Spring Turnip Tamale

I have cooked several tamales over the past few weeks and thought that I would share with you.  It is nothing like whipping up a batch of tamales on a cold rainy day and having them to eat for the rest of the week (or freezing for later enjoyment).  Honestly, they never make it to the freezer because I like them so much.

I used the golden turnips from my vegetable box for this vegan tamale recipe.  Tamales are so versatile, just like tacos and enchiladas, allowing you to get creative using whatever is in season and whatever is in your refrigerator for your filling.  I thought that the turnips would do well in a tamale and they actually came out better than I expected.

There’s been quite a few turnips showing up in my weekly vegetable box from my local farm and most of the time I enjoy them steamed or roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper.  The fiber rich turnip is a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and B vitamins.

This batch of tamales made about 10 tamales.  I was a little unorthodox in my assembly so my tamales were not uniform in shape or size.  I had a little more batter than filling left over in the end and fried up some veggie sausage with cumin, sunflower seeds and chili powder and added it with the turnip filling to the last two.

Make sure that you are buying non-gmo masa which can be purchased at your local health-food store or online.  There are several recipes online for cashew cream.  I just put some soaked cashews in the blender with some water (not too much), lemon and salt and blend until smooth.


Turnip Tamale

Ingredients for Dough:
2 cups masa flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 cups water or broth
1/4 cup oil

Directions for Dough:
Mix the dry ingredients and then stir in the water/broth until mixed. Allow to sit for 5 minutes then stir in the oil until mixed.

Ingredients for Filling:
1/4 large onion, diced (little over 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
2 cups turnips, chopped (about 2 medium sized turnips)
1 cup stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup water/broth
4 garlic cloves, minced or use garlic press
1 spring onion, diced
1 green garlic, diced
1/4 cup cashew cream
pinch habanero powder
banana leaf

Directions for Filling:
Heat the oil in a small sauce pot on medium-high heat and add the onions. Saute until soft and browned (5-7 minutes) then add the dry seasoning and cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the turnips, stewed tomatoes, water/broth and garlic cloves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, uncover, turn the heat up to medium-high and cook for 15-20 minutes more until the liquid has reduced and the turnips are tender.

Take the turnip mixture off the heat and roughly mash with a potato masher or fork. Mix in the spring onions, garlic, cashew cream, and habanero powder. Add salt to taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

Directions for Tamales:
Now it time to wrap your tamales. First dip the banana leaves in simmering water to soften so that the do not break when folded and dry them off.

Place a small amount of dough on your banana leaf and spread out and then top with the turnip filling and fold the tamale. Repeat until all of the dough and filling is used. You can find a good pictorial here. I used banana leaves because that was what I had on hand but you can also use corn husks. If using the corn husks, I found a good pictorial here.

Place the tamales in a steamer and steam for an hour until the dough is firm. Unwrap and enjoy!

What is your favorite tamale recipe/filling?

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Becoming a healthy vegan was is still a challenge.
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One comment

  • Richgail 7 years ago

    Yum! I never made tamales before but have always wanted to. I wasn’t sure how to veganize it. Thanks for the recipe. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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