Sunday, August 21, 2011

Weekend Cooking: Kid-Friendly Pinto Bean and Tomatillo Tostadas

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.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. Thanks to Beth Fish Reads for hosting!


  1. This sounds pretty easy and very yummy. Of course, I'd immediately UNvegan it with some cheese. :)

  2. @BFR -- that's exactly what the girls did! :-) But I really found it quite tasty without the cheese!

    @Marie -- Thanks!

  3. I love Mexican food and this recipe sound delicious!

  4. Beth beat me to the punch -- I could skip the meat, but would really want CHEESE. Preferably raw milk cheese from a grass-fed animal, of course. But who am I kidding? If it's cheese, I'll eat it. :)

    Rose City Reader

  5. I've been a vegetarian for years, and have been recently toying with going vegan. I can give up the cheese, for me it's yogurt that I would miss too much, and the vegan alternatives are not palatable to me.

    This is a great recipe, and one I will definitely file away - thanks :)

  6. This sound awesome. I must try this one soon - love pinto beans.

  7. @Amused -- it's easy and yummy, my favorite combo.

    @Rose -- I TOTALLY understand about the cheese. I'm not a vegan or even a vegetarian, I've just been trying to live more sustainably. So I love finding foods that are great without the meat or dairy.

    @ThatBookGirl -- I really can't eat meat or dairy alternatives (coconut milk being a major exception, I love it). So on the rare occasions where meat is called for, I eat it, and enjoy it. I just find myself eating less and less.

    @Diane -- I love pintos too!

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  9. I must agree with Beth F that this cries out for cheese! lol

  10. Sounds yummy! Good wishes for the start of the school year for you and your young ones!

  11. Yummy! This sounds so good! My wife and I are cutting down our dairy and meat consumption and this recipe is exactly the kind of thing we're drawn to -- I think we'll try this this week!

  12. I make beans on a regular basis as they are so easy (crockpot) and inexpensive. Tomatillas are new to me so I'm eager to try your recipe. I've put them on my shopping list.


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