Montezuma’s Pudding

Serves 8 generously. Another dish to easily get past a meat-eater! (Vegan, Gluten Free)


Tomato sauce

1 large onion

3-6 cloves garlic (to taste)

2 400g tins chopped tomatoes

3 tablespoons (approx.) tomato paste

½ cup red lentils

1 small tin chipotle peppers in sauce.

1 teaspoon paprika.

1 teaspoon olive oil (optional, you can use 2 tablespoons of water instead)

The rest…

2 tins refried beans Look for beans with no added oil if possible (just beans and salt), or make your own.

4 cups cooked spinach, kale or lambs quarters (or a mixture). This is about 2 large bunches spinach plus one large bunch kale before cooking. Chop finely and steam until well wilted. Drain and cool. Set aside.

14 (or more to taste) pitted kalamata olives. Chop medium/fine.

2 400g tins sweetcorn, drained.

2 tablespoons mixed herbs

large pinch salt, and black pepper.

2-4 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 large packet authentic corn tortillas (this is important as the processed ones use refined corn and the authentic ones use fermented whole corn which is much healthier). In NZ, Tio Pablo tortillas are ideal.


Pre-heat oven to 180° C

To make the tomato sauce:

  1. Chop onion finely and gently fry in the olive oil until soft using a medium sized pan.
  2. Meanwhile heat a frying pan and roast the garlic cloves (skins on) until just soft. (they may get a couple of black spots). Turn over occasionally. Cool and then peel and chop roughly.
  3. Add garlic to onions and then add all the rest of the sauce ingredients and simmer until the lentils are cooked. If it is too thick, add some more water. Cool and remove the chipotle peppers. Leave in as many as you want depending on your ability to eat spice!
  4. Blend the mixture finely with a whizz stick.

Putting the dish together:

  1. In a large oven dish (or two smaller ones, but deep is good), pour the tomato sauce into the bottom. Sprinkle the nutritional yeast over the top.
  2. Immerse a corn tortilla in water and place on a hot, dry, frying pan for about 30 secs, turn over and repeat. Place a layer of corn tortillas over the tomato sauce.
  3. Spread the refried beans over this layer of corn tortillas.
  4. Place all the greens on top and then sprinkle the chopped olives over this.
  5. Add another layer of corn tortillas.
  6. Spread a layer of sweetcorn over the top and sprinkle mixed herbs, salt, pepper and more nutritional yeast (if desired) on the top. Traditional recipes put cheese on top, so you can sprinkle a little grated cheese, or some savoury yeast flakes, or it’s fine just as it is.
  7. Place in the oven for 25-40 mins until starting to turn golden and piping hot.

Serve with red cabbage with lime and coriander salad (as pictured – but note recipe in the link is for 50 people, you’ll need to scale it down, or the Montezuma’s Pudding up!), brown rice, guacamole, Brussels sprouts….whatever you fancy!


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