It’s time for yet another installment of my new favorite segment on the blog called, CHEERS TO THE WEEKEND! I’m typing this with enthusiasm because I’m very excited about this segment. I think it’s a great way to bring a constant theme to the blog week after week. If you’re paying attention, last week I featured a Blended Peach Bellini that I think makes brunch even more exciting. How can we not be happy about adult smoothies?! This week I’m tackling on appetizers, but not just any appetizer…the perfect party appetizer. These Mini Vegetarian Tostadas pack quite the punch. Now, I’m not a vegetarian at all, not even in the slightest. I’m always trying to figure out new ways to incorporate more beef, more chicken and more pork into my diet. Yet there are some days that I, for some unknown reason, am just really craving a vegetarian meal. Don’t ask me how. Don’t ask me why. It just happens. These tostadas are topped with refried white beans that we can make ourselves with a little help from the store, along with slightly spicy verde rice. That’s carb on carb on carb, with a bit of protein from the beans and lots of healthy toppings like tomatoes and lettuce and avocado and cheese. Cheese is a healthy topping. Trust me.
These are the perfect appetizer to make for parties because they’ll fill people up without having to provide so many of them. They’re hearty and filling, even though they don’t have any meat or chicken or pork in them. I’m telling you, you won’t miss it. The heartiness from the beans and the rice make alone, make this dish desirable. When you throw in classic taco toppings like tomato, avocado, lettuce and cheese…there’s not turning back from that. So what are you waiting for?! These Mini Vegetarian Tostadas are just waiting to be made and eaten by you and you alone. Let’s all get in the kitchen and Cheers to the Weekend together!
Let’s get started on the main component of this dish, as well as any other dish out there…the rice. Rice is my weakness. I grew up eating it every day of my life. This one is a spicy green rice. A verde rice. The first thing you want to do is combine the poblano peppers (which is where the slight heat will come from), onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, salt, pepper, and water in a blender and blend until smooth.
**Note: The mixture will develop a thick foam on top, which is natural. So I recommend letting the mixture sit for about 5 to 10 minutes so that foam settles to the top. Then, just skim it off and discard. You’ll be left with a bright green spicy liquid.**
The next thing you want to do is toast the rice with a bit of oil over medium-high heat until just lightly golden brown. Keep the rice moving so that it doesn’t burn or get too toasted. It should take about 5 minutes. Then pour the green liquid from earlier into the rice and stir to evenly combine. Cook until the liquid has evaporated almost completely, lower the heat to as low as it’ll go and place the lid on. Cook until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.
**Tip: The key to perfect rice is to not let the steam escape at all during cooking. Don’t continuously remove the lid constantly throughout cooking it’ll lose all of that steam and it won’t cook properly.**
While the rice cooks, let’s make the mini tostadas. That’s the crunchy tortilla base. Fill a large skillet or pot with about 2 inches of canola or vegetable oil and set over medium-high heat. Once hot, drop in a few small corn tortillas in. Fry until brown and crunchy on both sides, flipping over halfway, about 3 to 4 minutes in total.
**Tip: To ensure the best golden brown crunchy tostadas, make sure to fry the small tortillas in batches. You definitely don’t want to over-crowd the skillet. It’ll take a few batches, to get the done, but it’s worth it.**
Once the tortillas are golden brown, drain the excess oil and then transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to soak up any of that excess grease. While the tostadas are still warm, season with bit of coarse salt on top.
**Tip: To optimize the flavor whenever you’re frying, it’s best to season anything you fry with a bit of salt right out of the fryer while it’s still somewhat wet. It’ll allow the salt to stick to the food best. And seasoning as you go, every step of the way, is key!**
By now your rice will be done. Remove the lid and fluff it with a fork. This is a crucial step when making rice on the stovetop. Replace the lid and then keep it covered on the back burner until ready to use. Then let’s work on the next step. There are a lot of steps to this recipe, but I promise it’ll be worth it. To make the refried white beans, sauté onions and garlic in a bit of olive oil until soft and just beginning to caramelize, about 8 minutes.
Stir in the can of white beans, along with the bean water, and simmer until warmed through and the water has evaporated some what. Season with a bit of black pepper and the tinniest amount of salt. You don’t want to add too much salt right off the bat because canned beans are salty. Mash everything together with a potato masher until somewhat smooth. Allow to cook on low until ready to use.
**Tip: If you want to make these spicy refried beans, add chopped up jalapeños to the sautéing onions and garlic at the beginning.**
Mash the avocado in a small bowl with lime juice, salt and pepper until the desired consistency is reached. You can have this be smooth or chunky, depending on your preference.
**Note: Adding the lime juice not only adds flavor to the avocado, but it also prevents it from turning brown too quickly. If you don’t have fresh lime on hand, try using lemon juice instead!**
To assemble the tostadas, spread a generous amount of the refried white beans on the crispy tostada shell. Spoon a bit of that verde rice on top and then with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, mashed avocado, pickled jalapeños, and crumbled cotija cheese.
**Note: Cotija cheese is a firm Mexican cheese that you can find in almost any grocery store these days. It’s usually by the refrigerated salsas! If you can’t find it, try using crumbled feta instead. You’ll get the same saltiness and texture.
These mini tostadas are great for party appetizers or starters to any meal! But if you want to turn these into a full fledged dinner main course, use regular sized large corn tortillas instead. You can either fry them yourself, or use store-bought tostada shells instead.
The great thing about a recipe like this is that it makes for the perfect base, or blue print. You can most definitely switch things up and add your favorite protein to it. Try adding shredded chicken or grilled stead or even grilled shrimp to them! While they’re perfect just the way they are, vegetarian and packed with flavor, there’s nothing wrong with adding your own personal twist to them!
**Tip: Try switching up the flavors by using different store-bought salsas for topping. Try a sweet and spicy pineapple or mango salsa as a topping! It’s a great way to switch things up without breaking the bank!**
If you make this recipe, along with any other recipe from the site, be sure to snap a picture and share it on Instagram or Facebook and tag me and hashtag it with #CandidAppetite or #TheCandidAppetite. Once you start making these Cheers to the Weekend recipes, be sure to also tag it with #TCAweekend! I’ll be monitoring it all closely and share my favorites throughout! Happy Cooking!
- ¾ cup loosely packed fresh parsley
- ½ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
- 2 medium poblano peppers, seeded and diced
- ¼ cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup long grain rice, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (15-ounce) can white beans
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 12 small corn tortillas
- vegetable or canola oil for frying
- 2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 medium avocados
- 2 limes
- 1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
- 2 roma tomates, diced
- ¼ cup pickled jalapeños
- ¼ cup crumbled cotija cheese
- To cook the rice, combine the parsley, cilantro, poblanos, onion, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and black pepper in a blender with 1¾ cup water. Blend on high until smooth. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes. This will separate the liquid from the foam. Discard the foam that has settled at the top, and set the green liquid aside.
- Set a medium saucepan over medium-high heat with the oil. Once hot, add the rice and cook until toasted and lightly golden brown, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Season with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Pour the verde liquid into the hot pot and cook until the water has absorbed into the rice. Cover tightly with a lid, lower the heat to as low as it'll go and cook the rice until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- In the mean time, to make the white refried beans, set a medium skillet over medium-high heat with the oil. Once hot, add the onions and garlic and sauté until soft and just beginning to brown. Stir in the beans along with the water in the can. Season with salt and pepper, and low the flame. Let simmer for about 5 minutes and then mash everything together with a potato masher until smooth. Keep warm on the side over low until ready to use.
- Fill a large skillet with about 1-inch of oil and set over medium-high heat. Once hot, fry the small tortillas on both sides until golden brown and crunchy, about 3 to 4 minutes in total. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels, and while hot season with a bit of salt on top. Fry the tortillas in batches until they're all crispy. In a small bowl, mash together the avocado, with the juice of 1 lime juice, salt and pepper.
- To assemble the tostadas, spread the crispy tortillas with some of the refried white beans, top with verde rice, and then sprinkle with lettuce, avocado, tomato, pickled jalapeños and cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!