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Nov 19, 2007 11:56 AM

Vegetarian Tamales

Where could I find freshly prepared home style vegetarian tamales (cheese, vegetables, peppers) in the East Bay to serve and to freeze for later? Thanks in advance.

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  1. Don't tamales always contain lard?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Glencora

      Traditional (& best) ones do. But lately I've been noticing "nuevo" and "fresh Cal-Mex" places offering vegetarian tamales made without lard - I think they use vegetable oil.

    2. Sorry to clarify. The lard is fine - we just do not wish to have pork or chicken stuffing. Thanks.

      3 Replies
      1. re: SNDP

        Lard does not a vegetarian tamale make! And by no means do tamales have to contain lard. It may be harder to make a good tamale with vegetable shortening, but they exist. For example. Primavera at the Ferry Building Farmer's market uses no pork derived lubricants to create their relatively tasty tamales. Sorry, no east bay recommendation, just a comment.

        1. re: Neilo

          Primavera uses butter instead of lard.

          1. re: Neilo

            Primavera sells at the Tuesday Berkeley Farmers Market.

        2. I've bought vegetarian tamales at Tacubuya in Fouth Street. They are sweet potato or pumpkin, wrapped in banana leaves, if I recall correctly. I've frozen them and they keep just fine.

          When I asked, they did not use lard for these.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rln

            I recently had a squash tamale from Tacubaya that was great! No lard, no meat, and I'm not even vegetarian! It wasn't traditional by any means, but it was darned good!

          2. All-Star Tamales! Their tamales are very good, IMHO, and they have six different fillings that meet your specefications (the last six on their menu), assuming you really are OK with lard.


            1 Reply
            1. re: Xiao Yang

              All Star Tamales do not use lard F.Y.I. They use vegetable soy bean oil in all of their tamales.

            2. Look for Donna's Tamales at the Temescal Farmer's Market and at the Ferry Plaza one, too. Look online to see the ingredients and other locations to purchase them.


              2 Replies
              1. re: yerioy

                I've found Donna's Tamales to be disappointingly bland, to tell the truth.

                1. re: Xiao Yang

                  Some of the Primavera varieties are great. Monterey Market generally carries several varieties.