Simple Bean Tostadas come together quickly and easily for an affordable meatless meal, with tortillas, refried beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and your favorite toppings.
Life is busy. Especially when you’re trying to save money. As economical as it is, DIY takes time. That’s why you need an arsenal of double win meals.
What’s a double win meal, you ask?
It’s quick to make and easy on the budget. Win-Win.
Homemade Bean Tostadas
Bean Tostadas are a double win meal. In fact, they were on a weekly rotation back when we were getting out of debt. So easy, so good. It didn’t matter if I’d spent the day chasing after six little kids, I could pull off a dinner they loved in minutes for just a few dollars!
This dish continues to be one of our favorite meals some dozen years later.
It is an assemble-your-own kind of dish. You can vary the toppings to use whatever you have on hand.Feel free to add meat or other vegetables and toppings. But, these Mexican Bean Tostadas are just simple and good, as-is.
What is a bean tostada?
A bean tostada is constructed from a whole crispy fried tortilla topped with beans, lettuce, cheese, and other toppings. One of its many attractions is the contrast of textures: smooth beans next to crisp tortillas, hot frijoles against cold lettuce, sharp cheese against mild sour cream.
What is the difference between a taco and a tostada?
Of Mexican origin, tacos and tostadas both start with tortillas and share common fillings and toppings. Yet they differ in their presentation. A taco is typically folded or rolled while a tostada is flat.
How do you make tostadas from scratch?
Bean Tostadas are super simple and delicious. Here’s how to make them:
Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a small skillet, heat ½ inch of oil over medium-high heat until very hot. A small bit of tortilla will sizzle when the oil is ready.
Fry the tortillas until stiff. Place the tortillas on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until brown and crunchy, 5 to 7 minutes.
Alternatively, if you’re using commercial shells, preheat the oven to package directions. Lay the tostada shells out on a baking sheet. Warm the shells in the oven, according to package instructions.
Once you have the shells ready, warm the refried beans in a saucepan until bubbly.
Spread the beans over the crisp tortilla shells. Top with the cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and other toppings.
- Serve immediately.
How do you serve tostadas?
We find that it’s best to serve tostadas buffet style. In that way, everyone can add whatever he likes.
This is a great dish to serve when you have folks over who eat meatless or vegan. Just be sure to serve fat-free refried beans or check that they’ve been made with a plant-based fat instead of lard.
Is it better to fry your own tostada shells?
Frying corn tortillas for tostadas is a simple process. Better depends on how much time you have.
To fry a dozen tortillas is going to take a good half hour. If you have the time, definitely do it. The flavor and textures are better when you fry your own.
That said, purchased fried tortillas are a quick alternative that is still quite delicious. Be sure to warm them prior to serving to refreshen their texture.
The price difference is negligible; $1.05 for fry-your-own, $1.09 for fried-for-you, so it’s really a question of taste and convenience. But, if you’re shopping the kitchen and you have tortillas and oil, well, go for the gusto, my friend!
What are some good tostada toppings?
Tostadas are delicious, plain and simple with beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream. However, feel free to use what you have on hand to liven them up, such as Carnitas or Shredded Beef as well as homemade Guacamole and Salsa.
Are tostadas expensive to make?
Tostadas are the ultimate Good Cheap Eat! Here’s how the ingredients for this recipe pencil out when you buy them not on sale at a mid-range grocer in San Diego county. Your mileage may vary.
- tostada shells – $1.09 ($1.99/22) or you can get tortillas ($0.72 for 12) and oil ($0.33 for 1 cup) for $1.05
- refried beans – $1.86
- iceberg lettuce – $0.65 ($1.29/1 head)
- jack cheese – $2.00
- tomatoes $0.60
- sour cream $0.50 ($2.00/16 oz)
This prices out to be $6.70 for a dozen or 56 cents each! A tostada at Taco Bell costs $1.29, over twice as much! It’s definitely worth your while to make your tostadas at home, especially if you’re feeding a crowd.
Save even more when you follow the Good Cheap Eats System:
The Good Cheap Eats System is designed to help you take your grocery spending to the next level of savings. Apply it to any recipe and you’ll find ways to cut costs so you can enjoy more great things with your money.
Here’s how to apply it to this recipe:
- Shop your kitchen – Be sure to use what you have to prevent waste and to save time and money in buying more. Feel free to use mashed black beans instead of pintos, cheddar instead of jack, or romaine instead of iceberg. It will still be delicious.
- Make a plan for leftover ingredients – These tostadas are so good, I doubt there will be leftovers, but there may be leftover iceberg lettuce, sour cream, and tortillas or tostadas from a larger package. Make a plan to use these up so that you don’t lose the investment.
- Visit the store with the best prices – This recipe estimate is based on a mid-range grocery store. Chances are very good that you can get these already affordable ingredients for even less if you choose your store well.
- Check the sales and clearance – Always shop the sales looking for things you use on a regular basis. Chances are you can stock up on some of these pantry staples at rock bottom prices to enjoy over the coming weeks and months. They’ll be there when you’re ready to shop your kitchen and remind you it’s time to make tostadas.
- Cook from scratch – This is already an affordable dish as is. Cooking your own beans will help shave the price down a little more and allow you better control of the ingredients.
- Freeze extra for later – Tostadas themselves are not freezer friendly, but you can assemble a kit of tortillas, shredded cheese, and cooked beans (chilled first) to toss into the freezer for later. While it’s not “all done for you”, it does get you a few steps closer to dinner. Consider adding cooked meats to your kit if you like tostadas with meat.
- oil for frying the tortillas such as vegetable or olive oil
- 12 corn tortillas or tostada shells
- 2 15-ounce can Refried Beans or homemade cooked pinto beans
- 8 oz cheddar cheese (shredded) (2 cups)
- 2 tomato diced
- 2 cup shredded lettuce
- ½ cup sour cream
- toppings for tostadas , such as: homemade salsa, hot sauce, chopped fresh cilantro, or other favorite toppings
If frying your own tortillas
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a small skillet, heat ½ inch of oil over medium-high heat until very hot. A small bit of tortilla will sizzle when the oil is ready.
- Fry the tortillas until stiff. Place the tortillas on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until brown and crunchy, 5 to 7 minutes.
If using tostada shells
- Preheat the oven to package directions. Lay the tostada shells out on a baking sheet.
- Warm the shells in the oven, according to package instructions.
Once you have the shells ready,
- Warm the refried beans in a saucepan until bubbly.
- Spread the beans over the crisp tortilla shells. Top with the cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and other toppings.