Tostado Stack

Betsy loves Tex-Mex. And make no mistake that it ranks pretty highly for me also. So a lot of times something in the Tex-Mex category is my default if I’m looking for a meal. This is a recipe that I make every once in awhile and realized recently that I’ve never posted it. What’s nice about it is that it’s actually pretty quick to make even though it tastes very elaborate. The rice and bean mix uses mainly canned ingredients which speeds up cooking and you could even take some more shortcuts if you were pressed for time.

It’s also fun to stack layers of spicy rice and beans between freshly fried tostados. Depending on your hunger you can stack as high as you want!

Yum.

I’ve made various versions of rice and beans before and I’m always experimenting with new ways to do it. For this one I used whole spices which added a great flavor to the dish. I think I’ll probably start doing that from now on.

Yield
Serves 4.
Prep Time
Total Time
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • Rice and Beans:
  • 1 1/2 Cups long grain rice (not instant)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans (or any bean that you want)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon crushed red peppers
  • 2 Teaspoons paprika
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 corn tortillas (or as many as you want to stack I guess)
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
  • Sour Cream (optional)
  • 2 Avocados, for guacamole
  • Hot sauce (optional)

Helpful Equipment

Directions

1) Add spices to the pan and toast them for 5 minutes over medium-high heat until they start to smell really good. They should turn slightly tan, but don’t let them burn!

2) Give them a quick whirl in spice grinder. If you wanted it really spicy, you could up the red pepper a bit and also add some cayenne.

3) Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pan with a lid. Add onions and garlic and cook for just a few minutes until they are translucent. Then add all spices and stir well to combine.

4) Stir in rice. Stir everything together for about 30 seconds.

5) Add canned tomatoes and about 3 to 3 1/2 Cups water. Bring this mixture to a simmer and cook it covered over low heat for about 20 minutes.

6) To make tostados, add canola oil (or peanut oil) to a large frying pan until it comes about 1/2 inch up the side. Heat it until the oil is 350 degrees.

7) Once oil is hot, toss in one or two tortillas at a time depending on the size of your pan.

8) With some tongs, gently turn the tortilla over every few seconds to keep it as flat as possible.

9) Move the tortillas to a paper towel or a paper bag to drain off the oil and add some salt to them right away.

10) After 20 minutes or so, check rice and beans. Add beans near the end (drain them from the can) and also add a good pinch of salt and pepper.

11) Stack! Start with a layer of rice and beans. The basic layer is tostado, cheese, rice and beans, hot sauce (optional), and another tostado. Top the whole thing with sour cream and guacamole.


Making the rice and beans

You could add some sort of meat to this if you want, but honestly, I think it’s so flavorful from the spices that I don’t really miss the meat at all. Plus it would add time onto your prep so for me this is a great vegetarian meal.

Good stuff.

If you are using whole spices, add them to a pan and toast them for 5 minutes over medium-high heat until they start to smell really good. They should turn slightly tan, but don’t let them burn!

This will make your house smell good.

Then give them a quick whirl in your spice grinder. The spices that I used for this version don’t make the rice and beans really spicy, but they do make it flavorful! If you wanted it really spicy, you could up the red pepper a bit and also add some cayenne to the party.

Lots of flavor in this bowl.

To get your rice and beans started, heat your oil over medium-high heat in a large pan with a lid. Add your onions and garlic and cook for just a few minutes until they are translucent. Then add all your spices and stir well to combine.

Next stir in you rice. Sort of like making a risotto, you want the rice to absorb some of the spices and get hot before you add your liquids. Just stir everything together for about 30 seconds. It will smell good and it should look like this.

Kind of like a risotto!

Next add your canned tomatoes and about 3 to 3 1/2 Cups water. Depending on what kind of rice you use exactly, you’ll have to adjust the amount of water. Just remember that there’s some liquid in your canned tomatoes also.

Beautiful color.

Bring this mixture to a simmer and cook it covered over low heat for about 20 minutes. Again, check your rice package as the cooking time will vary a lot based on what kind of rice you are using. I usually check mine at about 20 minutes and give it a quick stir just to make sure the rice isn’t sticking. You can also add a bit more liquid at this point if you need to.

Making the tostados

I think you can buy tostados already made, but I think they are better fresh (as with most fried things). They are easy to make than tortilla chips even. Just add canola oil (or peanut oil) to a large frying pan until it comes about 1/2 inch up the side. Heat it until the oil is 350 degrees. It helps to have a thermometer for this, but if you don’t have one, just rip off a tiny piece of tortilla and toss it in as a sacrifice.

Once your oil is hot, toss in one or two tortillas at a time depending on the size of your pan.

When the tortillas hit the oil, they’ll have a tendency to form a bubble. With some tongs, gently turn the tortilla over every few seconds to keep it as flat as possible. Eventually then will start to brown nicely and stop bubbling. This means that most of the moisture is out of the tortilla and therefore it’s super-crispy!

Move the tortillas to a paper towel or a paper bag to drain off the oil and add some salt to them right away.

Nice and crispy.

After 20 minutes or so, as I mentioned, check your rice and beans. Add your beans near the end (drain them from the can) and also add a good pinch of salt and pepper. Depending on your tomatoes and spices you might need more or less salt so just taste it and adjust.

When tasting it, notice how amazing it tastes.

Good just like this.

Making the stack

This is pretty self-explanatory. The only tip I would give is to start with a layer of rice and beans so that your stack doesn’t slide around on the plate. The basic layer is tostado, cheese, rice and beans, hot sauce (optional), and another tostado. Top the whole thing with sour cream and guacamole.

If you’re a visual person, here ya go:

Get it?

Betsy usually does just one layer, but I like two. If you want to be all crazy, you could try three or four. Three tostados packed with the rice and beans and cheese and topped with guacamole and sour cream (or Greek yogurt if you want) is a pretty hearty meal.

Oh and for those people on a diet, maybe don’t slather sour cream all over the top like I did.

Go as high as you want.

Start to finish I would say this meal takes an hour. Totally doable on a week night and the good news is that it makes a lot of food. Betsy and I eat it for days. It’s fantastic for lunch or a quick dinner later in the week.

If you wanted to change it up you could also use the extra rice and beans for a burrito.

You have to love Tex-Mex.