Tostadas

$8.11 recipe / $2.02 serving
by Jess - Budget Bytes
5 from 2 votes
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With the sun working overtime during these hot summer months, I’ve got tacos on my mind (and tortillas in my fridge) 24/7. I love how balanced and fresh Mexican-inspired cuisine can be, and these tostadas are no exception! Crispy tortillas are piled high with mashed pinto beans, salsa, veggies, and cheese for a different spin on your typical taco night. Plus, I love that I can use up any leftover tortillas I have on hand so nothing goes to waste! These are super customizable based on your family’s preferences, so you can add or omit just about anything you want.

close up of a hand holding a tostada.

What Is A Tostada?

The word “tostada” translates to “toasted” in reference to the crispy toasted tortilla shell that serves as the base of the dish. It’s sort of like a flattened taco piled high with filling. It’s also a great way to use up the last of those leftover tortillas that are starting to go stale!

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make these tostadas:

  • Onion: I used white onion because it was on sale, but yellow or Vidalia will also work well in this recipe.
  • Jalapeño: Adds a bit of heat to the filling.
  • Olive Oil: Helps the filling cook without burning. Neutral cooking oils like canola or vegetable also work well.
  • Pinto Beans: Create a mushy, refried bean-like texture. If you have some leftover, our favorite (Not) Refried Beans can also work well in this recipe!
  • Taco Seasoning: An easy way to add classic Mexican flavors.
  • Water: Helps make the beans easier to mash.
  • Salsa: Adds freshness to the tostadas. I love this Fire Roasted Salsa, but store-bought works just fine.
  • Tostada Shells: These small, crunchy corn tortillas are like a flat hard taco shell. A Mexican open-faced sandwich, if you will!
  • Radishes: Add a delightful, fresh crunch!
  • Slaw Mix: A cheap and easy hack to add extra veggies to this dish.
  • Sour Cream: Adds creaminess and tanginess.
  • Cilantro: Adds a pop of freshness and color.
  • Avocado: Adds a creamy texture. Guacamole also works well.
  • Queso Fresco: Can’t find queso fresco or cotija cheese? Cheddar cheese will do just fine, or omit it altogether.

What Is the Difference Between A Tostada and a Tortilla?

A tostada is a tortilla that has been baked or fried until it is crispy. You can purchase ready-made tostada shells from popular brands like Old El Paso, or you can make your own by baking 6-inch corn tortillas until toasted and crispy.

How to Eat A Tostada

Tostadas are finger foods, so use your hands, not a fork and knife! I like the two-handed method of holding the edges of the tostada and taking bites like a slice of toast. I also like to crack the tostadas into smaller pieces and eat it in smaller bites that way.

side view of tostadas on a piece of parchment paper on a blue table.
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Tostadas

5 from 2 votes
These tostadas made with mashed pinto beans are piled high with salsa, veggies, and cheese for a satisfying (and fun!) weeknight meal.
holding a tostada over a table topped with tostadas.
Servings 4 servings
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.20)
  • 1/2 white onion, diced ($0.45)
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced ($0.24)
  • 1 1-oz. packet taco seasoning ($0.59)
  • 2 15-oz. cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed ($1.78)
  • 1 cup water ($0.00)
  • 8 tostada shells ($0.88)
  • 1/2 cup salsa ($0.49)
  • 3 radishes, julienned ($0.37)
  • 1/2 14-oz. bag pre-chopped slaw mix ($0.99)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream ($0.31)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro ($0.12)
  • 1 avocado, sliced ($0.99)
  • 2 Tbsp crumbled queso fresco ($0.35)

Instructions 

  • Add the olive oil, onions, jalapeño, and taco seasoning mix to a skillet. Stir to combine and cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and glossy.
  • Add the drained and rinsed pinto beans to the skillet with 1 cup of water and simmer for 5-8 minutes, until the beans start to dissolve and break down and the liquid reduces to about 1/2.
  • Remove from the heat and mash the bean mixture together. Set aside.
  • Crumble queso fresco, julienne or slice radishes, mince cilantro, thinly the avocado, and gather your premixed cabbage and salsa of choice.
  • Spread out tostada shells on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven at 350°F for 5 minutes. This makes the tostadas extra crunchy!
  • Assemble tostadas: The tostada shell will be on the bottom, topped with mashed pinto beans.
  • Then, add all other toppings; divide the pre-chopped slaw mix, salsa, sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro, avocado, and crumbled queso fresco between all tostadas. Enjoy!

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Notes

This recipe is easily made vegan by leaving off the sour cream and cheese. There are amazing vegan substitutes available for both of those ingredients nowadays, too!

Nutrition

Serving: 2tostadasCalories: 535kcalCarbohydrates: 69gProtein: 16gFat: 24gSodium: 1649mgFiber: 19g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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how to make Tostadas – step by step photos

onion, jalapeno, and taco seasoning in a frying pan.

Add the 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 diced white onion, 1 seeded and diced jalapeño, and 1 oz. packet of taco seasoning mix to a skillet. Stir to combine and cook over medium heat until the onions are soft and glossy.

step 2: add beans and water

Add the 2 cans of drained and rinsed pinto beans to the skillet with 1 cup of water and simmer for 5-8 minutes, until the beans start to dissolve and break down and the liquid reduces by about 1/2.

step 4: mash the beans

Remove from the heat and mash the bean mixture together.

step 6: chopped veggies on cutting board

Crumble 2 Tbsp queso fresco, julienne or slice 3 radishes, mince 2 Tbsp cilantro, thinly slice the avocado, and gather your premixed cabbage and salsa of choice.

step 6 lay out tostadas and toast

Spread out 8 tostada shells on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven at 350°F for 5 minutes. This makes the tostadas extra crunchy!

step 7: add beans to tostatdas

Assemble tostadas: The tostada shell will be on the bottom, topped with mashed pinto beans.

8 add all the toppings 1 by 1 to tostadas

Then, add all other toppings; divide the 1/2 bag of pre-chopped slaw mix, 1/2 cup salsa, 1/4 cup sour cream, 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, 1 sliced avocado, and 2 Tbsp crumbled queso fresco between all tostadas. Enjoy!

overhead view of tostadas on a piece of parchment paper on a blue table.

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  1. Tostadas are a great way to use up stale corn tortillas. They hold way more filling than a taco, and can be made with anything you would put in a taco. This delicious version uses my favorite mild and creamy pinto beans! You can also consider them as giant nachos and use any of your fave toppings. If you can’t find queso fresco, feta is a good substitute. Both cheeses are mild, salty, and crumbly. The problem with delicious and economical queso fresco, is that it spoils quickly once the package is opened, so it needs to used up within a couple of weeks–no problem, just crumble it and use anywhere you would use feta. Perfect for tacos, nachos, enchiladas, etc., it’s also a great salad cheese

    1. Agree on feta being a great substitute for queso fresco! Cotija, too of course. I recommend freezing the queso fresco until you need to use it again so it doesn’t spoil!

      1. Great idea–I just put the unused cheese in a plastic bag and end up throwing about half the round out. It’s not very expensive, but a delicious mild cheese and really nice to have when I need it. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Oh Beth (and Jess Rice!), thank you for this reminder of how wonderful tostados are. I used to make them a lot, my kids loved them, and now they’re grown and up and out and we’ve forgotten tostados. My version was even “easier”, but yours looks delicious and I urge BB readers to try them.

    1. Thank you so much! I love how customizable tostadas are. Let me know when tostada night at your house happens next and I will be there! Hehe.