Last week, I catered for my dear friend Kreed’s wedding. One of the dishes that I made was a tamale pie. I used to make tamale pies when I used to eat meat and dairy. I made it vegetarian by substituting the meat filling with black beans, pinto beans, corn, peppers, diced tomatoes, cheese, with a cornmeal crust. So, I decided to make this vegan and since I didn’t have any cornmeal, I used teff grain. Which is one of my favorite grains to use. If you can’t find Teff grain, you can substitute coarse ground cornmeal or polenta.
I made a sauce with diced vegetables, diced canned tomatoes, and white beans. The sauce has lots of garlic and dried thyme, you can add any fresh or dried herb that you want. It would be a nice fall or winter dish. The teff polenta is very filling and with the bean and tomato stew, it’s also a very warming kind of dish. I am making this in the spring, and I’m using zucchini and squash. You can also use butternut squash and sweet potatoes in the fall. I ended up making a smaller casserole and freezing it for my next visit with my papa this weekend.
This is a great dish for a potluck or for lunches for the week. You can substitute and play around with seasonal ingredients and different herbs. You can easily make two casseroles from this recipe. Just make sure that you don’t bake the one you will freeze. Take it out of the freezer the night before you want to bake it. And bake for 20-25 minutes.
I adapted the cashew cheese recipe from Nutrition Stripped’s classic cashew cheese recipe.
2 cups teff grain
6 cups cold water
Chunky White Bean Tomato Sauce Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil.
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and peeled
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, diced
2 cups white beans cooked or 1 can drained
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons sea salt
Sun-dried Tomato Cashew Cheese Ingredients:
I cup of cashews
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon fresh
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Soak cashews in 2 cups cold water. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Heat a large cast iron skillet or saucepan. Add olive or avocado oil.
Add onions and garlic. Stir and saute for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
Add bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, and squash. Stir and saute for 3-5 min. Or, until the vegetables are a little soft.
Add white beans, herbs, and salt. Stir well.
Add canned tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir well, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring often.
Bring water to boil in a large saucepan.
Slowly pour the polenta, whisking constantly until the polenta has been stirred in.
Reduce heat to medium. Keep stirring until the polenta starts to get thick.
Reduce heat to low. Stir polenta with a wooden spoon until it is smooth and thick about 18-20 minutes.
When the polenta has been cooked and doesn’t taste grainy, remove from heat.
Add earth balance and stir. Set aside and let cool until you can handle the polenta with your hands.
Sun-dried Tomato Cashew Cheese Directions:
Add all ingredients in a blender or a food processor.
Blend well until the mixture is creamy and thick. It will be the texture of ricotta cheese.
Teff Polenta Pie Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a glass or ceramic lasagna pan ( or 2 smaller pans).
Spoon polenta on the bottoms and sides of the prepared pan, and pat the mixture down.
Spoon the tomato sauce evenly.
Spoon cashew cheese on top.
Sprinkle remaining polenta on top over the cheese spreading evenly.
Bake 20-25 minutes.