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Oil-free Vegan Tamales with Pico de Gallo and Bean Filling

Oil-Free Vegan Tamales (Easy + Gluten-free)

  • Author: Jasmine @ Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: About 25 tamales


Learn how to make the BEST oil-free vegan tamales this holiday season. Not only is this recipe fairly easy, but it is also packed with flavor and will definitely impress your friends and family!


Tamale Dough

Potato & Pinto Bean Filling

  • ~1/4-1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth or water
  • 1/2 large red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Anaheim pepper, finely diced*
  • 1 Roma tomato, diced
  • 1/2 medium russet potato, diced small
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup cilantro, minced
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Toppings of choice, such as:

  • Pico de gallo
  • Avocado
  • Cilantro


  1. Separate the corn husks and soak them in a large bowl or bucket of hot water for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until pliable. Drain and set aside.
  2. As the husks soak, prepare the filling. In a medium pan over medium heat, add in about 1/4 cup vegetable broth. Once heated through, add the onions, garlic, and Anaheim peppers, and sauté for about 4 minutes. Add in the Roma tomatoes and russet potatoes, along with 1/4 cup vegetable broth, cumin, and chili powder. Allow it cook, stirring often, until the potatoes have softened. Mix in the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Using a potato masher or fork, roughly mash the mixture into the consistency of refried beans. It does not need to be completely smooth, it is up to you. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add in the masa harina, baking powder, salt, and turmeric. Mix together until uniform, then pour in 3 1/2 cups of vegetable broth (to start). Mix until well combined, adding more liquid as needed so that the dough is spreadable (we added 1/4 cup more).
  4. To assemble each tamale, spread about 1/4  cup of the masa mixture on the center of the corn husk to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness (depending on your preference). Place 1 1/2-2 tablespoons of the filling into the center*.
  5. Fold in and overlap both sides of husk and fold up the bottom. Rip one or two of the corn husks into thin (1/4″) strips and use these to tie the tamales shut. Refer to images above if needed.
  6. Place the tamales open side up into a large steamer basket. Add water to a large steamer pot, just below the basket, and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Steam the tamales for 1 hour, being sure to add water to the pot when necessary to prevent burning.
  7. Remove tamales from husks and add toppings of choice.*


  • The amount of filling you place the dough will depend on the size of the corn husk. As you go, you will get a feel for how much you need.
  • To freeze the tamales: After steaming, allow the tamales to cool in the husks. Place them in freezer safe bags. To reheat, place the tamales in a steamer for about 10-15 minutes, or until softened.
  • If you cannot find Anaheim peppers, you can opt for a mix of green bell peppers and jalapenos or even canned green chiles.
  • This recipe is adapted from our original Vegan Tamales recipe (with oil). It is basically the same recipe, we just used more both and took out the oil and it worked perfectly!
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Category: Entree, Christmas
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican, Vegan, Gluten-free

Keywords: Tamales, Vegan, Oil-free, Entree, Christmas, Mexican, Gluten-free