Molasses & Mayhem

what are you craving?

slow-cooked black bean tostadas with grilled zucchini and hot peppers

slow cooker recipes, vegetarianLauren HaslettComment

i'm making a bit of an effort to be more economical about the way that i eat—that means wasting less, getting creative with less expensive staples, and only buying what's on the list (no impulse purchases).

this recipe makes use of dried beans, which are about as cheap an ingredient as you can find. they also have the benefit of being good for you, since they're loaded with fiber, and dried beans have none of the added sodium that canned beans do. making them in the slow cooker takes a just a little planning ahead (a minimal amount, i promise), and the payoff is so worth it—tender (not mushy) beans seasoned to your own particular taste are a lot more enticing than too-soft, too-salty canned beans with no other flavor.

grilling the veggies cooks them super quickly while adding some extra char and flavor. i've grilled mine indoors on a grill pan (being a city dweller, outdoor grilling, sadly, isn't a real option), but you could easily do this on an outdoor grill, too—i'd suggest lining your grill with aluminum foil first to prevent the veggies from sticking or dropping through the grate.

(serves 2, with plenty of beans leftover for other delicious dishes; 3 tostada shells per serving)


for the black beans:

2 cups dried black beans

5 cups water

1 (12-ounce) can beer

2 garlic cloves, peeled (whole)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 dried puya peppers

1 dried pasilla pepper

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

how to do it: to make the black beans, put all the ingredients into a slow cooker, stir, cover, and cook on high for 7½ hours, or until beans are tender but not mushy and liquid has reduced to about a quarter of what it was originally.

for the tostadas:

6 pre-made tostada shells

1 cup grated or crumbled cheese, such as queso fresco

1 small zucchini, sliced on the diagonal

1 fresh red jalapeño pepper, sliced on the diagonal

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1½ teaspoons fresh lime juice or red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

sour cream, for dolloping (optional)

snipped fresh chives or cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)

how to do it:

1. spread tostadas out in a single layer on a large baking sheet and set oven to 400°f. top each tostada shell with about 2 tablespoons cheese and 2 tablespoons cooked black beans. top beans with one extra tablespoon cheese, if you choose (and i always choose extra cheese, if that's an option). Pop the baking sheet in the oven for about 5-8 minutes, or until cheese is melted and shells are just slightly toasted.

2. while the tostadas are in the oven, toss the zucchini and jalapeño slices in a mixing bowl with the oil, lime juice or vinegar, oregano, salt, and pepper until everything is evenly coated. heat a grill pan over medium heat, then carefully place the sliced veggies on the hot pan. cook about 4-5 minutes (until char marks start to form) then flip the vegetables and cook another 5 minutes until charred on the other side and tender. 

3. remove the tostadas from the oven, top with the grilled zucchini and peppers, and with a little sour cream and fresh chives or cilantro, if you like.

copyright molasses & mayhem; 2014.