Pinto Bean Tostada Recipe

When it comes to Mexican food, most people have a go-to dish. Maybe you're a taco loyalist, or maybe you're obsessed with a perfectly-folded burrito. If you like your meal to come with more of a crunch, look no further than the humble tostada. It has many of the same ingredients as other Mexican (or Tex-Mex) fare, like beans, pico de gallo, and cheese, but is served more like an open-face sandwich — if the bread was replaced with a crunchy tortilla. Tired of Taco Tuesday? This pinto bean tostada recipe by Miriam Hahn is simple, flavorful, and perfect for a group.

Plus, this recipe is flexible. "You can use the mini corn tortillas and toast them up and make this whole recipe as more of an appetizer, which is fun," Hahn says. "If you prefer tacos over tostadas, you can easily use taco shells instead or the filling also works great wrapped in a tortilla." It can also be customized to suit all sorts of culinary preferences and diets: "If I am serving a big group I usually have a couple of versions including dairy-free cheese so people can add whatever type they like. There are so many cheese varieties available now, which makes it nice for people with dietary restrictions," she adds. Here's how to whip up some flavorful tostadas of your own.

Get your tostada ingredients together

Beans are the star here, so you're obviously going to need some — canned pinto beans, to be exact. "You can speed things up by using canned refried beans, but I like using the whole beans to avoid the lard that can be in canned refried beans," Hahn explains. "This is a much healthier version." You'll also need tostada shells, of course, plus broth (veggie or chicken), diced green chiles, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, avocado, shredded lettuce, limes, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and the shredded cheese of your choice.

Prepare the beans

The first thing you'll want to do is preheat your oven to 300 F. Then, get started on the beans. Drain the liquid from your canned pintos and mash them up, either with a large spoon or by placing them in your food processor. You want them to be semi-spreadable, but they don't need to be so mashed they become a paste — feel free to leave some chunks for texture. "You can use dry pinto beans if you make them ahead. My favorite way to do this is with an Instant Pot because it's quicker than stovetop," Hahn says. "You can also change it up and use black beans in this recipe."

Then, add the beans to a small pot along with the green chiles, garlic, salt, pepper, broth, and lime juice; cook over medium, then bring it to a simmer.

Make the salsa and get the toppings together

Now, for the pico. Chop up the tomatoes and put then in a strainer to get the excess liquid out. Meanwhile, dice the onion and jalapeño and cut up and de-stem the cilantro. Put all the veggies and the cilantro in a big bowl and mix them up with lime juice and salt.

Once you've done that, prep your tostada toppings — slice the avocado, put the shredded lettuce in a bowl, grate your cheese (or put it in a bowl if you're using pre-shredded), and so on. Warm up the tostada shells by popping them in the oven for a couple minutes.

Assemble and enjoy your tostadas

All you have left to do is assemble your pinto bean tostadas. Grab a warm shell and slather some beans on. Then, add a scattering of lettuce, followed by cheese, avocado, pico de Gallo, and anything else you're adding, like sour cream or your favorite store-bought hot sauce. Gather your loved ones together, and raise your tostadas for a very tasty toast(ada)!

Pinto Bean Tostada Recipe
5 from 22 ratings
These pinto bean tostadas make for the perfect protein-packed meal in a pinch.
Prep Time
Cook Time
pinto bean tostada on plate
Total time: 26 minutes
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • ¼ cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • juice of 2 limes, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon garlic granules
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeño
  • ¼ white onion
  • ½ bunch cilantro
  • 1 avocado
  • 10 tostada shells
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • ½ cup shredded cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 300 F.
  2. Drain the beans and mash them with a fork or put them in the food processor. You want them to remain a little chunky.
  3. In a small pot, combine the mashed beans, green chiles, broth, juice of ½ lime, ½ teaspoon of salt, the garlic granules, and pepper. Set the heat to medium and cook for 8 minutes, then lower temperature to simmer and cover until ready to use.
  4. Chop the tomatoes and place them in a colander in the sink to drain for 10 minutes. Dice the jalapeño and onion. Chop the cilantro, removing all large stems. In a large bowl, juice the remaining limes and combine with the tomatoes, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, and the remaining salt. Cover and chill the pico de Gallo until ready to use.
  5. Slice the avocado and place the tostada shells in the oven to warm up for 3 minutes.
  6. Layer the tostadas, starting with the bean mixture, then lettuce, cheese, avocado, and pico de Gallo.
  7. Serve right away.
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