Cheesy Tempeh & Black Bean Sourdough Tamale Pie

It’s a weekly task, figuring out what to do with all that discard sourdough starter. I can’t stand the thought of throwing out something perfectly useful, especially when I’ve put so much time into it. Thus, I prefer to utilize it in creative and interesting ways!

Today’s recipe incorporates sourdough discard (unfed, straight from the fridge starter) in a semi-traditional masa. It’s then baked atop a yummy tempeh & black bean filling, with lots of gooey cheese, to make a delicious vegetarian tamale pie!

I love to cook this meal in my Dutch oven for an easy, one pot dinner! However, if you don’t have a Dutch oven you could always cook the filling in a pan and transfer to an oven-safe dish prior to baking. It’s a filling meal that everyone will enjoy!


Ingredients are all organic, when available.

For the sourdough masa:

  • 1 cup sourdough discard starter
  • 1 cup masa harina*
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil**
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

*Masa harina is a traditional Mexican flour used for tamales, corn tortillas, ect. I highly suggest using this flour and not substituting with cornmeal or any other flours for the best results. Bob’s Red Mill makes a non-GMO variety that works wonderfully!

**You want the coconut oil at room temperature so that it is not too hard and not liquefied. You could also substitute lard or shortening if you prefer.


For the filling:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 pkg tempeh (8 ounces)
  • 1 can black beans (15 ounces) with liquid
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 ounce can)
  • 2 cups cheese* (I used havarti & white cheddar)
  • Splash white wine vinegar
  • Capful of liquid smoke**
  • Spices: Chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, mustard powder, salt, and pepper.***

*This recipe is easily veganized, simply omit the cheese or substitute with your favorite vegan version!

**Liquid smoke is optional but highly recommended! I love the Stubb’s brand because it’s made with minimal ingredients, organic soy, and is manufactured in Austin, Texas!

***I didn’t measure the spices, please adjust per your personal taste.



First, you want to make the masa. Add all the ingredients to your mixing bowl and blend well. I like to use my KitchenAid stand mixer with the paddle for this, but you could also use a hand mixer or whisk by hand. You want the dough to be the texture of hummus or cake frosting. Place bowl in the fridge while you prepare the filling and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.


To make the filling, begin by sauteing your veggies over medium high heat. I start with the onions, cook for a few minutes, then add the carrots, celery, and lastly the garlic. When the veggies are tender, crumble in the tempeh and cook for another minute or two. Reduce heat to medium. Add the full can of black beans, liquid and all, to your pot along with the can of tomato sauce. Add white wine vinegar, liquid smoke, and seasonings to taste.


Remove masa from fridge and whip it thoroughly one last time. Top the filling with 1 cup of super melty cheese (I used havarti here). Next, pour the masa into the center of the pot and gently spread it outwards with a spatula, trying your best not to mix the filling/cheese with the masa. Bake at 400 degrees with the lid on for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake another 10 minutes. Add the second layer of cheese on top (cheddar for me) and bake the final 5 minutes. (45 minutes total.)


Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 5 minutes before serving. I topped mine with sliced avocado and lacto-fermented curtido. It would also be delicious with guacamole, salsa, and/or sour cream! Or nothing at all! πŸ˜›


I hope you enjoy this simple recipe to use up that ‘discard’ starter! Until next time!

Adios amigos πŸ˜‰


4 thoughts on “Cheesy Tempeh & Black Bean Sourdough Tamale Pie

    • It’s yummy and you could definitely sub 1/2 lb ground meat instead. Though, tempeh isn’t scary at all! It actually takes on whatever flavor you cook in it, with a slight nuttiness. πŸ™‚

      I have made pupusas many times! I love them!! And I make a lacto-fermented curtido that is just about my favorite thing on the planet!! Just had some in my bean and cheese tacos for dinner. πŸ™‚ I’ll have to check out your pickled version. Thanks!

  1. This is on my list! I love tamale and I love masa. I found your site looking for a sourdough tortilla recipe … will be making yours this afternoon.

    Re discard: I use most of mine to make these crackers:

    I use olive oil instead of butter, add a bit of nutritional yeast for some light “cheese” flavor (I eat cheese but the nyeast seems to do better than cheese or cheese powder for me) and I use a pasta roller (no frills Atlas) to roll them.

    BUT, will probably be using more to make your tortillas. I love that you tested freezing the dough before rolling. Thanks and I look forward to cruising your site for more goodies!

    • Thanks Liz! I have tried that cracker recipe and it is so yummy! I’ll have to try it with nooch next time and see how we like it. πŸ˜€

      I hope you enjoy the tortillas and the tamale pie! The tortillas thaw perfectly from the freezer. I do it all the time! See you around! ❀

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