Quick Tostadas Recipe

A quick and easy Mexican dish is a great option for a snowy weekend when having a few people over or watching the last days of the Olympics—for both kids and adults. And the adults can also raise a glass to National Margarita Day (see below).

“All the kids I know love tostadas, especially when they get to construct their own. I love mine with grilled chicken and a lot of hot sauce,” says Rick Bayless, a chef and restaurateur who specializes in traditional Mexican cuisine with modern twists. In this recipe he shared with Real Food, he offers ideas for different toppings so you can adapt to your tastes. Plus, by preparing a few toppings and setting them out for people to choose according to their preferences, everyone will be happy. “Whenever I’m asked what my favorite meal is, my answer is simple: Anything in a tortilla,” says Bayless.

Quick Tostadas 

Makes 4 Servings

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 (15-ounce) cans black (or other) beans
2 cups toppings, such as coarsely shredded chicken, cooked chorizo sausage, small cooked shrimp, sliced ham cut into strips, flaked tuna, and/or cubed tofu 
1 large romaine heart, cut into ¼-inch thick slices
1/3 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons Mexican hot sauce, plus more for serving
12 tostadas (crisp-fried corn tortillas), store-bought
1 ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from skin and cut into ¼-inch pieces (optional)
¾ cup Mexican queso añejo or other garnishing cheese, such as Romano or Parmesan
½ to ¾ cup (loosely packed) chopped cilantro

1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, stir for about a minute, and then add undrained beans. Mash to a coarse purée with a potato masher or the back of a spoon, then cook, stirring regularly, until thickened just enough to hold shape in a spoon, about 10 minutes. Taste and season with salt if needed. Reduce heat to lowest setting to keep warm.

2. Place romaine in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together sour cream and hot sauce. Drizzle mixture over romaine and toss to combine.

3. Spread each tostada with some of the beans. Top with portions of your chosen topping(s) and romaine. Dot with avocado, if using. Sprinkle generously with cheese and cilantro, and serve immediately with additional hot sauce.

Hungry for More? Check out Bayless’ Garlic and Pepper Tortilla Chips here, which are a quick way to “doctor up” your average bag of chips with some natural ingredients you’re likely to have on hand.


Party Pairing: Margaritas!

For the grown-ups in the crowd, a delicious partner to Mexican food is naturally the Margarita. And if you would like to raise a glass to celebrate this favorite tequila-based cocktail, National Margarita Day is celebrated every year on Feb. 22. While that was on Thursday this year, the festivities definitely go into the weekend. Following is a recipe for a classic version of the drink. If you would like to read more about it, I have celebrated the “holiday” several times on this blog and have highlighted the classic drink as well as flavored versions that mix it up. Check out a pineapple version plus watermelon, cucumber and more here. If citrus or pear are to your liking, check out those recipes here. Cheers!

1 1/2 ounces tequila
1 ounce orange-flavored liqueur (Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
1 ounce lime juice
lime slice
coarse salt

Moisten the rim of a cocktail glass with the lime slice. Press the rim into the salt. In a shaker, combine the first three ingredients with ice. Mix and strain into the glass. Garnish with the lime slice.

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.