and then cover with the rest of the cheese.

Back in the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve with whatever toppings you like. I like shredded lettuce, sour cream, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.


This recipe is adapted from The Lazy Genius.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 311Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 760mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 6gSugar: 7gProtein: 15g

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Did you make this recipe?

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Friday 7th of October 2022

For the red pepper, do you mean bell pepper or a spicy pepper?


Sunday 9th of October 2022

i Pia, I meant red pepper. Hope you will like the recipe, let me know!

Amy Usher

Sunday 27th of March 2022

Jimmy corn muffin mix contains lard / animal shortening. Great recipe, but replace with other mix if you want vegetarian.


Monday 30th of May 2022

There is a vegetarian Jiffy mix that I use.

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Wednesday 7th of October 2020

[…] Vegetarian Tamale Casserole […]


Monday 17th of June 2019

This is insanely and surprisingly delicious. I highly recommend using fresh corn. Thank you for sharing this recipe!


Monday 17th of June 2019

I know, right? Not the prettiest, but super delicious.

sabrina drewry

Tuesday 23rd of April 2019

I'm having trouble opening the recipe. I've tried two browsers and never had trouble before. Would you mind checking to see if there is a glitch? I love your recipes!


Tuesday 23rd of April 2019

Ahhhh!! Thank you for catching that! I fixed it.

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