Tostadas, fast, fun, fresh and infinitely versatile. For this version, fresh baked tostada shells deliver creamy beans, savory chicken and a surprise tangy seasoned romaine topping. These Black Bean Chicken Tostadas with Tangy Romaine make a great little dinner idea.
Mexican Food Rocks
Many years and many tostadas later, I’m still hooked and think they’re about the best Mexican food going. With that beautiful warm tortilla shell, it seems you could throw about anything on it and have a good snack. But it should be a great snack. What makes a tostada a great tostada?
A Great Tostada Shell
- It starts with a good tortilla
- corn, of course
- that’s cooked just chewy enough not to crumble in your hands
- and one that stays crisp for the duration.
The purchased tostada shells are great for a super quick fix, but making your own homemade Tostada shells take just a few minutes.
I’ve had hit and miss results from frying soft tortillas, seems they can easily end up heavy and soggy. I like to bake them 400 degrees for around 6 minutes. Just lay soft corn tortillas on a baking sheet. Lightly brush both sides with vegetable oil, sprinkle with light dusting of salt and chile powder. Slide them into the oven for about 3 minutes, turn them over, repeat salt, and chile powder and cook 3 minutes longer.
Homemade tostada shells are best eaten right out of the oven. So be sure you have all of your tostada ingredients ready to assemble.
Build it Right
A great tostada is piled high with texture and flavors. Start with something soft and creamy, beans or avocado for example. Savory seasoned meat of any kind. A crunch of fresh vegetable …raw onion or radish come to mind. Usually topped with crisp lettuce. A dollop of sour cream or Mexican crema adds a cool tangy finish. And, of course, shredded cheese or crumbled cojita are standard.
I’ve gotten in the habit of serving any tostada with a wedge of lime. A quick squeeze will send it over the top for an easy Mexican dish.
Easy enough, right? And this formula leaves us with an endless lineup of combinations.
Flavoring the lettuce will bring any tostada to a new level of excitement. One I prefer is the chopped Romaine tossed with red wine vinegar and olive oil. Try it sometime, you’ll be surprised the flavor it brings.
And, of course, a good salsa is a must. This is tomatilla salsa, which Bayless recommends for this black bean tostada.
Easy Is A Good Thing
To make this easy Mexican chicken tostada even easier, I used a purchased rotisserie chicken and canned black beans.
This tostada meets all of the criteria for greatness. The creamy layer of black beans that have been flavored with garlic and onion, a savory layer of seasoned chicken breast, all topped with the crunch of a beautifully flavored lettuce.
With tangy romaine, this is a great tostada
- corn tortillas
- 1 medium sweet onion chopped
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
- 1 can black beans drained with liquid reserved
- 3 cups Cooked Chicken Rotisserie, or roasted chicken breasts, shredded
- 3/4 cup crema creme fraiche, or sour cream thinned with a little milk
- 1 cup salsa
- Around 1/2 cup grated Mexican queso cheese or parmesan or romano
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cups romaine lettuce sliced about 1/4 inch wide
The Beans: Saute the onion until golden brown, then add the garlic and cook for a couple minutes. Add the beans and mash them up along with the onions. Add the reserved liquid as you go. Taste for salt.
The toppings: When ready to serve, set out bowls of the crema, chicken, beans. Toss the lettuce with the olive oil and vinegar and set it out.
Layering: Spread each tortilla with a couple tablespoons of beans, chicken, then about 1/4 cup of the lettuce. Drizzle some crema on top of that.
Spoon on the tomatilla salsa and dust with cheese.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush both sides of tortillas with olive oil. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 3 minutes, flip, and bake for additional 3 minutes. Once tortillas are done baking, sprinkle with salt and begin to assemble tostadas. Oven baked tostada shells are best served right out of the oven. While tortillas are baking make sure all toppings are ready to go.
Looking for more Chicken Tostada recipe ideas? How about these:
From the Kitchen of Lea Ann Brown, A Denver Area Food Blog, recipes with Western flair