Tostadas: The Inspiration
I’ll admit, I can’t take full credit for this idea. My Chickpea Tostada recipe has been a result of various successes with chickpea taco recipes, and mostly by observing friends and family in the kitchen.
There’s something about watching people create recipes, throw together last minute meals, and arrange food on a plate. It’s like watching an artist in process. There can be moments of heightened stress, moments of joy, and a feeling of accomplishment when it all comes together into a presentable dish.
Cooking is a form of expression. After a long day, when you reach for your favorite spices, oils, and items from the produce drawer; you feel this sense of release. You know there’s a bit of a gamble to the process. Despite your hard work, you might burn a whole tray of muffins. You might over-salt the tofu. You might throw too many chillies in the pan, and the aroma of capsaicinoids has you in coughing fits. Even though you know the risk, the benefits of creating something new in the kitchen outweigh the potential mishaps.
So you keep creating, cooking, and maybe one day you’ll have a masterpiece recipe you can share with friends and family.
Tostadas lend themselves to artistic expression. Use whatever colors, tastes, and textures appeal to you. Experiment with risky flavor combinations, incorporate leftover produce scraps, and have fun.
I have always loved watching people cook. We all have our own approach, our own process in the kitchen. Some of us are planners, relying on a handful of reliable recipes we have saved on Pinterest. Others abandon recipes all together, and just have fun with it.
You might have guessed at this point that this laid-back approach towards cooking piques my interest and inspires me in a myriad of ways.
When I lived in a four-person apartment in Alexandria, Virginia, I watched my roommate Blayne cook the most fabulous dinners. It didn’t matter if it was a Tuesday, Blayne would sear salmon in extra virgin olive oil and garnish it with black sesame seeds. One week, Blayne was on a tostada kick. She would take corn tortillas, fry them in an oiled pan and then pat them dry before adding the most intriguing combination of toppings.
I watched, impressed and curious, as she arranged cubes of spiced sweet potatoes onto a crunchy tortilla shell.
I noticed it became a pattern. Tostadas with slow roasted eggplant, with a drizzle of hot honey. Tostadas with crumbly feta cheese, peppery arugula, and farm fresh eggs. Blayne was so nonchalant about her amazing invention: “oh yeah, you know, you can make these with anything. Throw whatever vegetables you have on a crunchy tortilla, and you have a tostada!”
Noted. I had the tostadas at the back of my mind since then, always wondering if I were to make a tostada, how I would create one of my own. Blayne was not just giving me a recipe—she was giving me a canvas. The tostada is an excellent base for delicious toppings no matter what your food preferences might be.
You use the base, and you create your own art from there.
The Chickpea Tostada
Chickpeas are of course, the main event here. They are a pantry staple, making them an easy protein source for so many recipes that typically use meat. According to Saffron Road, chickpeas have amino acids, stabilize blood sugar and lower cholesterol.
In addition to the health benefits, chickpeas are incredibly versatile. Check out this roundup piece featuring 26 Recipes using chickpeas by the Kitchn. Chickpeas are cheap, delicious, and they take on the flavor of whatever you choose to spice them up with. They are often eaten raw on salads, pureed into hummus, or slow-cooked into spicy stews. Roast them and they become crunchy, while soft on the inside.
That’s exactly what I did with this tostada recipe. I roasted them with paprika for spice, cumin for earthiness, chilli powder for heat and tumeric for a subtle sweetness.
So, this Chickpea Tostada recipe is a perfect use of those cans of chickpeas sitting at the back of the cabinet. I paired the roasted chickpeas with all my favorite garnishes and my bright zesty beet hummus.
The hummus uses the traditional chickpea, garlic, and tahini combination, with a twist.
The added beets give the hummus and earthy flavor, while creating this beautiful bright color.
The lime juice adds a tangy element to the profile, balanced out by the buttery avocado oil.
The roasted chickpeas add heat and spice to the flavor profile, cut by the soft avocado slices.
The butter lettuce gives it a neutral bite, which contrasts with the peppery radishes.
Tostadas: A Chef’s Edible Canvas
In Spanish, tostada means “toasted”. Traditionally, the tortilla is the base, whether deep fried or baked. Think of the tostada as a vehicle for delicious slow-roasted vegetables, dressed with decadent cremas, and topped with fresh garnishings.
Tostadas in a sense, are a canvas for all those leftover ingredients you have, pantry items you might not otherwise use, and produce on its last leg. The best part? The tortillas don’t even have to be fresh. You can feel free to use slightly stale tortillas, because they will become crunchy in the oven anyways.
This recipe is a great place to start, but if you don’t have these ingredients, feel free to build your own based on what you have.
Some great topping combinations for toastadas are:
- Sweet potato, Feta Cheese and Spinach
- Jackfruit, Pineapple and Jalapeno
- Black beans, Avocado and Pico de Gallo
- Scrambled Tofu, Nutritional Yeast and Hot Sauce
Gather whatever ingredients you have on hand, and start creating your own tostada.
I love hearing from you, so let me know if you tried this recipe or if you’ve been inspired to create your own tostada masterpiece!
Crunchy Chickpea Tostadas
- 2 15oz cans chickpeas
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 1/2 tsp himalayan pink salt
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/8 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp tumeric
- 1/8 tsp chilli powder
- 8 small tortillas corn or flour (by preference)
- 1 lime sliced
- 2 radishes sliced thinly
- 1 handful cilantro roughly chopped
- 1 bunch butter lettuce roughly chopped
- 1 avocado sliced
- Heat the oven to 400°F.
- Drain the chickpeas, rinsing thoroughly in a strainer under running water.
- Allow the chickpeas to dry for a few minutes.
- Spread the chickpeas out into a layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with avocado oil, and add seasonings. Using your hands, make sure the chickpeas are coated in the oil and spice mixture.
- Roast the chickpeas for 20 minutes, shaking the pan once during cooking.
- Layer the tortillas onto two baking sheets and crisp them in the oven for 4-8 minutes.
- Note: feel free to add a little avocado oil and pink salt before cooking in the oven.
- To serve, plate the tostada shells and spread some of that delicious beet hummus on the shell.
- Sprinkle the chickpeas over the layer of hummus.
- Garnish with butter lettuce, cilantro, avocado, radish slices and limes.