Garden Hearts Vegetarian Tamales

Menu Part: 
Cuisine Type: 
8 servings

For a true California take on the Asian-inspired lettuce wrap, these tamales are wrapped using a romaine leaf that has first been blanched. Bringing even more spice into the mix, the tamale is topped with a tomatillo salsa infused with cilantro, lime juice and jalapeno peppers.


4 Garden Hearts Petite Hearts of Romaine Lettuce
2-1/2 cups masa
3 cups vegetable stock (warm)
3/4 cup butter (melted)
1 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1-1/2 cups chopped artichoke hearts
2 cups grated Monterey jack cheese
cumin, salt and pepper to taste
cilantro sprigs for garnish

Tomatillo Salsa:
1-1/2 lb. tomatillos
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1/4 tsp. sugar
Salt to taste


1. Beginning with the salsa, remove papery husks from tomatillos and rinse well. Cut in half and place cut side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil for 5 to 7 min. until skin is lightly blackened.

2. Place tomatillos, onion, cilantro (reserving 8 springs for garnish), lime juice, jalapeno peppers, and sugar in a food processor or blender and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed. Season with salt to taste and refrigerate.

3. Combine masa, vegetable stock and 1/2 cup of butter; mix until it is a smooth consistency.

4. Gently add the sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and cheese.

5. Season with cumin, salt and pepper. If mixture is too dry, add a little more vegetable stock. Cover mixture to keep it moist.

6. Rinse the Garden Hearts® and separate into leaves. Cut off the end of the stems so all leaves are 6 to 7 inches long.

7. Blanch the Garden Hearts® leaves for 15 sec., shock them in ice water, remove, and place on paper towels.

8. Take about 3 to 4 oz. of the masa mixture and roll into the shape of the cylinder. You'll need a total of 16 pieces, each about 6 in. long and 1 in. in diameter.

9. Wrap each piece of masa in 3 to 4 Garden Hearts® leaves and then wrap each tamale tightly in plastic wrap.  When finished, chiffonade the remainder of the romaine lettuce into small strips and set aside.

10. Steam tamales for 20 to 25 min. in a double boiler.

11. Let the steamed tamales rest for 10 min. and remove them gently from the plastic wrap.

12. As the tamales rest, sauté the remaining lettuce chiffonade in the remaining 1/4 cup of melted butter. Season with cumin, salt and pepper.

13. To serve, place a thin layer of the sautéed lettuce on a plate, place one whole tamale on the lettuce, cut the second tamale into 1 in. wheels and place in front of the whole tamale.

14. Serve with tomatillo salsa.

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