Healthy Baja Mediterranean Fusion Mexican Cuisine

Vegetarian Mushroom Tamales, Swiss Chard Wrapped

Vegetarian Mushroom Tamales, Swiss Chard Wrapped

Make these vegetarian mushroom parmesan cheese filled tamales wrapped in Swiss chard leaves without corn husks for a special occasion or weekend meal with friends.


Corn husks are readily available in every Baja market and they are traditionally used to make Mexican tamales. They lend an earthy (dusty) corn flavor to tamales which I did not miss with these flavorful Baja Mediterranean tamales. The mushroom parmesan filling is reminiscent of mushroom ravioli with a Baja twist. I can find parmesan cheese in Baja but it is a specialty item and can be expensive. A substitute would be aged cotija Mexican cheese. The filling would be great in empanadas, quesadillas or on baguette slices at a tapas party.

“I like to cook with wine and sometimes I even put it in the dish.”
Pair a hearty Mexican red wine, vino tinto, with these mushroom parmesan tamales and remember to save a glass for your guests. You can easily make them vegan by substituting minced walnuts or vegan cheese for the parmesan.

You need large fresh Swiss chard leaves and a pound or more of mushrooms. I used cremimi but any combination of white button mushrooms and exotic mushrooms, if you can find or grow them, would be delicious.  The masa is vegan and homemade without lard.

Although these are somewhat time consuming to make, the reward of having a unique healthier Baja Mediterranean tamale to show your guests is well worth the effort. Make them with love just like your abuelita would. Serve with red or green salsa, fruit and more vegetables.

I’m taking these tamales to Fiesta Friday.

Vegetarian Mushroom Parmesan Tamales, Swiss Chard Wrapped, No Husks

July 26, 2017
: 45 min
: 60 min
: 1 hr 45 min

Vegetarian mushroom Parmesan filled tamales wrapped in Swiss chard and no corn husks. EasIly made vegan without the cheese. Vegetarian masa, no lard.


  • 12 large leaves of fresh Swiss chard
  • Mushroom filling
  • 1 pound mushrooms any combination
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion chopped
  • 2 gloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 4 ounces parmesan cheese shredded
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Masa dough
  • 2 cups Masa flour, not corn meal. You can buy masa dough but it is usually made with lard.
  • 1/2 cup olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Step 1 Finely chop onion and garlic. Sauté in olive oil until translucent. Finely chop mushrooms, I used a food processor. Add mushrooms, herbs, dash of salt, black pepper and wine. Sauté on medium heat until most of the water evaporates. Stir in parmesan cheese. Process mushroom and cheese mixture in the food processor until paste like.
  • Step 2 Mix masa ingredients with a spoon or by hand, adding water 1/2 cup at a time until dough is soft like thick frosting.
  • Step 3 Pat dry the chard leaves. Remove stalk and cut 3 inches of tough stem from the remaining leaves. Place 2 tablespoons of masa dough on the top 1/3 of the chard leaf and pat down with your hand. Top with 2 tablespoons of mushroom mixture. Roll chard leave over masa and mushrooms, pulling in the sides and securing with a toothpick, making an envelope.
  • Step 4 Steam in a steamer basket (I used a roasting pan with a rack.) for 60 minutes. Check your water level every 10 minutes. When cooked the masa will be firm and moist.


Vegetarian mushroom tamales wrapped in Swiss chard leaves

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