Bean Tostadas

Bean Tostadas

These crispy Bean Tostadas are crazy simple to make and loaded with flavor! They start with crispy tostada shells, and are loaded with smashed avocado, saucy spiced pinto beans, veggies, and a quick cilantro-lime sauce.

Overhead image of the Bean Tostada.

Overhead image of the Bean Tostada.

Bean Tostadas

Pinto Bean Tostadas are part of my second mini-series “cook once & enjoy all week long” with these homemade Pinto Beans. A quick run-down: Prepare dried pinto beans (I promise, they’re simple!) in the slow cooker or pressure cooker (AKA Instant Pot®) at the beginning of the week. Enjoy those beans as a side dish that day for dinner and then use the leftovers in recipes throughout the week. (Or freeze the leftovers and use them in place of canned pinto beans for future recipes.) 

These tostadas whip together in twenty minutes or less with pre-made pinto beans… and those pinto beans have only gotten more flavorful as they’ve sat overnight!

Beyond these Pinto Bean Tostadas, I also share how to use those homemade Pinto Beans in these Bean and Cheese Burritos and these Pinto Bean Tacos. Cook once and enjoy some kitchen shortcuts for the remaining meal preparation throughout the week!

Ingredient shot of all the components of this recipe.

Ingredient shot of all the components of this recipe.

What is a tostada?

A tostada is basically a taco, but it’s flat! It’s usually made with a fried corn tortilla and topped with refried beans and a myriad of toppings (anything you’d find on a taco could go on a tostada!) In this recipe, we’re using baked corn tortillas instead (Don’t worry– they still get super crispy and crunchy!) and adding just a few simple toppings.

Process shots-- images of the tortilla being cooked and the sauce being made.

Process shots-- images of the tortilla being cooked and the sauce being made.

Bean Tostada Base (Baked instead of Fried!) 

While you can buy pre-made tostada shells, making your own is so simple and I think it tastes a lot better. While either will work, I’ll share a few notes about homemade tostadas:

  • Use thin corn tortillas (Not sure where to start? Here’s an article breaking down the major brands of corn tortillas so you can better navigate what brand you’d enjoy). My family enjoys Mission’s® extra-thin corn tortillas with these bean tostadas (not sponsored).
  • Spray both sides of the tortillas with cooking spray. I use an olive oil-based spray (canola works as well) and give each side a good spritz.
  • Don’t forget the salt. Add a sprinkle of salt to each side.
  • Bake the tortillas, spaced out. Give each tortilla plenty of space (I like using a 15×21-inch baking sheet for plenty of room). Bake, flip, and bake again,
  • Watch closely. Different brands of corn tortillas will vary in bake time and not every oven is the same. Watch the tortillas carefully to avoid burning.

Bean Tostada Toppings

The sky is the limit for topping your tostada. We’re keeping it simple with crunchy romaine lettuce, fresh cherry tomatoes, cotija cheese, and lots of cilantro-cashew sauce (more on this below).

Here are some other options:

  • If you’re making the Pinto Bean Tostadas in this mini-series, use leftover cabbage instead of romaine. I’d recommend very thinly slicing the cabbage and tossing it in sauce first.
  • Iceberg lettuce (or pre-chopped “tacolettuce in the produce section of the store) is also a great option for topping these tostadas.
  • We loved adding some leftover pickled red onions (see how to make quick-pickled onions in this Chicken Tinga Tacos post)
  • Fresh herbs like cilantro or green onions
  • Pico de gallo or salsa
  • Sour cream or Mexican crema (we like to use lite sour cream on these!)

Process shots-- images of the assembly of the Bean Tostadas, first the smashed avocado goes on the tortilla, then the beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and then sauce and cheese.

Process shots-- images of the assembly of the Bean Tostadas, first the smashed avocado goes on the tortilla, then the beans, lettuce, tomatoes, and then sauce and cheese.

Cilantro-Cashew Sauce

This sauce is packed with good ingredients but without the typical inclusions of mayo or sour cream! What do we use instead? Cashews! We’re so hooked on this sauce and we’ve used it in a few recent recipes. And also, as I mentioned earlier, this is intentional so you can prep the sauce early in the week with the beans and use it on recipes throughout the week. A few quick sauce notes:

  • Use a powerful blender to get an ultra-smooth consistency. Otherwise, there might be unpleasant chunks of cashews.
  • Soak the cashews to ensure they’re softened enough. Since I usually forget to soak the cashews overnight, I’ve found a short-cut: pour boiling water over the cashews and let them stand for 45 minutes to an hour. Soft cashews in a fraction of the time!
  • Use roasted and salted cashews. The cashews can make or break this sauce! Be sure to get whole cashews that have been roasted and salted for maximum flavor.

Process shots--up-close image of Bean Tostada, ready to be eaten.

Process shots--up-close image of Bean Tostada, ready to be eaten.

Other Delicious Recipes 

Bean Tostadas

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These crispy Bean Tostadas are crazy simple to make and loaded with flavor! They start with crispy tostada shells and are loaded with smashed avocado, saucy spiced pinto beans, veggies, and a quick cilantro-lime sauce.

Bean Tostadas

.wprm-recipe-rating .wprm-rating-star.wprm-rating-star-full svg * { fill: #33658a; }

These crispy Bean Tostadas are crazy simple to make and loaded with flavor! They start with crispy tostada shells and are loaded with smashed avocado, saucy spiced pinto beans, veggies, and a quick cilantro-lime sauce.

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 1/3 cup (52g) roasted and salted whole cashews
  • 1 cup (26g) fresh cilantro (leaves & stems)
  • 3 tablespoons (47g) lime juice + 1/2 teaspoon zest (1-2 limes)
  • 1/3 cup (80g) water
  • 2 tablespoons (26g) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Tostadas

  • 6 extra-thin corn tortillas (we use Mission’s extra thin)
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • Fine sea salt & cracked pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups (381g) pinto beans (or 1 can refried beans) Note 1
  • 2 small/ medium (or 1 large) very ripe avocados pitted and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 cup (115g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups (90g) crisp romaine or iceberg lettuce, thinly shredded
  • 1/4 cup (34g) queso fresco cheese (or more to taste)

Instructions

  • PREP: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

  • PINTO BEANS: See Note 1.

  • SAUCE: See Note 2. Place cashews in a heatproof bowl. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the cashews. Let stand for 45 minutes to an hour and then thoroughly drain. Add the drained cashews, cilantro, lime juice & zest, water, olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste (I add 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper) to a small powerful blender. Blend until completely smooth. Refrigerate so the flavors intensify and meld. The sauce can be made ahead of time; simply stir before serving.

  • MASHED AVOCADO: Halve the avocados and use a spoon to scoop the flesh into a medium-sized bowl. (Discard the pits.) Mash the avocado with a fork, add in the lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, 1/8 teaspoon EACH: garlic powder, and freshly cracked pepper. Mash again to combine the ingredients.

  • TOSTADAS: Spray both sides of each tortilla generously with olive oil cooking spray. Sprinkle both sides lightly with fine sea salt. Place the tortillas on a sheet pan (with plenty of space — don’t overlap). Bake for 4 minutes and then use tongs to flip the tortillas to the other side. Bake for another 3-6 minutes or until the tortillas are crispy. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5-10 minutes.

  • ASSEMBLY: Divide mashed avocado mixture evenly among the 6 crispy tortillas. Spread beans evenly over each tortilla (about 1/4 cup per tostada). Top each tostada with equal amounts of lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. Drizzle the sauce over tostadas to taste. (There will likely be some leftover sauce, but it works best to make in this quantity.)

Recipe Notes

Note 1: This recipe uses leftovers from these homemade Pinto Beans

  • Don’t have the time to make from-scratch beans? It’s okay! Canned refried beans work too. Gently warm them through in a small pot on the stovetop or microwave before adding to the tostadas.
  • If you do make the homemade pinto beans (highly recommended!), wait until the next day so the beans are thick enough to use in this recipe. (Right after being made, they’re a bit thin; they thicken a lot overnight.) Warm them in a small pot or in the microwave before adding them to the tacos.

Note 2: This is likely way more sauce than you’ll use, but I find this quantity blends up the best. If you’d like, you can halve it or make the full batch and use it on recipes throughout the week. (We love it on these black bean bowls.) Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Make it vegan! The only non-vegan ingredient in this recipe is the cojita cheese. Swap that for vegan cheese (or skip cheese entirely) for a vegan recipe. Note, however, that you should read the ingredients for the tortillas, and for the beans (if using canned beans) to be sure there are no non-vegan elements. If you make the recipe for pinto beans that I include, omit the bacon.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 614kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 580mg | Potassium: 1399mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 19514IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 357mg | Iron: 8mg

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