Deconstructed Pork Tamales

Delicious Pork “Tamales”

Sometimes recipes just kind of come together.  I wasn’t sure what to cook one night and after rummaging through my fridge and pantry I had a pork roast,  some black beans and a roll of polenta – this is what came of it.  It’s not my lowest calorie meal but at 426 calories per serving still pretty low cal, and a lot better than having a couple “real” tamales.  Serving this with some steamed cauliflower and/or a salad and you’ve got a full meal for about 550 calories.

Although the polenta delivers a good dose of carbs it is a complex carbohydrate and therefore has a low glycemic index, it is also gluten free for those avoiding gluten.  Polenta is high in Vitamins A & C as well as potassium, phosphorous and magnesium and contains small amounts of iron, zinc, thiamin and niacin.  You get a good serving of fiber and protein from the black beans and lots of protein from the pork roast.  One thing I love about this meal is that it feels like it’s cheating, you get to eat spicy/meaty “Mexican” food but not destroy your fat and calories for the day.


Serves 4

Click here to view/print this recipe from Google Docs.


  • 1 lb lean pork tenderloin roast, shredded
  • 1 lb prepared polenta cut into 12 slices
  • 2 cups black beans
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • 4 Tbsp low fat sour cream
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and garlic to taste.
  • Hot sauce


Trim any visible fat from pork roast and season as desired.  You can marinate it if you choose or use a dry rub of ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Simply coat the roast with spices and allow to rest in refrigerator overnight.  Roast can be slow smoked, cooked in a crock pot or in the oven.  Cook to an internal temperature of 160F for medium doneness or 170F for well done.  Make sure to cook the roast slowly and keep it moist, you want it to be very tender and easily shredded when done.

When the roast is almost done heat 1 can of black beans and grill the polenta.  Season each side of the polenta with salt and pepper and grill over medium heat (can use grill pan or regular skillet) until heated through.

Arrange three slices of polenta on each plate and top with 4 oz of the shredded pork and ½ cup of black beans.  Top with sour scream, hot sauce, salsa, diced onions and/or jalapenos as you choose.

BASIC NUTRITION INFO (per serving : ¼ recipe)

  • Calories: 426 per serving
  • Carbohydrates: 44 grams
  • Fat: 8 grams
  • Protein: 44 grams