Shelley's Vegan Black Bean Tostadas (with Guacamole)

Shelley's Vegan Black Bean Tostadas (with Guacamole)

Cooked Black Beans for adding to other recipes...
Soak 1 cup of beans over night. Discard soaking water and rinse beans. Place in pot with 5 cups water and bring to a boil. Skim foam. Add a small amount of Kombu or Nori seaweed (hint: soak dried seaweed for a few minutes before adding to beans. I once got a bean pot full of tiny periwinkles that were all hidden in my nori). The seaweed softens the beans and makes them easier to digest (if ya' know what I mean ;-) . Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Begin timing when heat is lowered, checking and replenishing water as needed. Hint: adding salt to beans while cooking or reusing soaking water will cause beans to be tough.

Black Bean Tostada
Serves 4-6
The black beans are even more flavorful the next day, so make them ahead of time if it's convenient.

8 corn tortillas
Vegetable oil for frying
1-1/3 cups black beans
3 medium onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin seeds
1-1/2 tsp. ground coriander seeds
1 tsp. minced chilies
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or butter if not a vegetarian)
1 medium tomato, chopped
juice of 2 oranges
salt to taste

2 large ripe avocados
1 large garlic clove, minced or pressed (to taste)
juice of 1-1-1/2 lemons (to taste)
salt to taste
shredded lettuce
grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (I'm using soy cheese)

Cook the black beans as above.

Pour vegetable oil into a small skillet to about 1/2" depth. Heat until the oil is hot enough that when you drop in a tiny piece of tortilla, it quickly rises to the surface. Fry the tortillas, one at a time, for about 1 (one) minute on each side until they are crisp. Drain the tortillas on paper towels and set aside.

To make the black beans, sauté the onions, garlic, cumin coriander and chilies in the oil using a large skillet or medium saucepan, until the onions are soft and translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain the cooked black beans and add them to the skillet. Mash with a potato masher or spoon until most of the beans are mashed. Add the tomatoes and orange juice. (Throw in the orange halves after squeezing out the juice if you like. Just remember to remove them before serving.) Cover and simmer on very low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Add salt to taste.

For the guacamole, slice the avocados in half. Remove the pits and scoop out the avocado flesh with a spoon. In a mixing bowl, mash the avocado until fairly smooth. Add the garlic, lemon juice and salt to taste. Or use a food processor for a very smooth guacamole.

Now it's time to layer the tostadas. You can make them for you guests or have them make their own. For each serving, start with a crisp tortilla; cover it generously with shredded lettuce and then black beans, topped with grated cheese, guacamole, and salsa. Top with sour cream, if desired.



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