Black Bean-Chicken Tostada with Tangy Romaine, A Great Tostada

Many years and many tostadas later, I’m still hooked and think they’re about the best Mexican food going. But what makes a tostada a really great tostada?

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. 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 8-10 minutes. Just lay the soft corn tortillas on a baking sheet. Lightly brush them with vegetable oil, sprinkle with light dusting of salt and chile powder.  Slide them into the oven for about 3 – 5 minutes, turn them over, repeat with oil, salt, and chile powder and cook a few minutes longer.

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.

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 that’s part of the Rick Bayless recipe featured in this post. Try it sometime.

And, of course, a good salsa is a must. This is tomatilla salsa, which Bayless recommends for his Black Bean-Chicken Tostada with Tangy Romaine.

To make this recipe ultra easy,  I used a purchased rotisserie chicken and canned black beans.  This tostada meets all of the criteria for greatness.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Black Bean-Chicken Tostada with Tangy Romaine, A Great Tostada
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
  • corn tortillas
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 can black beans, drained with liquid reserved
  • salt
  • ¾ cup crema, creme fraiche, or sour cream thinned with a little milk
  • 1 cup salsa
  • Around ½ cup grated Mexican queso cheese or parmesan or romano
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups romaine lettuce sliced about ¼ inch wide
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Layering: Spread each tortilla with a couple tablespoons of beans, chicken, then about ¼ cup of the lettuce. Drizzle some crema on top of that.
  4. Spoon on the tomatilla salsa and dust with cheese.

Black Bean-Chicken Tostada…It’s What’s for Dinner.

From the Kitchen of Lea Ann Brown, A Denver Area Food Blog, recipes with Western flair

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  1. says

    I love recipes that start with rotisserie chicken. Great food without the hassle of roasting a chicken at home. Funny, I am roasting a chicken tonight for dinner! I will use leftovers in a tostada this week.

  2. Vickie Hemphill says

    I love the formula for tostadas … genius! And I have two giant bags of tomatillos in the freezer from last summer’s garden. I am inspired! Thank you.
    P. S. that salsa photo is beautiful!

    • says

      Genius????? :) I swear I’m going to grow tomatillos this next year. Never knew you could freeze them. What did you do to them? Just throw them in a bag? That salsa photo just got accepted by one of the big food porn sites who never accept my photos. I was floored.

      • says

        Congratulations! The colors are wonderful in that photo – very eye catching. As for freezing tomatillos, I just cut them in half and put them on a cookie sheet to freeze. Once frozen, I put them in a bag. I chop them for chili and soups during the winter. You can bet I’m going to try them in a salsa. :)

  3. says

    I’ve always had problems with tortillas too and now thanks to your instructions about how to bake them, those problems are out the window. Thanks. I’m always ready for Mexican food and love anything with black beans.

    • says

      Thanks Sam. I find that corn tortillas can be rather finicky. Even when I’m heating a tortilla for soft corn tacos they don’t always behave as they should.

  4. says

    I am all about Mexican food. I like to bake my tortillas too when I’m in a mood to be on the healthier side. When I’m going for super crispy I stick my tortillas in the freezer for half an hour to an hour and fry them in super hot oil until nice and brown. They might fall apart on you but what a delicious mess! Your tostadas look really wonderful.

  5. says

    These tostadas looks really tasty! Next to good southern BBQ, Mexican food is my next favorite. I love almost all the traditional dishes.

    • says

      Me too Curt. I’m so pleased that you stopped by my blog and the comment. I love all the traditional dishes and find myself being a little snobish about “good” Mexican Food. Some of can be too cheesy and greasy.

  6. says

    Thanks for the recipe for making a great tortilla. I’ve never tried it like that and am anxious to try
    I actually have a corn tortilla with an egg inside every morning for breakfast. But I just toast it lightly in the same pan as the egg….just firm enough, but not so firm I can’t fold it.

  7. says

    Thank you for the instructions on baking tortillas, Lea Ann! I can’t wait to try it and these delicious-looking tostadas. Tostadas are one of the very first Mexican foods that I tasted and I still love them.

    • says

      Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and taking the time to comment Jessica. I couldn’t tell you what kind of salsa I like best, they’re all good to me. :)

  8. says

    Hi Lea Ann, Just wanted you to know that you won the cookbook I had for a giveaway. Please email me with your address so I can send it to you.

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