As I was scrambling around for a dinner I could make tonight and share on my blog, it occurred to me that most of the recipes I’ve featured until now are larger, more involved meals. Some of those recipes are my specialties like chicken pot pie, so I’m thrilled to share them, but I admit they’re for those nights where you have more energy and time to put together a big thing. The truth is most nights I don’t cook like that, and instead I whip up some BBQ chicken in the oven or saute green beans or even make Trader Joe’s prepackaged beef and broccoli. So I’d like to start a new series dedicated exclusively to the sorts of dinners I like to throw together with the simple intention of being affordable and relatively easy. Let us begin!
I’ve mentioned before when I shared my chicken tortilla soup recipe that Mexican-style meals are definitely one of our go-tos. And while my soup is slightly more involved, vegetarian tostadas come together so quickly and can be made with a variety of different ingredients. As you can see, many ingredients on this list are optional, which makes it an excellent option for one of those “clean out the fridge” nights. It’s also easy to make this vegan if you or your guests prefer. My standard ingredients from the optional category are avocado, queso fresco, hot sauce, and typically at least one vegetable. This night I also made it with zucchini as well as tomato.
- Tostadas shells
- Vegetable oil
- Vegetables like bell pepper, onion, lettuce, or zucchini (optional)
- Tomatoes (optional)
- Avocado (optional)
- Refried beans (optional)
- Sour cream (optional)
- Queso fresco, or if unavailable, another type of cheese (optional)
- Hot sauce (optional)
- First, chop the potato into cubes that are approximately one centimeter square, but don't worry if they're perfect. Stir fry them with some oil over a medium-high flame until they have a good brown color and are cooked all the way through. A few minutes before they're done, I toss in any veggies like bell pepper or zucchini to heat them up and give them some color without cooking them until they've lost their crunch. If you're using beans, heat them up in a pot as well, and if you are unable to purchase tostadas shells, you can also do a quick fry of regular tortillas.
- While those are are the stove, I prepare my other ingredients. While you could just dice the avocado and it on top, I like to mash it into a paste (pictured above) like a guacamole to put on the bottom of the tostadas. It acts like a gluing agent to keep the toppings on, although refried beans and sour cream would work well too.
- Once the potatoes and beans are heated, pile everything on top of your tostadas! I like to do this order: tostadas, avocado/beans/sour cream, potatoes with vegetables, lettuce, tomato cheese, hot sauce. It is definitely a little bit of a balancing act to keep everything on top, but try not to stress too much if things fall back onto your plate or the tostadas breaks. Then your meal becomes a healthier version of nachos and you can use your tostadas shell to pick everything up.