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Recipe: tostadas

As the calendar flips from December to January, my dismay at how quickly the year has passed morphs into the joy of a new year. New year, new starts, new whatevers. It is good for me. Nothing actually changes, but my mind feels free and wide open. I’m glad the holidays are over. January is more my pace anyway. I should also disclose that I like Mondays too. So there’s that…

kaweah enjoyed our new year’s ski

No new snow (*sob*) at the resorts meant more time spent in the backcountry which meant more quality time with Kaweah. While I would never turn down a powder day at Vail or Breckenridge, I rather love the peaceful quiet, solitude, and natural beauty of our local trails. On a typical day of skiing the backcountry, we would come home and heat up a nice, hot meal of soup or chili or anything with good heat capacity. But this past week has been ridiculously warm and sunny, rising above freezing here in the mountains – which I’m pretty sure is illegal in the state of Colorado during the winter months. Instead of craving a warm bowl of something savory in my belly, I wanted a salad.

cheese, refritos, olives, salsa, fried corn tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, dressing

There are short tostadas and tall tostadas. The short ones, you can pick up and eat like a pizza. I have no interest in those. The tall ones are loaded with lettuce and are more of a salad than an item you pick up with your hands. I’ve had these mountainous salads in Southern California and recently enjoyed one at Pica’s here in Boulder and I love them. The big draw for me is the heaping pile of crunchy lettuce.

shredding lettuce (i’d rather be shredding the slopes)

just enough to coat

I use romaine lettuce because of its firmness and texture. I don’t think I’ve purchased iceberg lettuce in over a decade if not longer. The lettuce is usually dressed in a light vinaigrette. It’s easy enough to whip up your own, but you can also use any dressing you prefer. I like the dijon vinaigrette, myself.

toss the lettuce, tomatoes, and olives together

spread a few spoonfuls of refritos on the tortilla

The best thing about this recipe is the flexibility of it all. Don’t like olives? Omit them. Want to add jalapeños? Go for it! And nearly everything can be sourced from scratch or bought prepared from the store. I fry my corn tortillas because I buy organic (just set in an inch of hot vegetable oil for 20 seconds or more until crisp). If you don’t want to do that, if you can’t find fried tortillas, if you want something super quick – use tortilla chips, yo. Refritos (refried beans)? From scratch or store-bought or whole beans – you’re choice. Same for salsa or guacamole. Want to add chicken, beef, pork, seafood? Right on. See what I mean? Lots of options to satisfy everyone. I try to keep mine simple.

load up the vegetables

top with avocado (or guacamole) and a little cheese

It’s an easy meal to slap together and tremendously forgiving if you don’t have everything on hand. And it satisfies my craving for greens and crunch (I like crunchy things, if that wasn’t obvious)! Don’t forget a spoonful of salsa on top for that zippy finish.

there’s a fiesta in my mouth!

[print recipe]

1 small head romaine lettuce, shredded
1-2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 tbsps black olives, sliced
2 tbsps dressing of your choice (I like this dijon vinaigrette)
1 corn tortilla, fried
2-3 tbsps refritos (refried beans), warmed
1/4 avocado, pitted and diced (or spoonful of guacamole)
1-2 tbsps cheddar cheese, shredded or queso blanco, crumbled
1-2 tbsps salsa

Place the lettuce, tomatoes, and olives in a medium bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and then toss to evenly coat everything. Set the fried corn tortilla on a plate and spread the refritos evenly over the tortilla. Pile the salad over the refritos. Sprinkle the avocado and cheese over the lettuce. Top with a dollop of salsa. Serves 1.

17 nibbles at “fiesta!”

  1. joey says:

    Lovely lovely salad! This would go over tremendously with us too over here across the globe :) Happy New Year! All the best for 2012!!

  2. sara says:

    Oooh, this looks so delicious! Love it – yum! :)

  3. ilinap says:

    I’m making this for dinner tonight!

  4. vanillasugarblog says:

    now that’s, a meal.
    this is how i love to eat–always craving avocados.

  5. Sabina says:

    I love love love your photographs, just discovered you as I was looking up recipes for chive dumplings and your photo caught my eye first and led me here, what a glorious celebration of food and life you offer/

  6. Connie says:

    I’m from Southern California…I rarely ever see tostadas like that! I think I am being shortchanged in the tostada department! Looks like a wonderful way to celebrate the new year.

  7. beti says:

    awww your dog is so beautiful!!! the salad is very creative I love all the ingredients you used

  8. Kevin (Closet Cooking) says:

    That tostada looks so good!

  9. Meg @ Sweet Twist says:

    Yes PLEASE!!!!

  10. Meg @ Sweet Twist says:

    Had to pin it!!

  11. cindy says:

    I read this yesterday morning and made tostadas last night…I just had to! Thanks for the inspiration ;) and happy new year!

  12. Lydia McD says:

    Seems like 2/3rds of my meals involve beans, avocados, and some version of tomatoes, and tortillas at least half of that. Feel free to run with this theme for awhile!

  13. wanG says:

    everything about your blog looks so yummy…>>drooling<<

  14. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence says:

    That last photo is making me so hungry right now. I’m thinking I would add some shredded chicken to the mix.

  15. jenyu says:

    joey – thank you!

    ilinap – hope it went over well :)

    vanillasugarblog – it’s so satisfyingly fresh.

    Sabina – thank you!

    Connie – really? we’d get these in pasadena :)

    beta – thank you :)

    Kevin – :)

    Meg – thanks for the pin!

    cindy – yay for you! Happy new year too.

    Lydia – mmmmmm, sounds pretty good to me.

    wanG – awww, you’re very kind.

    Brandon – yup, you can totally do that! I’m sure it would be terrific.

  16. Lisa says:

    This was a wonderful recipe! Thanks for sharing!

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