Skinny Tamale Pie – Boswell Style

This Skinny Tamale pie is my version of my Grandmother's famous recipe from the 1950s. Everything you expect with half the calories.  Enjoy it with a salad and a glass of ice-cold beer.
Skinny Tamale Pie

Last Updated on March 16, 2022

Skinny Tamale Pie
This Skinny Tamale pie is my version of my Grandmother’s famous recipe from the 1950s.

This Skinny Tamale pie is my version of my Grandmother’s famous recipe from the 1950s. Everything you expect with half the calories.  Enjoy it with a salad and a glass of ice-cold beer.
You may remember that when I visited my cousin in South Carolina, part of the reason I did that was to get some of my grandmother’s recipes. I made both her Lemon Jello Cake and her tamale pie when I was there.

The tamale pie was just like when my grandmother would make it, delicious, but I thought it a little heavy and fatty. My Nana had her tall husband, Warren Boswell, her sons, Warren Jr., Hamilton, Charles, and Robert, and her daughter, Georgia.  That’s a lot of people and all of them were tall, strong, and worked hard. My grandmother co-owned several pharmacies, my grandfather was an inventor and had a fleet of waste management trucks.  Her children were also entrepreneurs, a minister, a principal, a nurse, and a US Army major.

skinny-tamale-pie-original-recipe-grace-majors-boswell
My Grandmother, Grace Majors Boswell, and her Tamale Pie recipe.

Skinny Tamale Pie – Boswell Style

Looking at the original recipe, it called for two pounds of ground beef and half a pound of sausage.   The original recipe comes in at a whopping 568 calories and 35 grams of fat.  It was a big family, but that’s still a lot of fat.  When I got home from our trip, I filed the recipe away to look at again.  Then, I had some health concerns and my doctor told me I needed to limit my fat intake.  I still wanted to make Nana’s tamale pie, but I had to skinny it down – without losing flavor.

I saw a jar of Ham Base from the Better Than Bullion people and decided to try it.  It gives the flavor of ham, but not the fat.  I knew this was the answer to my tamale pie dilemma.  If you can’t find Ham Base at your market, of course, it’s available on Amazon. My Skinny Tamale Pie comes in at 212 calories with only 7 grams of fat. I would say that’s a big improvement, right?

Skinny Tamale Pie

Skinny Tamale Pie Boswell Style

This Skinny Tamale pie is my version of my Grandmother’s famous recipe from the 1950s. Everything you expect with half the calories.  Enjoy it with a salad and a glass of ice-cold beer.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Resting: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cuisine: South-Western USA
Diet: Low Calorie, Low Fat
Difficulty: Moderate
Newsletter: 2021-09-30
Servings (slide to adjust): 8
Calories: 212kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ green pepper, chopped
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon ham base
  • ½ 10 oz can corn
  • 1 10 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 5 oz can pitted olives
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 10 oz can diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup cheddar, grated
Ingredients necessary for the recipe step are in italic.

Instructions

  • Mise en place
    Skinny Tamale Pie
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 green pepper, 1/2 onion, 1 cloves garlic
    Saute onion, garlic and pepper in fat until the onions are translucent.
    Skinny Tamale Pie
  • 1 pound ground beef, 1/2 teaspoon ham base
    Add meat and ham base and cook until meat is thoroughly cooked.
    Skinny Tamale Pie
  • 1/2 10 oz can corn, 1 10 oz can tomato sauce, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
    Add corn, tomato sauce, chili powder and cumin seeds.
    Skinny Tamale Pie
  • 1 cups cornmeal, 1 cup hot water
    Pour boiling water over cornmeal and mix thoroughly.
  • 1 5 oz can pitted olives, 1 10 oz can diced tomatoes
    Add to meat mixture along with olives and diced tomatoes.
    Skinny Tamale Pie
  • Lightly grease a casserole dish.
    Skinny Tamale Pie
  • 1/2 cup cheddar
    Pour into casserole and top with cheese.
    Skinny Tamale Pie
  • Bake at 350 F/ 176 C for about 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly browned.
    Skinny Tamale Pie
  • Serve with a big salad. Enjoy

Video

Notes

This casserole is easy to double, just double the ingredients and enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 217gCalories: 212kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 15gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 357mgPotassium: 428mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3g
Got Questions? Let me know!Mention @arbpen or tag #arbpen!
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About arbpen

As an award-winning and serious home cook, I seriously believe there is no reason why you can't have a restaurant quality meal at home. One of the good things about eating at home is to save money, so armed with a good menu plan, a shopping list, and an appreciation of good food, we can all have gourmet food on a budget.

15 Responses to Skinny Tamale Pie – Boswell Style

  1. 5 stars
    I liked your writing so much! The story you wrote tugged my heart enough to want to try the recipe. I’m glad I did. It was delicious and even my picky kids loved it.

  2. Sylvia M says:

    5 stars
    Five stars!

  3. Alice says:

    5 stars
    ❤️❤️❤️

  4. Red says:

    3 stars
    I didn’t have cornmeal so I used blueberry muffin mix. It turned out sweet. Is it supposed to be sweet? If it’s supposed to be sweet, then I don’t like it.

  5. Buddy J says:

    5 stars
    I remember eating this as a kid and really liking it. Thanks for doing this.

  6. Jody Sheesley says:

    5 stars
    I made it with ground turkey and it was delish! Thanks 🙂

  7. Edward Stope says:

    2 stars
    Wow! That was too spicy. We didn’t like it. Sorry.

  8. Donald says:

    5 stars
    My grandmother used to make this, too. I agree it always seemed a little fatty. I made it your way, and I really liked it. I added chipotle powder so it had a smokey flavor. Great stuff!

  9. Andrey Vlasov says:

    5 stars
    To each his own, I guess. It wasn’t quite as spicy as I like it so I added some habanero to it. Just right.

  10. Linda S says:

    5 stars
    This brought back a lot of memories. My grandmother made this, too, and we all loved it. I put extra olives in because we really like olives. Thanks for bringing back the memories.

  11. Robert Pleme says:

    5 stars
    Good stuff! I subscribed to your newsletter, too.

  12. Claudia G says:

    4 stars
    I don’t understand how to make this. Can someone help me?

  13. Sherman says:

    5 stars
    It was good.

  14. Nikki Krakauer “JustTabandMe” says:

    This recipe, sans “ham base”, is exactly as written on the side of the Albers Cornmeal box (circa 1948). I’ve been making this for 65 years now. How is this recipe considered “skinny”? I’m always looking to improve the quality of the foods I fix.

    • arbpen says:

      I didn’t know the recipe was on the Albers Cornmeal box – and that’s the kind of cornmeal I use. Thank you for that. As to it being considered “skinny”, my grandmother’s original recipe comes in at 568 calories and 35 grams of fat, while this one comes in at 212 calories and 7 grams of fat. It’s not fat-free, but it’s less than it was, and still just as tasty.