Quick meals are a staple of a busy life. Even before Trey arrived I liked to have a few meals planned for the week that took less than 30 minutes to get on the table. Once he arrived it felt like all meals needed to be quick! Over the years I have built up my repertoire of quick vegan meals. Which is a good thing because now that we have added sports practices and homework to our plate, weeknight meals have to be fast and easy. I came across a recipe for tostadas in our newspaper awhile ago and decided that a veganized version would make a filling, flavorful and fast meal. The tostadas start with a crispy tortilla spread with black beans and topped with a salad tossed with a refreshing lime dressing.
The newspaper recipe showed me how to create the crispy tortilla base in the oven with just a little oil. In my case I use canola oil spray. Once you spray the tortillas with canola oil on the top they go in the oven for 12-15 minutes and come out nice and crispy. Make sure they are very crispy when they come out of the oven. They don’t get any crispier as they cool, so if they are a bit flexible when they come out of the oven they will not be completely crispy when it is time to serve.
While the tortillas bake I work on making the black bean base. The base is a mix of canned black beans, salsa and a bit of water. For this recipe I used the Hatch Valley Salsa from Trader Joe’s. We are loving this salsa these days. It is very spicy and I love that it is shelf stable. I buy a few jars at a time and store them in the pantry.
I take 1/2 cup of the salsa and add it to a small pan with a can of drained black beans and 1/4 cup of water. The beans cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.
After cooking for 10 minutes the beans are very soft and the salsa has cooked down a bit. At this point you can smash the beans down to whatever texture you like with a spatula or wooden spoon. In my case I like them to have some texture, but be spreadable. You will be spreading them on top of the crisp tortillas so you don’t want the individual beans rolling around.
While the beans and tortilla are cooking you can get the salad ready. I place thinly sliced romaine hearts, sliced onions and minced cilantro in a large bowl. The dressing is just lime juice, olive oil, agave nectar, salt and pepper.
Once the salad is tossed it is time to assemble the tostada. Spread the black beans on the crisp tortillas. Top each tortilla with salad and sliced avocados. Of course skip the avocado for anyone who is an avocado hater, like my son Trey. We also top ours with Tabasco, vegan sour cream and pickled jalapenos.
What are your favorite family-friendly, quick weeknight meals?
- 10 Corn Tortillas
- ½ Tablespoon of Canola Oil or spray oil
- 1 Can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ Cup Salsa (use your favorite)
- ¼ Cup Water
- 4 Cups sliced Romaine Hearts (or your favorite crisp lettuce)
- ¼ Cup Sliced Onions
- ¼ Cup Cilantro, minced
- 2 Tablespoons of Lime Juice
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Agave Nectar
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Teaspoon Pepper
- Optional Toppings
- Sliced Avocado
- Vegan Sour Cream
- Pickled Jalapenos
- Hot Sauce
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Spread tortillas on 2 large baking sheets. Brush the top of each tortilla with olive oil (or spray the top with canola oil). Bake for 12-15 minutes until crisp.
- Add black beans, salsa, and water to a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and lower heat to medium low. Cook for 10 minutes.
- While the beans and tortillas are cooking, assemble the salad. Start by making the dressing. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake it until they are well combined.
- Place the lettuce, onions, and cilantro in a large bowl. Add half to ¾ of the dressing and toss. Add more dressing according to how much dressing you like on your salad.
- After the beans have cooked for 10 minutes they should be very soft. Remove the pan from the heat and use a wooden spoon or spatula to smash the beans. Smash the beans until they reach a spreadable consistency, but still have some texture.
- To assemble the tostadas spread smashed black beans on a crispy tortilla. Top with salad. Add any additional toppings you are using on top of the salad. Serve.
For leftovers double the beans, crisp tortillas and dressing. This makes a quick and easy lunch. All you will need to do is make the salad, warm the beans, and assemble.