Naturally vegetarian and gluten-free, these hearty black bean tostadas are a simple weeknight dinner you can make in no time.

Black Bean Tostadas

We love any excuse for a Mexican-inspired meal, and with Cinco de Mayo around the corner, it was the perfect time for another experiment! This time we tried our hand at a tostada, a sort of Mexican open-faced sandwich or mini pizza. I’ll be the first to admit that I think each new Mexican dish we try is the “best one yet.” Of course, these black bean tostadas were no exception (though I did really love the Mexican pizza…and the vegetable tamale pies…and the sweet potato enchiladas…).

What I loved most about these black bean tostadas was the flavor – the combination of the spicy beans, roasted tomato salsa, salty cheese, and cumin lime sour cream was to die for! I really loved the roasted tomato salsa; we used purchased salsa to save time, but it inspired me to try our own version at some point. The original recipe called for queso fresco, which I’d been wanting to try, but since it wasn’t readily available we substituted a mild feta.

The only hard part about this dish was eating it! The tortilla (grilled instead of the traditional fried version) was quite hard to cut, so we ended up eating them with our hands. Apparently, there is a fair amount of debate around proper tostada-eating etiquette – see here for a helpful diagram. But the taste makes it worth the effort!

How to make a tostada

These black bean tostadas are incredibly easy to make, and look fabulous when served on a nice platter. There are three main components to these tostadas: the grilled tortilla, the bean topping, and the seasoned sour cream dressing. To make the black bean topping, simply heat the beans over a medium-low heat and stir in some hot sauce, kosher salt, and a few other choice seasonings. Once warmed through, the beans are ready to go!

The sour cream dressing can be made in a matter of seconds; just mix together the sour cream, cumin, salt, and lime zest. (See, these black bean tostadas are a breeze to make!). The final step is to grill the tortillas; brush a little olive oil onto the tortillas and grill until slightly blackened. Once the tortillas have been grilled, it’s just a matter of loading them up with the seasoned beans, sour cream dressing, and anything else you want on top!

It’s crazy how simple these tostadas are to make, isn’t it? I’d recommend eating these right away, but if you have leftovers you can store everything separately (otherwise the tortillas get soggy).

Looking for more vegetarian Mexican recipes?

This recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Black Bean Tostadas

  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Naturally vegetarian and gluten-free, these hearty black bean tostadas are a simple weeknight dinner you can make in no time.


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups black beans (canned or cooked black beans)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican hot sauce (like Cholula)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 lime
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • Roasted tomato salsa
  • 3 ounces queso fresco (or feta cheese crumbles)


  1. Preheat a grill.
  2. Mince 2 cloves garlic. If using canned beans, drain and rinse the beans. In a sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 45 seconds until lightly browned. Add 2 cups black beans, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, 2 teaspoons hot sauce, and 1 teaspoon chili powder. Heat until the beans are warm, and then cover and keep warm.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together ¼ cup sour cream, ¼ teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and the zest of ½ lime.
  4. Brush 4 tortillas with a bit of olive oil and grill each side for about 3 to 4 minutes, until just blackened.
  5. On each tortilla, place black beans, roasted tomato salsa, cumin sour cream, and crumbles of queso fresco or feta. Garnish with the extra lime zest and a wedge of lime.


Adapted from The Food Channel

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Grilled
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: bean tostada, black bean tostadas, how to make tostadas, homemade tostadas

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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  1. I have had good luck finding queso fresco at Saraga market near Lafayette Square. These look great! Also my favorite corn tortillas have come from Fresh Market – they have three kinds, white and yellow corn and chipolte…in the ethnic aisle, on sale this week 2/$4.00. We heat ours over the flame on our gas stove for about 15 seconds per side.

    1. Thanks for the tip on Saraga! We thought about heading out there – but now we know for sure! And our tortillas were from Fresh Market :)

  2. So we just made your recipe for vegetable tamale pies. YUM! I did add shredded chicken but what a simple midweek meal and a huge hit. WE LOVED IT. Unfortunately my husband ended up digging into two of the ramekins instead of his one serving but that shows what a hit it was. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the tamale pies! Now you have another Mexican dish to load into the queue :)

  3. This looks so amazing! I love the photography and can’t wait to try the recipe! I became a vegetarian last fall and have been looking for Mexican recipes that my husband will eat – this one looks amazing. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Aw, thanks!! We really enjoyed making it — and taking the photos! Now that we have the roasted tomato salsa down, on to the homemade queso fresco… :)

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