If you looked at this post and wondered just what kind of food tostadas de rajas is – in Mexican cooking, “tostadas” means toasted and “rajas” refers to sliced poblano peppers. So, these are toasted tortillas topped with poblano strips. We saw a recipe in Bon Appetit for this kind of dish and we thought it sounded good, but it wasn’t quite vegetarian. We put our own unique spin on this recipe to create a completely meat-free version (you can even make it vegan by leaving out some ingredients) and here’s how we did it.
There’s several different components to these tostadas. First, for the beans, we diced up one of our onions and smashed the cloves of an entire head of garlic. We also plucked out four sprigs of oregano and one bay leaf.
We poured our entire can of beans into a pot, mixed in all these veggies, and let everything simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes.
Then we pulled out the oregano and the bay leaf and used a potato masher to crush up all the beans.
We heated about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and poured in the bean mixture. We stirred and cooked it for 2 minutes, then let it fry undisturbed for another 2 minutes, then repeated this exact process of stirring and frying twice more.
This is what the beans looked like when they were done:
To make our rajas, we took our four poblanos and roasted them directly over the flames on our stovetop.
We kept them on the stove until they were completely charred on the outside.
We placed the hot poblanos into plastic bags, tied the bags closed, and let them steam for 5-10 minutes. When we took them out, we carefully scraped off the blackened skins and sliced them open to deseed them.
Now we could cut them into strips.
We then cut up half of our second onion and placed it in a skillet with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and 2 sliced cloves of garlic. We cooked these for about 10 minutes, until the onion had softened, and then added in the poblanos and a few oregano leaves and cooked everything for another 5-10 minutes.
Finally, the salsa. We first counted out 10 dried chiles de árbol and broke them into pieces so we could scrape all the seeds out. We placed these chile pieces in a small dry skillet and toasted them for a few minutes, until they just started to brown.
Then we poured 2 1/2 cups of water into a pot and added in the chiles, our 3 whole tomatillos, and 3 smashed garlic cloves. We covered the pot and simmered everything for about 8 minutes, until the tomatillos turned a darker green and started to come apart.
We placed the tomatillos, chiles, garlic, and 1/2 cup of the cooking water into a food processor …
… and blended everything together into a smooth salsa, then squeezed in the juice from half a lime.
To put the tostadas together, we toasted 8 tortillas on a griddle over the stove for around 2 minutes, until they just started to brown, and then flipped them over to let them brown on the other side. Then we topped each one with a heaping spoonful of beans and a sprinkling of crumbled queso fresco (leave this off if you want vegan tostadas) and continued cooking the tortillas for another 2 minutes.
When the tortillas came off the griddle, we placed the poblano strips on top of the beans, and Cyril also fried up an egg to put on his tortilla. Then we spooned salsa over the tostadas.
As you can see, this isn’t exactly an easy process. It takes some time to cook and fry the beans, roast and sauté the poblanos, and prepare the salsa. But it’s worth it: the beans come out very tasty, the salsa is nice and spicy, and the poblanos adds some nice flavor to everything. Plus, without the cheese and the egg this makes for an interesting vegan dish. So if you’ve got an hour or so and want to try something new, consider these tostadas.