Moving toward a plant-based diet has been easier at some times than others. Home? Easy. Traveling? Hard. Breakfast? Easy. Dinner? Doable but labor intensive – it takes a lot a prep work and ingredients to make a vegan meal tasty enough for a family that enjoys meat. Summer? Easy. School year? That’s what I was worried about. So with September rolling around again, one of the things I wanted to do was come up with a few go-to, kid-friendly vegan meals that I could put together on a weeknight, once the activity-go-round starts up again in next month. Here’s the one my family likes best – and the leftovers make an awesome filling for a vegan wrap later in the week.
This does take about an hour to make, but if you have the beans already made (I always have pressure-cooked beans ready to go) or use canned, you can have this on the table in about an hour, with only about 10 minutes of hands-on time – perfect for helping with homework or supervising piano practice!
Pinto Bean and Tomatillo Tostadas
4 cups cooked pinto beans
1 batch Quick Tomatillo Salsa (recipe follows)
8 corn tortillas
Olive oil for brushing
Salt and cayenne pepper, to taste
Place both ingredients in a saucepan or small Dutch oven over medium heat and bring to a boil. Allow to cook on low heat for about an hour, until the liquid becomes a thick sauce. Don’t stir too enthusiastically or frequently, because the beans will get mushy, and that’s not what we’re going for!
Meanwhile, heat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush tortillas on both sides with olive oil using a pastry brush, and place on a baking tray (two if necessary). Bake for about 5 minutes (using a paring knife to deflate any steam bubbles in the tortillas) until just beginning to brown, then flip the tortillas and bake for another 5 minutes, or until tortillas are golden and crisp. (They do firm up a bit as they cool, so don’t worry if they’re not chip-like.) Remove from oven and salt lightly.
Serve with your family’s favorite tostada toppings: cilantro, tomatoes, lettuce, olives, pickled jalapeños are ours.
Quick Tomatillo Salsa
10 tomatillos, quartered
8-10 green onions, roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro
¼ cup lime juice
2 T olive oil
2 t cumin
Salt and cayenne, to taste
Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until almost smooth. Taste and season. That’s it.
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