Virtual Book Club Part 1: Clean Eating for Busy Families

Clean Eating Pinto and Kidney Bean Tamale Pie

Michelle Dudash, author of Clean Eating for Busy Families

Hi all! Hopefully by now you’ve all dived into reading my book Clean Eating for Busy Families. If not, it’s pretty easy to at least peruse the introductory chapter on clean eating.

What are your thoughts so far about Clean Eating for Busy Families?

The number one question I hear is, “What is clean eating?” Clean eating is enjoying whole foods in their least processed state, as well as opting for in-season food produced as close to home as possible, whether that means in your country, region, state, nearby farmers market or even your back yard.

What does clean eating mean to you?

How do you currently “eat clean”? What do you do to ensure you stick to a clean eating plan?

For me, keeping my kitchen stocked properly is key. I work mostly from home and love being at home (just ask my husband!), so I eat mostly from my kitchen, rather than out. I always keep a running list of what we’ll need next. I plan out at least one dinner for the week and the needed ingredients. And I batch cook whenever possible to yield at least a couple dinners plus a few lunches from one clean eating recipe. One great example of that is my recipe for Pinto & Kidney Bean Tamale Pie from my book. It tastes delicious as leftovers. Sometimes I bake it in muffin tins and freeze the individual leftover portions. Get the recipe below!

What is your favorite recipe so far that you’ve made from the book? Or are there any that you really want to try?

One of my favorite meatless recipes from the book is my Pinto & Kidney Bean Tamale Pie. It tastes delicious as leftovers. Sometimes I bake it in muffin tins and freeze the individual leftover portions. Get the recipe below!

What are the staple clean eating ingredients you always keep stocked?

I make sure to keep fresh snacking in-season fruits and vegetables on hand, plus convenient dried fruits, nuts and hummus. Right now I keep apples, pears, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, and avocados stocked. And always pre-washed lettuce mix.

Another question people often ask, including book club participant Lisa H. is, “Is clean eating expensive?”

It depends on what you are buying. Making a vegetarian meal from scratch with clean eating ingredients will most likely cost less per serving compared to going through the fast food drive through. Organic meats and poultry tend to be more expensive though, which is another good reason to use less meat in your recipes and rely on more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. If you are buying in-season produce, that helps a lot too, since it is less expensive (think strawberries in June compared to January). Frozen and dried fruits and vegetables can be considered clean, too, as long as any added ingredients are clean.

What else would you like to know? Tune in next week for Part 2.

Clean Eating Pinto and Kidney Bean Tamale Pie

Hearty Pinto & Kidney Bean Tamale Pie

Half chili, half cornbread, this dish is satisfying and delicious. Feel free to use cornbread

mix as a shortcut, with enough batter for six muffins being the ideal amount to pour on top.

For filling:

1 tablespoon (15 ml) expeller-pressed grapeseed or canola oil

1 small onion, finely diced (about 1 cup, or 160 g)

2 teaspoons (6 g) minced garlic

1 (15-ounce, or 425 g) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15-ounce, or 425 g) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (14.5-ounce, or 390 g) can diced tomatoes with green pepper, celery, and onion

2 teaspoons (5 g) chili powder

2 tablespoons (28 ml) lime juice

2 tablespoons (28 ml) reduced sodium soy sauce

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For topping:

½ cup (70 g) whole-grain corn flour or fine-ground whole-grain cornmeal

½ cup (60 g) whole-wheat pastry flour (or white whole-wheat flour)

2 teaspoons (9 g) baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup (120 ml) low-fat milk

1 large egg

3 tablespoons (45 ml) canola oil

1½ teaspoons (10 g) light agave nectar

Garnishes: salsa, plain Greek yogurt, and avocado slices

Preheat oven to 425ºF (220ºC, or gas mark 7).

To make the filling: Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add oil.  When oil begins to shimmer, add onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, chili powder, lime juice, soy sauce, and pepper and stir, cooking until hot. Spread evenly into a 9 x 9-inch (23 x 23 cm) baking dish.

To make the topping: Stir together flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Combine milk, egg, oil, and agave nectar in a small bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Pour batter over filling and spread evenly, manipulating as little as possible to avoid overworking. Bake until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Allow to rest for 5 minutes and then cut into 6 servings.


You might also enjoy:

Announcing Virtual Clean Eating Book Club Event on!

Clean Eating Expert Shares Healthy Breakfast Ideas with HuffPost Live

Clean Eating Cookbook Author Q & A with

Nutrition Expert Shares 5 Principles of Clean Eating with EatingWell


  1. Lisa H says:

    This looks delicious! I like the idea of cooking the tamale pie in muffin tins for individual servings…something that kids really enjoy eating!

    1. Lisa,
      Yeah, you can call them chile and cornbread cupcakes! Anything with the word “cupcake” gets my 4-year old excited.

  2. Terry F says:

    This looks great I agree. Could I just omit the flour to make this Gluten free? I love using agave nectar in cooking and never thought about it in this type of recipe.

    1. Hi Terry,

      Thank you!

      I must admit I’m not a GF baking expert. I think you might need to substitute a GF flour for the whole-wheat flour, as just omitting the flour might make the bread pretty dense. Maybe check out a GF cornbread recipe and see what they do.

      Good luck!

    2. Lisa H says:

      Bob’s Red Mill makes a beautiful GF flour mix. You can substitute it 1:1 with regular flour in this recipe.
      For tips on substituting GF flour in recipes, I have used this link:

      1. Hi Lisa,

        Thank you for sharing that info. Good to know! I love Bob’s Red Mill products. That should also work in a muffin recipe, right? My aunt asked me recently.


        1. Lisa H says:

          Ah, I wish it were that simple! Substituting GF flour in a recipe depends on the type of baked good you are making. Karina’s wonderful GF website has tips for substitutions.

      2. Terry F says:

        I love Red Mill too. I will have to try it and see what happens.

  3. Cori Lewis says:

    I love the book. I have made recipes out of it for the past few weeks and have loved them all. I just picked it up on a whim and searched out the author because I have loved everything so far! I think you cook to appeal to me- the kids can fend for themselves. I am only half joking. I am learning to shop/prepare “clean” foods and these recipes really appeal to my family.

    1. Hi Cori,

      Thank you so much! Ha, glad to hear we have the same philosophy. Thrilled that you are enjoying it, and cooking from it!


  4. Terry F says:

    By the way, I absolutely love the cookbook. I am honored.

    1. Hi Terry,

      You are so sweet! I am thrilled to hear that you love the cookbook. That makes my day!



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