Seasoned pinto beans combine with avocado crema and quick pickled onions pack a flavorful punch in these bean tostadas. These are perfect for quick weeknight dinners!
- diet-friendly: vegetarian, soy-free and gluten-free
- seasoned and "refried" pinto beans
- homemade creamy avocado crema
- quick pickled onions
- easy to customize
Ingredients and substitutions
Don't be afraid of the long ingredient list! There are a few different parts to this recipe. Limes, cilantro and salt are used throughout the different components.
Corn tortillas: I use 6 inch soft corn tortillas. Yellow or white will work. You can also buy tostada shells for an even quicker meal!
Pinto beans: Canned pinto beans are stewed with garlic powder, dry cilantro and chipotle chili powder for a flavorful base. Think of these as oil-free "refried" beans.
Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, add a delicious crunch. I use salted roasted pumpkin seeds but unsalted also work.
Cotija cheese is a salty, crumbled Mexican cheese.
This is a combination of avocados, lime juice, cilantro, salt and Greek yogurt. You can make the crema vegan by using a plain vegan yogurt in place of Greek yogurt.
I use a blender to make the crema but you can also use a food processor. Water can be added after blending to smooth out the mixture into a pourable/drizzle-able consistency.
How to make pickled onions
I love adding pickled onions to tostadas for a pop of color and acid. They are surprisingly easy to make, so I always have a jar on hand.
- Slice red onions into very thin strips. Pack tightly into a pint sized mason jar.
- In a small sauce pot, combine vinegar, water, salt and sugar. Add garlic and red pepper flakes if desired.
- Bring vinegar mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Let cool until warm but no longer hot.
- Pour the warm mixture over the red onions. Let cool to room temp before covering and refrigerating.
Leftovers are best stored as individual components. The beans and avocado crema will keep refrigerated for 3-4 days. Quick pickled onions are best within 14 days.
Yes. Just omit the cotija cheese and replace Greek yogurt with vegan sour cream.
I haven't tried this myself but you should be able to use flour tortillas. Bake them at 400 degrees F until they are crispy like a taco shell.
Looking for more weeknight recipes?
Did you make this recipe? You can leave a star rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ in the recipe card or a review down in the comment section. I always appreciate your feedback! You can also follow along on my YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest or sign up for my newsletter!
Vegetarian Bean Tostadas with Avocado Crema
Quick Pickled Red Onions
- 1 medium red onion thinly sliced
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey or agave
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 large ripe avocado pit and skin removed
- 5 ounces (single serve container) plain Greek yogurt
- 1 medium lime
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- ⅛ teaspoon table salt
- 1-2 tablespoons water as needed for thinning
- 1 medium green bell pepper finely chopped
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans don't drain (see note 1)
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro see note 2
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 8 small corn tortillas
- ¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup cotija cheese
- 1 medium lime sliced into wedges
- 1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for topping
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
Quick Pickled Red Onions
- Slice red onion into very thin strips. Pack tightly into a pint sized mason jar.
- In a small sauce pot, combine water, vinegars, honey or agave and 1teaspoon salt. Bring vinegar mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Turn heat off and let cool until warm but not hot.
- Pour warm vinegar mixture over the red onions so that all onions are covered. Let cool to room temperature before covering and transferring to a fridge. The onions are ready to enjoy in half an hour.
- In a high powered blender or food processor combine one avocado, Greek yogurt, juice from one lime, ¼ cup chopped cilantro and ⅛ teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth. Add water as needed to make the crema drizzling consistency.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Evenly layer 8 tortillas on a baking sheet. Once the oven is preheated, cook the tortillas for 8 minutes, or until golden and crisp but not burnt.
- Meanwhile, place a medium saucepot over medium heat. Add the chopped bell pepper, pinto beans with liquid, cilantro, chipotle chili powder, salt and garlic powder. Stir to combine. Stew over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add extra liquid as needed to prevent burning.
- Use a potato masher or fork to mash the pinto beans to desired consistency. I usually leave a few whole beans.
- To assemble tostadas, evenly distribute beans across the 8 toasted tortillas. Spread into an even layer. Top with pumpkin seeds, cotija cheese, a few strips of pickled onions and a drizzle of avocado crema. Serve topped with freshly ground black pepper, fresh chopped cilantro and a lime wedge.
- Pinto beans: The liquid from the canned pinto beans is important in this recipe. If using cooked pinto beans, add an extra ¼ cup water or vegetable broth . I recommend "no salt added" pinto beans.
- Cilantro: I recommend buying a bunch of cilantro as it is used in the beans, crema and as a topping.
- Leftovers: Refrigerate tostada components separately for up to 3-4 days. Assemble before enjoying.
- Quick pickled onions will keep for up to 14 days. You can also add minced garlic, red pepper flakes, black peppercorns, etc. as desired.