The vegetarians think the vegans are too conservative, but that the pescatarians aren’t conservative enough. The vegans think the vegetarians are too liberal with eggs and cheese. “I have the right to bear chicken and beef,” the omnivores say. And then, there’s that crazy new movement…and we’re not really sure what they eat.
Here is a recipe that will satisfy everyone. Your vegetarians will be happy, vegans can nix the cheese, and meat eaters won’t even miss the meat. These tostadas are gluten-free, and you can make them in about 40 minutes (30 if you’ve enlisted an extra pair of hands). It’s like world peace around the dinner table. Throw together some Southwest Quinoa Salad, and you’ll have a fiesta (just don’t bring up food politics!).
I’ve already been political today, so I may as well be a little bossy too. These tostadas have as much potential as the ingredients you put into them. Mediocre pre-made tostada shells and jars of one-dimensional salsa will be so-so at best. Why bother?
Now is the time to harvest tomatoes, so ripe they practically jump off the vines–perfect for a fresh tomato salsa. Pull up those onions you’ve been waiting for since Springtime. Or, ransack the farmers market. Find the guy with the red hat that will take a big bite out of any pepper you question him about, regardless of Scoville heat rating. Then, visit the lady with the speckled baby mixed greens. She’ll give you a little more than you paid for if she can tell they’re going to a good home.
Fry up some corn tortillas until golden and crunchy. Layer with cumin-lime toasted black beans and shredded mixed greens, and salsa. Top with spoonfuls of avocado, salty crumbled feta, and a few little garnishes.
I can only think of one reason you’d want to go out for Mexican food instead of making these tostadas at home…but I’m sure a savvy liberal-conservative-moderate-libertarian such as yourself could probably figure out how to make a darn good margarita, too!
- 2 cans black beans, rinsed in a colander, and drained well
- ¾ tablespoon ground cumin
- salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 8 corn tortillas
- olive or coconut oil (1½ inches in a dutch oven or heavy saucepan, or see note for how to bake the shells)*
- a few big handfuls mixed greens, shredded (thinly sliced with a knife)
- 1 medium tomato, chopped (for garnish)
- crumbled feta (omit to make vegan)
- 2 ripe avocados, pits removed, roughly chopped
- Summer tomato salsa
- Fry the tostada shells: Heat 1½ inches oil in a dutch oven or in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Fry one tortilla at a time for about 2 minutes, flipping occasionally. Remove to a plate covered in paper towels when crisp and golden. Be sure to monitor the oil, turning down the heat if needed.
- Toast the beans: Heat a large, nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the beans. Let them sizzle for a while. Cook for two minutes, shaking the pan to toss the beans. Add salt to taste and the ground cumin, and give everything a stir, taking care not to smush the beans. Continue to shake the pan back and forth for another 2-3 minutes, until some of the beans split open, and begin to show toasty spots. Remove from the heat, and pour in the lime juice. Stir.
- Assemble: Arrange the beans, salsa, feta, lettuce, tomato and avocado on the fried tortillas. Eat promptly.
- 1½ pounds ripe summer tomatoes, roughly chopped
- ½ medium onion, roughly chopped
- 1-2 jalapeños, roughly chopped (more or less to taste)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 small handful roughly chopped cilantro (upper stems are okay)
- Juice from one lime
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- salt to taste
- approximately ¼ cup each chopped onion, jalapeño, and cilantro to stir in at the end
- Place the onion, the roughly chopped jalapeño, and the garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for about 5 seconds. Add the tomatoes, and process until the ingredients are mixed together, but not overly smooth. Add the cilantro, lime juice, cumin, and salt . Pulse a few times to incorporate. Making salsa is a balancing act, so taste, and add more salt, lime juice or cumin if needed.
- Transfer to a bowl, and stir in some extra chopped onion jalapeño, and chopped cilantro to add variety to the texture.
- This salsa may be refrigerated in a clean, airtight container for 3 to 4 days. To refresh the flavor, add a sprinkling of salt and a splash of lime juice.