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Vegan Tamales Just In Time For The Holidays!

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Vegan Tamales Just In Time For The Holidays!

vegan chicken tamales


Many people serve tamales over the holidays, so why not make them vegan this year?  These vegan tamales taste exactly like the animal-based ones, but without all the cruelty!  Today, guest Chef Elizabeth Gary shows us how to put together her famous vegan “chick’n” tamales without losing any of the flavors or textures of their non-vegan competitors.  This is a recipe you don’t want to miss.




Liz Gary is a vegan chef, educator, food writer, and founder of Vegan Culinary Memoirs ePublishing. Her works include a weekly vegan recipe column for Southern California grocery chain Jensen’s Foods, the production of eight high school vegan club cookbooks, lots of experience leading plant-based foods education programs, and a new book and culinary training program titled Black Belt in TOFU, Today’s Plant-Based, Protein-Rich Alternative to Meat | Seafood | Eggs | Dairy. Liz’s vegan culinary demo Studio G3 is based on the Point Loma Peninsula in beautiful San Diego, California.   Follow her on YouTube.


Liz Gary- vegan tamales
Liz Gary showing off her tamales.



This chick’n tamale recipe is great at proving you can make anything vegan! Traditional tamales start with manteca de puerco…pork lard! Liz veganizes everything from the lard to the meat and cheese to create delicious satisfying look-alike, taste-alike holiday tamales. Learn how they are made with this easy-to-follow recipe and host your own vegan tamale-making party this holiday season!


See Also

ingredients vegan tamales
The ingredients for vegan chick’n tamales.


vegan chicken tamales
The beautiful plated and ready-to-eat vegan chick’n tamales.


Chick’n Green Chili and Cheese Tamales

This Chick’n Tamale recipe is great at proving you can just about have it all again plant-based! Traditional tamales start with manteca de puerco…pork lard! We’re veganizing everything from the lard to the meat and cheese to create delicious satisfying look-alike, taste-alike holiday tamales. Learn how they are made with this easy to follow recipe and host your own vegan tamale making party this holiday season!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican


  • The Masa
  • 4 cups masa harina
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground pink salt
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup sunflower or avocado oil
  • 1/2 package dried corn husks*
  • Filling
  • 8 ounce block of tofu firmest
  • 1 tablespoon neutral high heat oil
  • 2 teaspoons Santa Maria seasoning
  • 4 - 5 fresh Anaheim chili peppers
  • 1 15 ounce can red or green enchilada sauce
  • 4 ounces sliced vegan jack cheese cut into strips
  • Accompaniments
  • Red or green enchilada sauce heated
  • Mexican rice
  • Pinto or black beans
  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh cilantro


  • Place the corn husks in a large bowl, cover them with warm water and weight them down to submerge them. Soak for 30 minutes or until pliable.
  • Prepare the chili peppers by placing them directly on a flame to char the skin, using tongs carefully turn them every few minutes until the skin is blackened. Once the chilies are completely blackened transfer them to a paper bag or cover them and let them cool. Remove the skin and seeds, cut them into 2-3 inch strips and set aside.
  • Remove the cheese from the packaging and one inch slices, set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the masa harina, seasonings, baking powder and salt. Measure vegetable broth and oil in a large liquid measuring cup. Stir well to combine then pour into the masa mixture.
  • Using a large mixing spoon scrape the sides of the bowl and stir to combine the ingredients. The mixture will thicken as it absorbs the liquid and should become about the consistency of peanut butter. Add just a little more masa harina or broth as needed to reach the right consistency.
  • Tear 2-3 husks into strips for tying the tamales. Using the largest husks, lay one out at a time on a cutting board and spread a heaping tablespoon of the masa mixture in the center of each husk. Spread it out evenly then add a few pieces of tofu chick’n, cover it with a spoon full of red or green sauce, a slice of vegan jack cheese and a slice of the roasted pepper. Place a second spoonful of masa on top of the filling and press it to spread it over the filling. Fold the bottom of the husk over the filling then the sides. Leave the top open and secure the tamale in the center by tying it with the torn husk strips.
  • Prepare a large pot with a steamer basket, line the basket with any remaining husks. Add a few inches of filtered water, bring to a boil. Place the tamales in the basket standing upright and steam them covered on medium high for 60 minutes. Check the water level occasionally and add more water as needed. The tamales will be done when the masa peels easily away from the husk.
  • Serve hot tamales topped with additional sauce and a side of beans and rice. Makes 12 large or 18-20 small tamales.
  • “Gather friends and family for a vegan tamale making party! Get creative with your fillings and try any variety of vegan cheese, beans, potatoes, rice, or veggies. I use organic masa, it’s available at most natural food stores. Cooked tamales freeze well and can be reheated to create a quick meal later.”
  • *Dried corn husks are available at restaurant supply stores and most Latino markets. Tamales can also be made in fresh banana leaves found in the produce or frozen section of Latino Markets.


Recipe courtesy of Liz Gary at www.veganculinarymemoirs.com
Keyword vegan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!



It’s time to start preparing for the food festivities, so why not give this recipe a try.  It would definitely be a hit at any party or just your family holiday meal.  Take a photo of your finished tamales and tag @JaneUnChainedNews on Instagram.  Looking for other easy plant-based recipes to try?  Hop on over to the #LunchBreakLIVE page, where we have a ton to choose from.  Until next time…keep cookin’!

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