Fabulous, Skinny Tamale Pie



This Mexican-style casserole is amazingly good! My husband and I love it so much we ended up having it for dinner 3 days in a row. I stored the leftovers in individual plastic containers and put them in the freezer. This dreamy recipe is skinny due to using very lean ground beef and after browning, draining the fat. In addition, using just a bit of reduced-fat cheese, it doesn’t need much. Instead of making a corn bread topping from scratch, I’ve topped this pie with Marie Callender’s low fat corn bread mix! What a terrific find! It helps to make this dish come together very quickly. One skinny serving now has 389 calories and 8.6 grams of fat plus 5 grams of fiber. Savor every skinny bite because it’s really delicious!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook and Bake Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients for Tamale Filling:

1 pound extra lean ground beef or ground turkey, I used Trader Joe’s extra lean ground beef (96/4)

2 cups onions, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced

1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels

1 can (14½-oz) diced & fire roasted tomatoes (with green chiles) or 1 can of diced tomatoes, in juice

⅓ cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons chili powder

½ teaspoon salt

Fresh ground black pepper

Ingredients for Corn Bread Topping:

1 package (1 lb.) Marie Callender’s Low Fat Southwestern Corn Bread Mix, see shopping tip


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Coat a 9″ 2-quart casserole dish or oven proof 9″glass bowl with cook spray and set aside.

2. For the tamale filling: In a large nonstick pan over medium heat, add the ground beef, onions and garlic. Cook stirring often, breaking up beef until meat is browned. Pour into a colander to drain the fat. Add back to pan.

3. Stir in beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese, chili powder. salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

4. To make corn bread topping: Add to a mixing bowl 1½ cups water and corn bread mix. Mix by hand until lumps disappear.

5.. Pour the tamale mixture into the casserole dish. Spread evenly. Top with corn bread batter and spread evenly.

6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the corn bread comes out clean.

7. Cool a bit and cut into 8 slices. This dish will keep for several days in the refrigerator and freezes great.

Makes 8 slices  (each serving, 1 slice)

Food Fact

It’s argued as to where tamale pie originated. It’s a toss-up whether it came from Mexico, Texas or California. Early recipes called for pork or beef cubed or hashed but today it’s usually made with ground beef.

Shopping Tip

Most large supermarkets sell Marie Callender’s Southwest Cornbread Mix. It’s usually found in the baking aisle where the other cornbread mixes are displayed. Their low fat corn bread mix will also work for this recipe.

Weight Watchers (old points)
Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS 11

SKINNY FACTS: for 1 slice
389 calories, 8.6g fat, 23g protein, 61g carbs, 5g fiber, 976mg sodium, 16g sugar
FAT FACTS: for 1 slice of Cooks Illustrated Tamale Pie
541 calories, 29g fat, 27g protein, 44g carbs