Easy Bean Tostadas

I recently learned that July 3 is Eat Beans Day, so what better excuse to whip up a tasty, healthy bean-inspired recipe!

Beans are a nutritional powerhouse. They are naturally fat and cholesterol free and are full of antioxidants, fiber, and protein. Studies suggest that eating beans may reduce your risk of heart disease and some cancers. Beans also have a low glycemic index, which means they take longer to digest and will not spike blood sugar levels. Additionally, beans are a great source of many different nutrients.

A half-cup serving of beans provides:

  • 23-45% daily value (DV) folate
  • 11% DV iron
  • 24-36% DV fiber
  • 14-16% DV protein
  • 10% DV potassium

One of my favorite ways to prepare beans is in tostadas. Tostadas are a filling, meatless meal and they come together in a flash. They are perfect for busy nights when there isn’t much time to cook. We eat them a few times a month at my house, and we never get tired of them!

Traditionally, tostadas consist of a fried tortilla, topped with refried beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and pickles. You an also add sliced avocado, sour cream, etc. for extra toppings. With fried tortillas, cheese, and sour cream, tostadas might not sound like the healthiest weeknight dinner. But, with a few simple changes, it’s easy to lighten up this recipe.

For example, instead of frying tortillas, bake them until crispy in the oven. Sub part-skim or low-fat cheese in place of full-fat cheese. Then, instead of sour cream, try swapping in a low-fat, plain Greek yogurt.

Here’s my lightened-up tostada recipe:

Healthy Tostadas
serves 4-6

6 small tortillas (corn or flour)

1tbsp oil

1 can low-fat refried beans

1 to 1½ cups low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded

2 cups lettuce, shredded

1 cup tomato, chopped

¼ cup dill pickle relish

1 avocado, peeled, seeded and chopped

½ cup low-fat, plain Greek yogurt

hot sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place tortillas on cookie sheet and brush lightly with oil. Bake tortillas for 4 minutes on each side or until crispy and lightly browned.
  2. Heat refried beans on stove top.
  3. When all the toppings are prepared and tortillas and beans are cooked, assemble tostadas. Spread refried beans on tortillas. Then sprinkle with cheese, lettuce, tomato, relish, avocado, yogurt, and hot sauce.
  4. Serve immediately.

Lauren Wright works with both the HYPE Project and Let’s Go! SC. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Human Nutrition at Winthrop University. Previously, she earned her BA in Political Science at the University of Florida and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Rwanda.


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