Happy Trails Tamale Pie – Don’t punch those dogies

“Cattle ranching is driven by a population’s desire to eat beef. When Cortez’ conquistadores had completed the conquest of the Aztec and Mayan empires they were rich and powerful beyond their wildest dreams but the local foodstuff lacked the meat they desired. It is small wonder that the importation of cattle was of the highest priority for the conquistadores.”

- Thayer Watkins, Emeritus Faculty, Economics, San Jose State University
The Origins of the Cowboy Culture of Western America

There are many ways to protest the rodeo, and while the following might be attention-getting,


it’s also …eh… what’s the word I’m looking for? Well, let’s just say it’s not my style.

While I do oppose the rodeo, I choose to be a conscientious objector to all industries that make objects and products out of living beings. Take away cattle consumption by finding an alternative too good to resist, and you ultimately take away the display of aggression and dominance that is rodeo.  I think it’s time to just let the spectacle of rodeo ride off peacefully into the sunset, leaving behind the legends, poetry, fiddles, and yodeling.

Yes, that’s my style.

Enjoy this hearty, inexpensive, delicious, healthy, animal-free recipe. Not only will bucking horses, busted steer, and roped calves thank you, but by choosing not to consume animal products, you will help save habitat for wild horses and other free-living animals.

As a bonus, you’ll also avoid the embarrassment, expense, and heat exhaustion caused by wearing a cow costume.

This recipe is gluten free and can easily be made soy free as well, by omitting the TVP with soy sauce and the soy milk.

Tamale Pie – Hold the Cow


1 1/2 cup TVP
2 Cups vegetable broth
1 Tbsp soy sauce

Soak the TVP in the liquid for 10 or 15 minutes

*Non-cow is not vital to this recipe – if you don’t have any on hand, just use more beans – any kind you like. Cowboys love beans, right? Alternatively, you can use a ready-made veggie burger substitute but those can be hard to find, and I don’t care to promote expensive or hard-to-find ingredients.

1 chopped onion
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup Salsa
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 -2 cups canned or frozen corn, drained, if canned
1 can sliced ripe olives (4 oz is enough but I used a bigger can)
1/2 can (more, if not using TVP) your favorite beans – I used black
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
Black pepper, to taste
Jalapeno Pepper, to taste. 1/2 of 1 pepper was enough for me
Fresh cilantro, to taste

Optional – 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast and 1/4 cup soy milk, to make the filling a little creamy


1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups cold water
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (to taste)
About 1 tablespoon olive oil, I used a dash more


Note: I’m kind of a spice slinger. I don’t measure spices very carefully, and since I grow my own cilantro, I just pick “some” to add – so adjust all these flavors to your own liking. Amounts given are a general idea to get you started.

Saute onions and peppers in some olive oil until tender, or however “done” you like them. Cook the soaked TVP, if using, along with broth/soy sauce, in the pan (with the onions and peppers), until liquid is gone and TVP is browned.

Add all the other ingredients and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until thickened.

Set filling aside.

In a saucepan, combine cornmeal, salt, water and chili powder. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Stir in olive oil. Spread half of the mixture into a large casserole dish. Spoon the filling over bottom crust, and spread the remaining cornmeal mixture over filling.

Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes.

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One Response to Happy Trails Tamale Pie – Don’t punch those dogies

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