Our family eats veggie tostadas nearly every week. It's a great way to use up vegetables that might otherwise go to waste and easily lends itself to seasonal cooking. In this spring version, I used thawed frozen corn, a leek, beets, a few asparagus stalks and brocollini. A summer tostada might include onions, bell peppers, zucchini and fresh corn; fall may feature onions, mushrooms and green beans and winter could be a combination of fennel, turnips and chard. It all depends on what we have on hand or harvested from the garden. I have made this with a lonely onion and half a bag of frozen corn, and it was delicious.
This meal has served us well when we have guests with a variety of dietary needs. It’s a no brainer for vegetarians or a meatless Monday and can accommodate nearly every preference as diners can assemble the tostadas themselves. Those avoiding gluten can use gluten free corn tortillas or remove the shell completely, vegans can omit the cheese, add some shredded meat for your paleo friends, leave a couple tortillas soft in case little guests prefer a plain tortilla and a side of beans with cheese…you get the idea.
K I D D U T I E S: (kids can do any or all)
‘Paint’ Tortillas with olive oil and fit into pie plates
Tear up lettuce
Shred cheese using a box grater (supervised 7-year-old)
O V E N B A K E D T O S T A D A S H E L L
extra virgin olive oil
T O S T A D A F I L L I N G
4 cups cooked pinto or black beans in liquid (about two 15oz cans)
2 cloves garlic, minced
market veggies, cut “fajita style”
extra virgin olive oil
1 large pinch dried oregano
1 larch pinch dried thyme
squeeze of lemon (optional)
T O P P I N G S ( O P T I O N A L )
8 oz. mild cheddar cheese, shredded
lettuce (I typically use a spring mix) cut or torn into bite size pieces
sour cream or plain Greek yoghurt
1 avocado, cut into slices or large dice
hot sauce or sliced jalapenos
I N S T R U C T I O N S
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Pour some olive oil into a small bowl. Enlist kitchen helper (if available) to brush, or “paint,” each side of each tortilla with olive oil using a pastry brush. Fit oiled tortilla in pie plate for a bowl-shaped shell or place on sheet pan for a flat shell. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Bake for 8-15 minutes, rotating the tortillas as needed for even crisping. Times will vary depending on what type of tortilla you use and how crispy you like your tortilla (white flour tortillas seem to crisp up faster than whole wheat, for example). Keep an eye on the oven, tortillas can go from almost perfect to overdone in a minute or two.
While shells cook, heat beans in their liquid in a sauce pan and bring to boil, stir, cover and turn burner down to simmer.
Once your shells are out of the oven, heat frying pan* or sauté pan on medium heat. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds), then add cut up vegetables. Season vegetables with salt and pepper to taste along with a large pinch of dried oregano and thyme (or a couple pinches of Italian seasoning). Saute until soft, but not mushy. Add an optional squeeze of lemon juice.
Drain beans in a colander and layer your tostada. Starting with the shell, add beans, cheese, sautéed veggies, lettuce, salsa, sour cream or yoghurt, avocado and hot sauce or jalapenos. Dig in!
*In my household, I use a smaller frying pan to sauté an edited selection of veggies I know the kids will eat. In this version, I sautéed corn, asparagus and broccolini as I know they enjoy them. I typically serve a small helping of the complete version on the side for them to try.
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