I usually have a pretty good idea of how a new recipe idea is going to turn out. Sometimes I'm wrong (and terribly disappointed) and other times, I'm happily surprised by how much I'm in love with it.
I'm happy to report that today's recipe test is an absolute winner. In fact, it's what my family calls "Stupid Good."
"Stupid Good" is what we say when something blows our minds. This crazy yummy dish falls under the "Stupid Good" category, hands down, no questions asked.
This dish is also *almost* entirely plant based (or can easily be modified to be...I'll explain what I mean later) for anyone desiring something without animal products. Any time I make something meatless, my goal is for it to be a delicious meal that happens to lack meat...not something that is "not bad for a meatless dish." Know what I mean? I just like to make delicious food with fresh and vibrant flavors. I'm not interested in making "not bad for being vegan" meals.
I started by making vegan friendly refried beans. Anyone who has followed me for any period of time knows I take my beans VERY SERIOUSLY. I spent 10 years making mine taste the way I wanted them to and 100% judge any Mexican restaurant on their beans. I'm a lunatic when it comes to beans is what I'm saying. Ha!
Making plant based refried beans presented a challenge because frankly, the key ingredient in my beans is lard. Lard gives them that rich, luscious flavor and consistency that keeps you coming back for another bite. I needed to recreate that depth of flavor somehow. Let me show you what I did:
For the beans:
2 lbs pinto beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained (don't skip this step.)
1 small yellow onion
1 or 2 whole serrano chiles (according to your spice tolerance)
6 dashes vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup oil of your preference (I used an olive/grapeseed blend)
2 tsp salt (I used pink Himalayan) plus more for later
4 leaves of epazote (If you can find it. Skip it if you can't.)
I threw all the ingredients in my Instant Pot, covered with water and set it for 20 minutes. You can do this in a crock pot (about 6 hours on high) or even on the stove top (about 3 hours or until tender.)
While the beans were going, I prepped the veggie and potato hash.
For the hash:
Makes 8 tostadas
4 Russet potatoes, peeled and diced into half inch cubes
Enough oil to coat the pan
1 small bundle kale, chopped
1 serrano chile, minced
1/4 cup yellow onion, minced
8 spears (or however much you want) of asparagus, finely chopped
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
Chile Pequin salt (Optional. Recipe below.)
Saute the potatoes in the oil over medium heat until all sides are lightly browned. Cover for five minutes to speed up the cooking process. Remove the lid, turning potatoes and crisping on both sides. Cook, flipping regularly to avoid burning, until fork tender.
Add onion, and serrano chile and cook until tender.
Add asparagus and kale and cook until desired tenderness. I like mine super crisp...like just on this side of burnt. ;) You do you.
Season with salt, pepper and garlic to taste. Sprinkle in some Chile Pequin salt if you want a little hint of smokiness with another kick of heat. :)
Chile Pequin Salt:
1 small (0.25 oz) package dried chile pequin
1/2 cup pink Himalayan salt
Blend in blender or spice/coffee grinder until fully combined.
OK! It's almost time to assemble!
To assemble these little tostadas, I needed a vessel. I'm using Golden Sun "High Protein Active Wraps" for the shell. These wraps are Vegan certified, made with probiotics and have 10grams of protein per serving. I wish these had existed when my kids were young. Protein was such a struggle for them, but quesadillas never were. These would be so great for a mom that relates!
I cut them out with a cute scalloped cookie cutter, brushed them with oil and heated them in a skillet to just get a little crisp on the outside and set aside.
I refried the beans (with a little "bean juice") in a skillet with some butter, smashing with my bean masher as they cooked. I know butter isn't plant based so this is where you'd sub Earth Balance or some other vegan friendly product (hence my easily modified comment earlier.) I had butter so I used butter. Earth Balance would work perfectly. Test for salt. I'm 99% sure they'll need salt. Season as needed.
A liberal layer of beans went on the shells...
...and then the veggie hash, piled up high. That's it, that's all. I mean, avocado would probably be amazing too, but I didn't have one. ;)
Get creative and tell me how you customize this. The options are endless!
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