Green Chili Tamale Bowls

We are learning how we can get lazy this week. And hey, that is a OK!

Because, serious question, my fellow lads and lassies. Have any of you made tamales before? I have. And they are delicious, but damn they are SO hard to make. The day that I made them, I remember spending hours wrapping the cornmeal with the corn husks and tying them together and steaming them. Yeah, that is a lot more work than I normally want to do in these cases. And honestly, the guacamole and the pico I made were winners compared to the corn tamales that took me hours to make.

So here we are, on a mission to be more lazy.

Of course, this recipe also developed out of a way to use up all of the polenta I currently have stockpiled in my pantry. I had quite the happy/sad accident when ordering products from Bob’s Red Mill this last time. They sent me doubles of everything. Now normally, I would be super happy about this. But y’all, I live in a small apartment. There is no possible place for me to put all of these bags of stuff in my apartment. And so, after one too many bowls of Italian style polenta, I was ready for a change.

And change did come. Spicy change.

I have to say that polenta makes a great base for a burrito bowl. Heck, it might make a better base than rice in my humble opinion. It’s really creamy and comforting, especially as we start to dip our toes into the cold weather of fall. It doesn’t dry out like rice does in the fridge, which means HELLO MEAL PREP! Plus the green chili helps to bring in the HEAT, ya know?

Next comes the beans. And you’ve probably never heard this in your life, but the beans are the easiest part! Ever since my black bean tostadas recipe went up, you know how much I love making these Right Foods Black Bean And Lime Soup cups into refried beans. Just fill up the up only 3/4th of the way with the hot water you are instructed to and POOF. And trust me. If you ever have made refried beans before, you know as well as I do how much time they take. And you will thanking yourself for all the time you saved with these flavor bomb of a cup of beans!

The best part is that this recipe is so versatile. Add whatever salsa or greens or burrito toppings your heart desires. Ya know what I just thought would be good and fall-y in here? Butternut squash! Ohhh yes! I am such a sucker for butternut, with a little chipotle powder and cumin. Just this weekend, I ate half of a butternut squash roasted. On it’s own. And I’m totally not exaggerating.

If you want to go the more meat-y route, you could also add shredded chicken or pulled beef or barbacoa to the top. Think of the saucy, spicy conundrum on top! Ohh baby. Actually, I like barbacoa just because it is a fun word to say.

Oh, and I totally forgot to add the crushed tortilla chips to the top of this, but really you must do this. Actually, this is non-negotiable.  It is so good. Of course, feel free to use my grain free grits and dump a ton of green chili in there. I’m not going to stop you! But I do like how the polenta takes on the texture of a tamale. And I can basically close my eyes and pretend I’m in Mexico while it’s flipping freezing outside. Where is my Corona?

Yields 4

Green Chili Tamale Bowls

15 minPrep Time

25 minCook Time

40 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe


    Green Chili Polenta
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups almond milk (or other plant based milk)
  • 1 cup dry polenta
  • 4 ounce can Green Chiles (I use Trader Joe's)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Tamale Bowl
  • 1 container Right Foods Black Bean Soup
  • 1 avocado mashed with lime juice, salt, and pepper (or guacamole)
  • Kale
  • Pico de Gallo


Make the Polenta

Pour the water and non-dairy milk into a medium size saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and slowly whisk in the polenta. Cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is soft and thick, about 15 to 20 minutes. Keep warm and then just before serving, stir in the green chiles and season with salt and pepper. If the polenta seems a little thick you can add a tablespoon of butter or extra milk.

Tamale Bowl

Make the Right Foods Black Bean Soup according to the instructions. However, only add the hot water 3/4 of the way it instructs. This will create a thicker bean spread

Portion the green chili polenta into bowls. Top with smashed black beans. Top with avocado mash or guacamole, pico de gallo, and kale (or whatever other toppings you choose!) EAT!

Spicy food for all you spicy people.

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