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Vegetable Tamales

There are many kinds of tamales. Some are wrapped in fresh corn leaves, banana leaves, or avocado leaves. Most tamales have fillings of meat, cheese, or beans, but some have no fillings at all. These vegetarian tamales are smaller than most and take less time to cook. When everyone works together, making tamales is easy and the results are so satisfying.

To make blue corn tamales: Substitute 1 cup of masa harina da maíz with 1 cup blue corn meal.

Makes 24 tamales.


  • 4 ounces dried cornhusks
  • ¾ cup chopped mild green chile
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • ½ cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2¼ cups masa harina de maiz
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1¾ cup warm water
  • Red Chile Sauce


  1. Soak the cornhusks in hot water until soft and pliable. Tear 3 cornhusks into ¼-inch strips to be used to tie the tamales. In a bowl, mix together the green chile, zucchini, cheese, corn, cilantro, and oregano. Stir well to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the masa harina, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Stir in the melted butter. Add the vegetable mixture to the masa and mix well. Pour in the warm water and continue to mix until well combined and a soft dough forms. Cover the masa and let rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Lay a softened cornhusk flat on a clean surface. Roll a piece of masa into a four-inch cylinder and place in the center of the corn husk. Roll up and tie the ends of the tamale. Steam for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tamales are firm. Serve with red chile sauce.

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