These delicious Black Bean Tostadas are all about layer after layer of flavor.
- A crispy fried tostada shell
- Simple homemade black bean refried beans
- Blackened corn salsa with roasted poblano peppers and tomatoes
- A drizzle of enchilada cream
- A crumble of queso fresco
They are one of those satisfying vegetarian meals that fills you up without weighing you down.
This "recipe" is more of a formula than a recipe.
Tostadas, like tacos, are simply a vehicle for creativity and personal taste, even if that means using up all those odds and ends in your refrigerator.
This Black Bean Tostada recipe begins with a tostada shell covered in a layer of refried black beans and enchilada sauce. Top the beans with a generous amount of fresh corn salsa, a drizzle of enchilada cream, and a crumble of queso fresco.
And, really, that's all you need.
But, you could also chop up that bell pepper rolling around in your vegetable drawer and toss it into the salsa. Or dice up that mango that's threatening to over ripen if it doesn't get eaten.
Got a spare bunch of green onions? A few cherry tomatoes and some sautéed cauliflower? Chop them up and toss them right into the corn salsa. Want to use some pepper jack or sharp cheddar instead of queso fresco? Go for it.
Whatever odds and ends you've got in your refrigerator, these black bean tostadas are a great way to use them up.
Ingredients for Black Bean Tostadas
I love recipes in which I have choices about what "from scratch" actually means.
This is one of those recipes. How much, or how little, of these tostadas are "from scratch" is entirely up to you.
1. Tostada Shells - Homemade or Prepared?
Homemade tostada shells are the perfect example of a food that can be made completely from scratch or just partially so.
If you're in an all-or-nothing kind of mood, start with a bag of masa and roll out a few corn tortillas. (Also, if you're making homemade tortillas, can I please come for dinner if I promise to bring margaritas???)
Homemade corn tortillas are incredibly delicious, especially when eating something that allows you to really experience the texture and flavor of a fresh tortilla - like a taco.
For me, if I'm frying the tortillas to make tortilla chips or tostada shells, I rarely feel that it's worth it to start with a homemade tortilla.
For one, after frying them up you can barely taste the difference between a homemade tortilla and the standard supermarket prepared variety. Second, super fresh tortillas are actually more difficult to get crispy than ones that are a day or two old.
However, I absolutely positively think it's worth it to start with a package of good quality corn tortillas and fry your own in lieu of picking up a package of already prepared tostada shells.
Frying a tostada shell only takes a few minutes and creates a sturdy, crispy, salty base for all those delicious toppings.
#2. Black Refried Beans - Homemade or from a can?
Once again, you have a choice about how "homemade" your refried black beans actually are, if at all.
Whenever possible, I like to start with dried beans, and make black refried beans completely from scratch. The process of cooking homemade beans requires little more than the foresight to soak the beans and put them in a slow cooker.
OR, even better, cook some dried beans in the instant pot, which cook quickly and don't even require soaking.
I'm not even exaggerating a little bit when I say that the total hands on time for a delicious, creamy pot of beans is about 10 minutes. And they really are so much better than anything you're ever going to get from a can.
So, while having a can or two of beans in the pantry is a godsend on those nights when you haven't given dinner a single thought before the moment when everyone is hungry, making beans from scratch is supremely rewarding and worth the minimal effort whenever possible.
It goes without saying that starting with better tasting beans will give you better tasting refried beans, so if you opt for canned beans, choose a high quality brand.
Regardless of whether you cook up some dried beans or open up a can of black beans, the actual process of "refrying" only takes about 10 minutes.
3. Corn Salsa
In late summer, when sweet corn and peppers are at their peak, fresh corn salsa is one of my absolute favorite things to make. This recipe calls for roasted poblano peppers, onion, garlic, tomato, cilantro and more black beans.
But, please use the recipe as a loose set of instructions - follow them exactly, or toss in any and all ingredients that sound good to you or that you want to use up before they go to waste.
#4. Enchilada Cream
Enchilada cream is simply enchilada sauce mixed with Crema Mexicana - Mexican sour cream. You can also use regular sour cream.
The most important thing about enchilada cream isn't actually the cream. It's the enchilada sauce.
In this recipe, enchilada sauce is incorporated into the black refried beans AND the enchilada cream. It adds a smoky spiciness that is so delicious in these tostadas. But, of course, you have to use a flavorful enchilada sauce.
My preference for enchilada sauce is always to make it. My favorite recipe for homemade enchilada sauce requires very little hands-on time but is absolutely delicious.
The recipe makes quite a bit - much more than you'll need for these tostadas.
Having leftover enchilada sauce is a beautiful thing because it means you can make:
- Cheese Enchilada Casserole
- Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- Southwest Summer Corn Chowder
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Pork Green Chili
Or, simply freeze the leftover enchilada sauce for later.
You can also pick up a can or a jar of prepared enchilada sauce and use that in these black bean tostadas instead. Just do your best to select a quality brand.
Also, if you open up your jar of enchilada sauce and it's fairly runny and a bit bland, simply pour it into a saucepan, add some oregano, cumin, salt and a pinch of sugar, and let it simmer for 10 or 15 minutes to reduce.
#5. Queso Fresco
Queso fresco is a light, fresh Mexican cheese that's the perfect complement to dishes that include a lot of other fresh, spicy flavors because it doesn't overpower them.
I love it enough to eat it all by itself, but it really is the perfect cheese to crumble over tacos, tostadas, or enchiladas because it adds a rich creaminess without weighing food down or taking over.
How to Make Vegan Black Bean Tostadas
Making a vegan version of these tostadas is super easy.
- Instead of queso fresco, use this vegan nacho cheese sauce.
- Instead of using sour cream to make the enchilada cream sauce, use this vegan sour cream.
If You Like the Flavors in these Black Bean Tostadas, You'll Also Like:
- Crispy Corn Tortilla Quesadillas
- Black Bean Enchiladas with Creamy Tomatillo Sauce
- Easy, Cheesy, Chicken Enchiladas Verdes
- Creamy Chicken Chili with Chorizo and Roasted Corn
- Spanish Seared Pork Bites with Fried Apples
- Shishito Pepper Tacos with Chili Cranberry Sauce
- Pork Carnitas
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #alittleandalot on Instagram.
Black Bean Tostadas with Corn Salsa and Enchilada Cream
These delicious Black Bean Tostadas are made with simple refried beans and topped with blackened corn salsa, roasted poblano peppers, fresh tomatoes, a drizzle of enchilada cream, and a crumble of queso fresco.
They are one of those satisfying vegetarian meals that fills you up without weighing you down.
- 8 corn tortillas - OR - prepared tostada shells
- 2 cups of corn oil (For frying the fresh corn tortillas. If using prepared tostada shells, disregard.)
- 1 cup of queso fresco cheese, crumbled (or Monterey Jack, shredded)
For the Refried Black Beans:
- 3 cups (18oz) drained black beans (*See note below)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup (60ml) enchilada sauce, from scratch or prepared
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Corn Salsa:
- 4 poblano peppers
- 3 cups corn, freshly cut from the cob or frozen and thawed
- 1 red onion, peeled and diced
- 2 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
- 1 cup (9oz) drained black beans
- 1 large tomato, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2-4 tablespoon fresh lime juice
For the Enchilada Cream:
- ¾ cup (about 4oz) Crema Mexicana (Mexican Sour Cream) - OR American style sour cream
- ¼ cup (60ml) enchilada sauce, homemade or prepared
Fry the Tosdada Shells:
(Ignore this step if using prepared tostada shells.)
- Add the corn oil to a deep skillet or sauce pan and heat over medium high heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). You can test that the oil is hot enough by dropping a small piece of tortilla into the oil. If it immediately begins to simmer, with bubbles surrounding its surface, the oil is ready. Or, use a Deep Fry Thermometer..
- Place one or two tortillas into the hot oil and let cook until golden brown on the bottom. Use tongs to flip the tortillas over in the oil and cook until brown on the other side. Use tongs to lift the tortillas from the hot oil onto a paper towel lined plate or baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with a bit of salt. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
Make the Refried Black Beans:
- Dump the beans into a bowl and mash with a potato masher, or just squeeze them together in your hands to mash. You want the beans to be about 50% mashed, with some completely mashed and some whole and partially whole beans.
- Heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat until melted. Add the mashed beans and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, using the back of the spoon to keep mashing the beans.
- Add the enchilada sauce and cook for another 2-4 minutes, continuing to stir and mash.
- Remove from the heat and taste. Add salt and pepper if desired.
Make the Corn Salsa:
- Place a rack in the top third of your oven and preheat the broiler. Lay the poblano peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet and place them under the broiler. Roast until the skins of the peppers are almost completely blackened. Turn them over to blacken the other side. Remove the peppers from the oven, dump them into a bowl and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let cool, then peel off the blackened skins and remove the seeds. Chop the peppers and set aside.
- Heat a skillet over high heat until a drop of water sizzles and evaporates almost immediately. Add the corn to the skillet and sauté until the kernels are about 50% blackened. Dump the corn out onto a plate or a bowl and let cool to room temperature.
- Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the diced onion. Sauté, stirring constantly, until the onion is beginning to blacken. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds longer. Scrape the onion and garlic onto the plate with the corn. Let cool to room temperature
- Add the diced poblano peppers, corn, onion and garlic to a large bowl and add the rest of the salsa ingredients. Toss to combine. Taste, and add more lime, salt and pepper if desired.
Make the Enchilada Cream:
- In a medium size bowl, add the Cream Mexicana and enchilada sauce. Stir to combine. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Assemble the Tostadas:
- Spread a tostada shell with about ¼ cup refried black beans. Top with about ½ cup (or more) corn salsa. Drizzle with some enchilada cream and sprinkle with cheese.
What kind of black beans should you use?
If you'd like to cook dried beans here's a recipe to cook beans in a slow cooker or, use this recipe to cook beans in the Instant Pot.
If using canned beans, make sure the brand you choose is good quality. Drain the beans before using in this recipe.
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Serving Size:1 tostada
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 346Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 589mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 12gSugar: 7gProtein: 16g
sara lafountain says
These tostadas were delicious! My family loved them so much and asked when I will be making them again.
I am so happy to hear that Sara! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment for me. I truly appreciate it! xo
I’ve had my eyes on this recipe for a while and I finally made it. OMG. The flavors are absolutely fabulous. It’s just for me so I cut it in half but I will be thoroughly continuing to enjoy it for lunch this week. It’s a little bit of work but most everything can be made ahead. The beans benefited from the enchilada sauce, charring the corn and onions lent a great flavor but the very best part was the Crema and enchilada sauce. I could eat that by itself. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for another happy dance in my mouth.
I'm so happy to hear that you liked this recipe Judy! I feel exactly the same way about the cream and enchilada sauce. I haven't made these in a while, but decided that I need another happy dance in my mouth too, so I'm making them later this week. Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to leave a comment for me! xoxo