I will be the first person to admit that a lot of my cooking takes time. I mean, I enjoy spending more time on a recipe, so it’s never bothered me. But sometimes, you just don’t have the time to create masterpieces in the kitchen. Sometimes that case study is calling your name and you freak out about the 10,000 exams coming up that you haven’t studied for yet and there just isn’t enough time to eat let alone cook (can you tell the school year has started again?).
To be honest, my usual go-to quick meal is a peanut butter sandwich. It’s delicious, nutritious, full of protein, and the fastest thing I know how to put together. But after a week or so of that, I’m ready for something a little more satisfying. So I started looking up easy, quick recipes, and I stumbled onto the idea of making tostadas.
Tostadas are basically the Mexican version of the open face sandwich. They are crunchy on the bottom and loaded with goodies on top. The best part is, they only take about 30 minutes to put together. That’s right, start to finish I have a filling, delicious meal in just half an hour. It’s awesome. The best part is that I can prepare everything except the tortillas ahead of time (or make an extra large batch of everything), and assemble it all later. That means that when I go for leftovers, it will still feel like I’m making something fresh, but it will only take me five minutes to put together dinner. Sounds like my kind of recipe.
These tostadas are made with the small corn tortillas, which keeps them gluten free, but you can feel free to substitute wheat tortillas instead. I also used fake cheese, but real cheddar or queso fresco would be a lovely addition. The crunchy tortilla is topped with a lime-y bean mash and a whole bunch of delicious veggies to make a loaded dish. Two of these are more than enough for me for one meal.
Side note, I was picked to be in a recipe contest! It’s called the Very Vegetarian Recipe Challenge. Basically, there’s this company called Plated which sends you ingredients to make your own dinner. They’ve teamed up with OXO to find some good vegetarian recipes to add to their line. As a part of the recipe challenge, I got some awesome OXO utensils! I’m a huge fan of the mandoline, fruit scooper, and the tongs, all of which I used for this recipe (though you can totally use a knife, a large spoon, and a wooden spoon, respectively if you don’t own any of these). I’m so excited for all my new kitchen toys!
4 corn tortillas (can substitute wheat tortillas)
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, halved and sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 red bell peppers, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 avocado, cubed
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
Juice of 2 limes
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup arugula
3/4 cup your favorite cheddar cheese (I used Daiya dairy-free cheese)
1. Turn the broiler on to high. Heat up a nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Slice the onion very thinly, ideally with a mandolin to make things go faster. Add 1 teaspoon of oil to the heated pan, wait a few seconds for it to heat up, then add the onion. Sauté, stirring every few minutes, until the onions just begin to darken. It should take about 8-10 minutes, so use this time to prep everything else (mince the garlic, slice the peppers, quarter the cherry tomatoes, score and scoop out the avocado).
2. When the onions are done, add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 sec. Finally, add the peppers, chili powder, and cumin. Allow to cook for about 8-10 minutes, until the peppers are soft. Adjust salt and pepper as desired.
3. While the peppers are cooking, get the tortillas ready. Use the remaining olive oil and brush it over the tortillas. Place them on a lined cookie sheet and broil them for 2-4 minutes, until the tortillas are crispy and the edges begin to curl up.
4. Microwave the beans on high for 45 seconds to heat them up. Squeeze the lemon juice over the warmed beans and mash them together with a fork. Set aside.
5. When everything is done, it’s time to assemble! Divide the bean mixture among the tortillas and spread it evenly across each one. Next add on the arugula, then the onion and pepper mixture, then top with avocados and tomatoes. Finally, sprinkle the cheese on top and place it in the broiler for another 2 minutes to melt. Serve immediately.