Low-Carb Tamale Pie Recipe

Low-Carb Tamale Pie
Low-Carb Tamale Pie. Photo by Laura Dolson
Total Time 45 min
Prep 15 min, Cook 30 min
Yield 6 ample servings

This is a low-carb version of one of the common ways of making tamale pie. It has a relatively thin top crust (and no bottom crust). You can use almond meal and whey protein powder for the crust or easily vary it. If you want a "cornier" crust, you can swap out some of the almond meal for corn meal, and add a tablespoon of water for each tablespoon of corn meal you switch. There will be 1 gram of extra carbohydrate per serving for every tablespoon of corn meal. Also, if you don't have any whey protein powder around, you can leave it out - the crust will just be a little thinner.


  • 1/2 chopped raw onion
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef (I used 20% fat for the calculations)
  • 1 small green Bell pepper (or 1/2 large)
  • 1 small red Bell pepper (or 1/2 large)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (or to taste)
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes (about 15 oz)
  • 1 small can chopped ripe​ olives (about 4 oz)
  • salt and pepper
  • Crust
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup plain whey protein powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup juice from the tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (for color)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or a Mexican cheese blend)


Heat oven to 350° F.

1) Drain the tomatoes, and save the juice.

2) Put the onion and the beef into a large skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, breaking up the beef as it cooks. When some of the fat from the beef is rendered out*, add the green and red peppers, and the chili powder. Cook until the beef is cooked through.

3) Add the drained tomatoes and the olives, and cook for another minute. Salt to taste.

4) Mix the ingredients for the crust together, except for the cheese.

5) Pour the beef and vegetables into a 9 X 13-inch pan, pour the batter for the crust over the mixture, and spread it evenly over the top. Sprinkle the cheese over the batter.

6) Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until crust begins to brown.

I usually cut it up into 12 squares, with 2 squares making a serving.

* If you want to reduce calories, pour off some of the fat.

Serve with a green side salad with a low-carb Lemon Garlic Salad Dressing or this Sugar-Free Thousand Island Salad Dressing.

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