The Best Tortillas To Use For Tostadas

You know the expression "waste not, want not?" The phrase basically means, if you never waste anything, you'll never be in need of anything (via Merriam-Webster), and it's put into practice by many global cuisines that make smart use of leftover ingredients. There's Italian spaghetti frittata, which suspends leftover pasta in a warm, fluffy egg omelet; Chinese fried rice, which spins cold, dry rice into a new and exciting dish; and originally-ancient-Roman, now-global French toast, which rescues stale bread slices with a rich custard soak and a hot, buttered skillet (via Frenchly). 

You can add to that list of all-stars Mexican tostadas, which are simply a practical way to use up stale tortillas instead of throwing them out, according to Epicurious. While you may have eaten a crunchy, loaded tostada in your favorite Mexican restaurant, they're super easy to make at home, too — but you're going to want to make sure you have the right type of tortilla on hand before you set out to do so.

Tostadas are simply toasted or fried corn tortillas

You've probably munched through your fair share of tacos, tamales, empanadas, and other Mexican delights — and if you'll notice, these dishes all have one thing in common: They're all based on corn masa, the Mexican mother dough that consists of dried, nixtamalized corn that's ground into a dough and used for tortillas, tlacoyos, and other iconic dishes (via Eat Mexico). In Mexico, corn is the thing: "Sin maíz, no hay país," the expression goes: "Without corn, there is no country" (via Greenpeace).

Mexicans simply never run out of ways to cook corn, and one of their most common uses for it is the tostada, a crispy masa snack that can come piled with grilled shrimp and cabbage salad, spiced beef sausage with beans and guacamole (via Leche con Tuna), and a variety of other toppings. Corn tortillas are the type you'll want to use for your homemade tostadas, as the flour variety are not commonly used in authentic Mexican cuisine. 

To make them, you can either toast stale tortillas on a griddle or skillet or in a 450-degrees Fahrenheit oven until crisp (via MasterClass), or shallow fry the tortillas in hot oil. Then, you're all ready to pile them with pretty much anything you like, from traditional Mexican ingredients to charred snap peas to any leftover salad you might have kicking around in the fridge. It's a smart — and tasty — way to avoid producing food waste.