Cornbread and Pinto Bean Shepherd’s Pie Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Cornbread and Pinto Bean Shepherd’s Pie

Serve this dish with taco toppings (such as salsa, chile and bell peppers, radishes, and shredded lettuce) that can be sprinkled over each serving.



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3 Tbs. tomato paste
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1 Tbs. olive oil
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1 large red onion, cut into ¼-inch dice (2½ cups), divided
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2½ Tbs. chili powder
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3 medium plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (1½ cups), divided
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6 Tbs. whole-grain cornbread and muffin mix, such as Arrowhead Mills
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1⅓ cups plain nonfat Greek yogurt, divided
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1 large egg
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1½ Tbs. sugar


1. Place oven rack in top position, and preheat oven to 425°F. Coat 9-inch pie dish with cooking spray. Whisk reserved bean liquid with tomato paste in bowl.

2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 cups onion. Cover, and cook 4 minutes, or until onion begins to soften, stirring occasionally. Add chili powder, and stir 10 seconds to coat onions. Stir in tomato paste mixture, 1 cup tomatoes, and then beans. Bring to simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered, 6 minutes, or until flavors blend and chili liquids thicken. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

3. Meanwhile, combine cornbread mix, 1/3 cup yogurt, egg, sugar, and 1 Tbs. water in medium bowl.

4. Spread chili beans in prepared pie dish. Pour cornbread batter over beans, spreading with back of spoon. Bake 
10 minutes, or until cornbread is set and golden.

5. Meanwhile, finely chop remaining 1/2 cup onion. Place in small bowl; mix in remaining 1/2 cup tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

6. Divide shepherd’s pie among shallow bowls. Serve with tomato salsa and remaining 1 cup yogurt.

Nutrition Information: 

22 g
Total Fat: 
6 g
Saturated Fat: 
1 g
63 g
47 mg
556 mg
16 g
20 g
Serves 4

Comments on this Recipe

Why? Why don't you just say make cornbread and provide a link to a recipe. How stupid to use package mixes. Cornbread is easy to make. I am fed up with reading what I think are going to be great recipes on this site and discovering that they are made with bottled sauces or package mixes. Why do you have such a low opinion of your readers that you don't think they can measure ingredients?

I had the same response but then I figured the mix was the only way to keep this under 30 minutes. I think halving a regular cornbread recipe might work but may take longer to brown. Other similar recipes using a full batch of cornbread batter claim to take an hour

Yumm. I found the lack of veggies a concern. I added some diced zucchini for variety and diced poblano pepper for more flavor. In addition to the tomatoes, red onion garnish, I added a an avocado slices for some good fats.

I added chopped green bell peppers and minced garlic to the onions. I think they used the cornbread mix in order to save time. Served topped with salsa and greek yogurt. Served steamed spinach on the side. We really enjoyed the dish

Looks good

Has anyone tried freezing this dish in smaller portions for a weeknight reheat?

Yeah, what Teresa said. Why even tell us to use canned pinto beans? We're perfectly capable of growing the beans ourselves, picking them, and drying them. While were at it we can press our own olive oil, make our own tomato paste and ferment and squeeze our own yogurt. I'll grab the one egg from a random chicken coop that I spot on the way back from the sugar cane field. Oh, and I forgot about picking, drying and pulverizing the chili peppers. All said and done, I can easily make this recipe the real way in about 6 months.

Delicious. The whole family loved this. I made it a one-dish meal by cooking in a deep cast iron skillet that I could take from the stove to the oven.

Excellent! This tastes delicious and my 16 month old ate two bowls! I substituted the following: two cans of diced tomatoes and just used Jiffy corn bread mix. I followed the Jiffy directions for the topping.

Wonders why some people need to vent their unhappiness in this forum. If you don't have anything nice to say, how about not saying anything at all? :) Great recipie...and have a blessed day!

I noticed someone used Jiffy Cornbread mix - it contains lard, fyi.

Let's be nice! If you want to modify it that's great but if not then do it all from scratch. I think it's a great sounding recipe and worth trying!

I think it's great to have a variety of options in the recipes. Some us are families with scant time to make all bits from scratch. In a past life, yes, but as a working mom, n ot so much. Thanks for this one - making it right now.

Oh my, I just want to know if the recipe was good. I'm a new vegetarian and love this site but, some vegetarians sound a little mean.

Check it out

I liked it a lot and so did my non-veg family. I did add Boca crumbles as I sauteed the onions, and instead of a cornbread mix made up 1/2 of the dry-ingredients part of a cornbread recipe on the cornmeal package. That worked fine, although it needed to be in the oven a bit longer than the 10 minutes called for with a mix. Oh, and I used a can of diced tomato rather than plum tomatos, as that's what I had at hand.

GREAT! My practically carnivorous fiancé liked it, too. So it is a keeper. I think I'll make more of the cornbread topping next time.

I have made this a couple times now, trying different things. I find that I like to add a Mexican Chipotle Field Roast link crumbled up. That gives it some more spice (i love spicy foods). Diced up sweet potato or butternut squash is a good addition as well!

How many servings does this make?

I am very happy to have this site available as a resource. I have been Macrobiotic, Vegetarian, now exploring Vegan; all combined, 30 years worth of adventure and personal growth. This all should be fun not another frustration. Thanks for all recipes and posts. Enjoy! :)

I have a question about the "cornbread and muffin mix" - would it be ok (since it's all I have at the moment) to use regular (hotrize) cornmeal?

This has another name if you want to search:tamale pie. Try chiles in adobo sauce to give it a good kick (america's test kitchen has a killer recipe for this dish-everyone at the potluck wanted the leftovers-but theirs took way more than half an hour). Also grits/polenta works well as a topping

How is this Vegan? It is not egg or dairy-free?