These vegetarian tamales are made with jackfruit, a tropical fruit with a meatlike, chewy texture. The spiced jackfruit, black beans and sweet potatoes are stuffed inside dense masa and wrapped in a corn husk to lock in moisture and flavor during steaming.

Adam Hickman
Source:, March 2019


Recipe Summary

1 hr 20 mins
2 hrs


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place broth and corn in a blender; blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Combine the corn mixture, masa harina, butter, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; stir until a dough forms. Set aside.

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sweet potato; cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Add chiles and 2/3 cup water; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potato is tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat; add beans. Mash with a potato masher until coarsely mashed. Stir in cheese and jackfruit.

  • Place tomatillos, cilantro, garlic, sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/3 cup water in a blender; blend until smooth, 45 to 60 seconds. Stir 1/4 cup of the tomatillo mixture into the jackfruit mixture; set aside the remaining tomatillo mixture.

  • Lay 1 soaked husk flat on a work surface. Place 3 tablespoons of the masa dough in the center (about 1 inch from the top) and, using wet fingertips, press the dough into a 4-by-3-inch rectangle. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the jackfruit mixture down 1 side of the dough. Roll the husk over the filling, being sure to cover the filling with dough. Fold the bottom end of the husk under.

  • Line a broiler pan rack with a damp kitchen towel. Place the tamale seam-side down on the rack. Repeat with the remaining husks, dough and jackfruit mixture. Cover the tamales with another damp towel. Pour boiling water in the bottom of the broiler pan; insert the rack.

  • Carefully transfer the tamales to the oven; steam until the filling is firm, about 30 minutes, adding water as necessary to maintain a depth of about 1/2 inch. Let stand for 10 minutes. Serve with the tomatillo sauce.

Nutrition Facts

361 calories; protein 8.9g 18% DV; carbohydrates 53.6g 17% DV; exchange other carbs 3.5; dietary fiber 9.7g 39% DV; sugars 6.1g; fat 14.6g 22% DV; saturated fat 6.5g 33% DV; cholesterol 25.4mg 9% DV; vitamin a iu 3851.5IU 77% DV; vitamin c 52.5mg 88% DV; folate 19mcg 5% DV; calcium 246mg 25% DV; iron 2.5mg 14% DV; magnesium 71mg 25% DV; potassium 466.1mg 13% DV; sodium 448mg 18% DV; thiamin 0.3mg 25% DV.