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Walnut Green Chile Tamales

  • Author: Adriana
  • Prep Time: 90 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: ~25 tamales
  • Category: Vegan Tamales
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican


Here’s a fun and creative recipe for Cinco De Mayo that is vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free! This is a festive project the whole family can make and enjoy together!



For The Filling:

  • 4 cups of walnuts
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup black or green olives, sliced or diced
  • 27 ounce cans of roasted green chiles
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 68 teaspoons of canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce OR sub your favorite hot sauce
  • 3 teaspoons salt + pepper to taste

For The Masa:

  • 3 cups Maseca, or masa harina.
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil in a semi-solid, ‘scoopable’ state
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2.5 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons paprika
  • 3.25 cups vegetable broth


For The Filling:

  1. Heat a skillet over medium-low heat and warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. Dice onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. While the onions cook, measure your walnuts and add them to a food processor.
  4. Process until a coarse meal is achieved, about 30-45 seconds. Set aside.
  5. Add cumin, salt, pepper, canned green chiles, and sauce from canned chipotle peppers to the onion-garlic mixture. Stir to coat the onion-garlic mixture with seasonings.
  6. Add ground walnuts to the skillet and stir to combine. Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. Reserve until it’s time to assemble your tamales. 

For The Masa:

  1. Cream the coconut oil. Add 1/3 cup coconut oil and 2 tablespoons of your maseca to a stand mixer. Use a whisk attachment on your stand mixer and whip the coconut oil for 4-5 minutes on medium-high speed until it’s light and fluffy. The coconut oil needs to be a scoopable consistency, not liquid.
  2. Change from the whisk attachment to your dough hook.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients together, Maseca (minus 2 tablespoons), baking powder, salt, and paprika.
  4. Add half the Maseca mixture to the mixer with it on low speed and combine, then add half the broth.
  5. Mix until well incorporated, stopping to scrape the sides of your mixing bowl if needed.
  6. Add the rest of the broth, then the rest of the Maseca and combine. Mix on medium-high speed for 5 minutes until a soft, fluffy dough forms.
  7. This will be a soft, wet dough that’s a spreadable consistency. If the dough is too dry it will be difficult to spread. You should be able to use a spatula and easily spread some masa against the mixing bowl. If the dough is not easy to spread add more broth in 1/4 cup increments, mix, and test again.

To Assemble Your Tamales:

  1. Remove one corn husk and pat it dry with a towel. It should be flexible and bend in half in either direction.
  2. Spread about 3-4 tablespoons of masa dough across the smooth side of a corn husk into a thin, even layer. (One side usually has a natural curve to it) I personally like to move up and down vs. left to right but do what works best for you. For the size corn husks we have, we spread the masa in about a 5″ wide by 6″ high rectangle! 
  3. In the center of your masa, place about 2 tablespoons of walnut filling.
  4. Fold one side of the corn husk over the filling, then repeat with the remaining side. Yes, there will be masa laying over top of the corn husk- this will help seal the tamales as they steam so they don’t dry out!
  5. Fold the pointy tip of your corn husk up and behind the tamale.
  6. Place upright into your corn husk-lined steamer basket and move on to the next!
  7. Once all tamales are completed, cover your steamer basket and steam on low for 60-80 minutes. Check your steamer basket halfway into cooking and add more water to ensure your steamer does not run dry.
  8. Tamales are done when the tamale is easy to remove from the corn husk and they are not sticky or doughy. After 60 minutes of steaming, remove one tamale with tongs and let it cool for 5 minutes. Try to open the tamale and remove from the wrapper– if the masa is very sticky and won’t separate easily, cook another 10-15 minutes.


** These can be stored in their husks or parchment in the fridge for up to 5 days. Tamales freeze great as well! Keep them in their husks or parchment and freeze in a plastic bag for up to 6 months. Reheat in the oven on low heat, covered with aluminum foil for 20 minutes or defrost in the fridge and steam for 15 minutes.

** To use parchment paper, cut parchment paper into about 8×10 inch rectangles. The tamale masa for average-sized corn husks is spread about 5″ wide by 6″ tall. Cut a few test squares until you find the size that works best for you!

Keywords: Walnut Tamales