Last week I mentioned that Dave, the boys and I have begun another vegetarian summer. Two years ago we did the same, and called ourselves “seasonal vegetarians” and I posted a bunch of fun veggie-filled, meatless recipes under the title “seasonal veggies“. The idea is simple: eat the abundance of produce that the summer and fall provide, and keep the burgers at bay:) We are not strict, and eat meat when we’re out with friends or at summer bbq’s away from home. But, I don’t buy or cook with meat all summer (May-November). It’s a really cool way to get healthier by including more vegetables in our diet, and I love how it forces me to branch out and try or create new recipes. I’m going to try to post some of those we really enjoy this time around too, and first up is this awesome and unbelievably easy tostada.
This little meal originated on one of those days when I had failed to meal-plan for the week before grocery shopping on Monday, so I was simply dumping random stuff into the cart. Not a pretty picture. I came across these thick, handmade tortillas in the dairy case, and remembered a time when I was a study-abroad student in Mexico. I had eaten one of these on the street that the vendor piled high with meat, beans and a dollop of requesón cheese. Spinning back through the produce aisle, I grabbed a bunch of cilantro, some limes and a couple squash to make a veggie version of that delicious tostada at home. I had ricotta on hand from a recent lasagna, and it is similar enough to the soft, curdy, requesón, that I thought it would be a perfect substitute.
I sautéed the squash with some peppers and onions, then added some leftover rice and beans to the pan. Seasoned with a little garlic, cumin and lime juice, the veggies turned out soft and tangy. I heated the tortillas on the pan before spreading them with a layer of ricotta, adding a pile of veggies and topping with more cilantro than is good for me (scratch that, there is no such thing as too much cilantro.) A squeeze of fresh lime brought it all home, and I was licking my fingers. The boys ate them well, too, which is saying something for Milo. I think he thought it was fun to pick it up with his hands.
As far as an easy, summery delicious meal, this one hits the spot. The leftover tortillas also make awesome stuffed-quesadillas I think if you try this one, you’ll like it! Happy weekend.
Summer Squash Tostadas with Soft Cheese and Cilantro
Makes 6 tostadas
2 summer squash, chopped coarsley
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup cooked black beans ( I used canned)
**optional** 1/2 cup cooked rice
2 teaspoons canola oil
6 thick corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups requesón or ricotta cheese
1 bunch chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
Heat sautée pan over medium heat. Toss vegetables with the oil and add to pan. Add garlic and cumin and let cook until veggies are almost tender, then add black beans and rice. Cook until veggies are soft and beans are heated through. Squeeze juice of 1/2 lime over the pan. Heat tortillas and to each one add: 1/4 cup cheese, spread evenly, 1/4 cup veggie mixture, and a bunch of chopped cilantro. Add ground salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lime wedges. Eat with your hands.