Black bean tostadas

Black bean tostadas

Hungry For That
Lauren Bamford

One of my first ever taco truck experiences in the States was at a seafood taco truck in East LA over by Highland Park. It was an old-school type of truck, no Twitter or Facebook, just the same spot day in and day out. I was staying with my good friend Jeff Jank from Stones Throw records. I had driven past this truck many a time between Jeff’s office and his house but never thought to stop. Highland Park a few years ago didn’t really have any spots for breakfast or lunch so I was always struggling to find something local. On one of these ‘hungry in LA with no car’ struggles, I walked on down to the truck and was really pleasantly surprised by the freshness of the seafood tostadas.

Tostadas are crisp-fried tortillas, and can be topped however you like – get creative. I love them; they make you think about what you’re eating a little bit differently. Unlike a soft taco, which I always eat far too quickly, the tostada commands you to take your time, or the whole thing will come crashing down. Whenever we cater for a wedding or a party we always try and get the hosts to go with some tostadas for starters. I like to do a small tostada, which is around 5 cm in diameter but you can easily go for bigger.

You can buy tostada chips from South American food stores. Otherwise, most supermarkets will carry plain, round corn (tortilla) chips, which work well as a substitute.


Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity black beans, (see recipe note)
12 tostada chips
danish feta, crumbled, to serve

Quick pickled onions

Quantity Ingredient
440g white sugar
625ml white vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
3 red onions, halved

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
coriander leaves, finely chopped


  1. For the quick pickled onions, combine the sugar, vinegar and salt in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring to dissolve the sugar, for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Slice onions finely.
  2. Prepare the black beans (see note) and allow to come to room temperature.
  3. Scoop a tablespoonful of the beans onto each tostada and top with a little of the Danish feta, pickled onion slices and coriander.


  • For the black beans, drain 400 g canned black beans or soak 200 g dried black beans water overnight, and drain. If using dried beans, add them to a saucepan with 1.5 litres water and bring to the boil. Simmer, covered, over a medium heat for 30 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the beans – they shouldn’t be fully cooked yet. Drain and refresh under cold water.

    In a food processor or blender, combine 2 guajillo chillies (that have been soaked in 500 ml boiling water for 30 minutes), 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and 250 ml of the chilli soaking liquid and process until smooth.

    Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over a low heat and fry 1/2 diced red onion and 3 sliced garlic cloves for 3–4 minutes, or until soft. Add 200 g tinned tomatoes, the guajillo chilli mixture, beans and salt to taste. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid and simmer for 30 minutes if using dried beans, or 15–20 minutes if using tinned beans, or until the sauce has reduced and the beans are really tender.
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