I found these in the freezer section at New Seasons, our local what-Whole-Foods-charges-plus-a-dollar store, which I only went to because as usual I was running late for eight things and needed to grab some groceries fast…and honestly, they just caught my eye. Texas Tamale Company sells loads of tamales, sauces, and other stuff online and will pack it up cold and ship it to you, but it’s insanely expensive. At the store they were only ridiculously expensive.
As far as I can tell, the Black Bean variety is the only vegan one in the bunch. In fact, when you search “vegan” on the website, it asks you if you meant “bean,” because it doesn’t know the world “vegan.” Seriously, everything about this makes me not want to like them.
But they’re vegan frozen tamales and all I have to do is throw them in the steamer basket and wait 20 minutes for a yummy, healthy, unprocessed meal to be made for me. The package includes microwave directions too, but I have an irrational hatred of microwaves (it’s personal), so steaming it is.
If you’re intimidated about steaming, stop it now. Pick up one of these UFO-shaped metal guys, stick it pretty much any size pot, and pour in just enough water so the basket itself stays dry. Open ‘er up and put your food in it. Let the water boil at a low setting until your food is hot and delicious. Now laugh at yourself for being intimidated.
To round out my lunch, I topped the tamales with some salsa nopalitos (cactus salsa), also an impulse buy. It’s just cactus, tomato, chile, onion, cilantro, lime, apple vinegar, and spices. And any excuse for avocado and local darling Juanita’s chips, I’m in.
And yes, someday I will get off my butt and make my own tamales. Someday.