>U Mom Knows Best: Slow Cooker Vegetarian Tamales

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Tamales

I love cooking tamales in the slow cooker as it is so easy. I make a big batch of tamales and freeze them. Then I can cook them throughout the year.

  It is a tradition in my family to have tamales on Christmas day. I live in New Mexico and we do Christmas a little bit different when it comes to food. On Christmas Eve, most families are enjoying bowls of posole and tortillas either before or after looking at the Candelaria's. It is a tradition that my family loves to follow. Then on Christmas day families are enjoying delicious tamales. We used to only make tamales on Christmas as tamales require a couple of hours to make and then a couple more hours to cook. Sure, you could buy frozen tamales at the store but they just don't taste as good as homemade and the stores usually do not carry vegetarian ones, only ones made with the traditional pork and red chile. So my solution is to make a big batch of tamales and freeze them and then use my slow cooker to steam them. This allows my family to enjoy tamales year-round without all the fuss.

  I discovered a great silicone steamer basket that makes steaming tamales in the slow cooker so simple. I just place this basket in my slow cooker with an inch of water. The silicone basket has feet on it to keep the tamales out of the water. The interlocking handles on the basket also allow for easy removal too. This steamer will also be great to use for steaming veggies. I just love that I can place it in the dishwasher.

  Assembling the tamales does take a long time to make but they are well worth the effort and they freeze well too. When you make your own tamales you can get creative with the ingredients. My favorite ingredients to put in tamales are cheese and jalapenos or green chile. Black beans and cheese are a good combination too. I will make several of the tamales with just cheese for the younger boys who have yet to acquire a taste for spicy food. My favorite way to serve the cooked tamales is with red or green chile sauce on top of them and avocado slices.

  The first part of making tamales is to make the masa base. Masa is made from corn and is much finer than cornmeal. I like to make my masa with butter instead of the traditional lard which is animal fat. I also add spices to my masa for added flavor. Once the masa is made you spread it on corn husks that have been soaking in warm for an about hour. Then you top the masa with your toppings and fold the masa over with the corn husks to make them into little bundles like burritos. The tamales then get steamed in the slow cooker for 6 hours.

                      Slow Cooker Vegetarian Tamales 

               Masa dough
  •                       2 cups masa harina/corn flour 
  •                       ½ teaspoon baking powder
  •                       ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  •                       ½ teaspoon cumin
  •                       ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  •                       4 tablespoons cubed butter
  •                       1 cup water
  •                       1 cup vegetable broth
        Tamale filling
                         1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
                         1 jar sliced jalapenos 
        1 package dried corn husks
          Silicone Steamer basket

             Soak the corn husks in warm water for about an hour. While they are soaking you can make the masa dough. Place the masa harina and spices in a food processor and pulse until blended. Then add the butter and blend until combined. Add the liquid and blend until well combined and looks like a sticky dough.
     Take a golf ball size piece of the masa dough and spread it onto a wet corn husk. The dough should be about 1/4 inch thick, you do not want to see the corn husk through the dough. Place a couple of jalapenos on the dough and then sprinkle a bit of cheese on top. Fold the corn husk over to join the edges of the masa. If you need to add more masa dough to cover the filling, do so as no filling should be showing. Fold the rest of the corn husk over so it resembles a burrito and set aside. Repeat until all masa dough is used. You can then place these bundles in a freezer bag to freeze or steam them. I like to place half in the freezer and cook the rest.
     Place your steamer basket in your slow cooker and pour about an inch of water in, make sure the water is not touching the holes of the steamer basket. Then place the tamales in the basket and cover the slow cooker with the lid. Cook on high for 6 hours.

 When the tamales are done unwrap the corn husk and place them on a plate. Top with green or red chile sauce, sour cream, avocado, and/or shredded cheese.


GiGi Eats Celebrities said...

With some avocadooooo and this is GOOD TO GO! :)

B is 4 said...

Mmmm I've always wanted to make tamales. That sounds like a tasty tradition for Christmas. Thanks for the recipe!

Jenny @cookeatgo said...

Oh my gosh these sound amazing!!! I love using my crock pot it is such a time saver and doesn't heat up the house as well!

Amy Jones said...

Tamales are so good, but I've never tried making them myself. This looks pretty simple and tasty though!

Unknown said...

It is a great recipe! Looks so delicious!

Agnes Dela Cruz said...

I am not much of a fan when it comes to tamales. I find the taste weird when i first tasted it. But this one looks so friendly and I might give it a try.

Cynthia Nicoletti said...

I love my slow cooker. I would never think of making tamales in it.,

Elizabeth O. said...

Everything is possible when you have a slow cooker and it makes cooking so much easier as well. I love these tamales because they're perfect for my diet. I had no idea that they're easier to make if you use a slow cooker, thanks!

Carol Cassara said...

Tamales are awesome! They're the perfect snack or dinner and they're also very filling. I like that you have a vegetarian version, it's light and you don't have to worry about eating too many!

Unknown said...

Oh, I never thought that a corn skin can be used as that! I like your steamer basket!

Rachel Mouton said...

These look amazing! I have been wanting to try making tamales. I might give it a shot :)

Dhemz said...

wow, that's pretty nifty! Your tamales look very clean. Mine would burst after cooking. Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

I never thought to slow cook tamales. This looks absolutely fabulous and easy to do!

Azlin Bloor said...

I love traditions, and I can imagine how much your family looks forward to this! Love the steamer basket, I have to see if I can find a similar one here.

Ellen said...

I've never made a tamale before. You make it look really easy!

Unknown said...

I've always wanted to make tamales, but have never tried. I think I'll give your recipe a go!

Liz Mays said...

Oh this is so cool. I really want to try making tamales like this. Tamales are so much fun.

Katy {AShadeOfTeal} said...

These look so good. I had no idea you can make these in a crock pot. I think I need the silicone steamer basket for so much more since most of my meals are made in the crock pot.

Unknown said...

I want to try a tamale so bad! This recipe looks super delicious!

berlin said...

I guess this is the same tamales my grabdma would make. I love tamales as well.

Unknown said...

I don't even know what tamales taste like but they sure look delicious! I didn't know you could make them using a slow cooker!

Anonymous said...

What is Tamales? I never heard about Tamales before. But it looks pretty interesting.

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