Low-Fat Tamales

This tamale is prepared with zero refined fats (such as oil or vegetable shortening) or saturated fats (such as lard), and yet retains all the flavor and texture of the original tamales. Your family will be surprised how delicious these healthy tamales are!


Quantity Unit Name Link Alternatives
4 cups corn flour
4 cups white sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 cup cashew nuts, raw and unsalted
4 cups vegetable broth or water
1 tsp salt (or more if using water)
2 tsp non-aluminum baking powder
corn husks
tamale filling of your choice:
- tofu, cut in strips and mixed with chili sauce
- jalapeno strips with vegan cheese
- black beans with fresh corn (corncob)
- soy or gluten meat
- cooked potatoes, peas and vegetables, seasoned with their favorite spices


  1. Soak tamale leaves in hot water until they become tender.
  2. Boil the sweet potato in water until it softens (about 15 minutes).
  3. Drain the potatoes and mash to make a puree. Let it cool down.
  4. Mix tamales flour, salt and baking powder.
  5. Blend the cashew nuts with half of the vegetable broth until you obtain a creamy consistency.
  6. Add this mixture to the flour and stir well.
  7. Add the remaining vegetable broth and stir.
  8. Add the ground potatoes and mix until you have a well-mixed filling. Add more liquid if the dough is very dry, and more flour if very watery. The consistency should be similar to that of peanut butter.
  9. Rinse the tamale leaves in cold water.
  10. Spread the dough at the center of each leaf, leaving enough space to wrap the tamale.
  11. Add about two to three tablespoons of filling in the middle.
  12. Close the leaf by rolling it toward the center, then bend the tip upward. Repeat until dough is finished.
  13. Put your tamales in a big pot (or tamalera) and steam for an hour and a half.
  14. Once cooked, remove from the pot and allow it to cool for about 15–30 minutes to make it firm.

Prep Time: 45 minutes (2 1⁄2 hours cooking)
Serving Size: 2 tamales (12 servings)
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