This tostada recipe is one from Nopalito, one of my favorite Mexican cookbooks. These Ground Beef Tostadas start with crispy corn tostada shells, refried beans, savory, spiced ground beef loaded with some tasty ingredients and are great when feeding a crowd.
What is the difference between a tostada and a tortilla?
Tostadas are basically a corn tortilla that has been fried or baked flat until crispy.
How do you make tostadas?
Tostadas are layered with tasty ingredients that typically include refried beans, cheese, shredded iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and the usual suspects such as a crema, cotija cheese and the like.
I like to add marinated, pickled red onion slices and chopped cilantro, too.
But about THESE ground beef tostadas…
Nopalito is one of those cookbooks I hope to make one day. Amazing, mouthwatering photography and the inviting layout, recipes and personal notes made me READ this as if a novel. The only other time I did that was when I received Jerusalem, by Ottolenghi, as a gift from a dear friend.
I saw the man behind the restaurant, Gonzalo Guzman, on TV once and just loved his energy and style. Traditional technique with a twist. My kind of cook!
I just wished the restaurant was down here in San Diego as opposed to San Francisco, but it’s just another reason to go up for a visit.
I’ve always thought tostadas to be an open face version of a taco and these Ground Beef Tostadas are some killer ones!
This savory ground beef filling (a picadillo), gets some smokey flavor from the warm, earthy spice cumin, while chopped tomatoes and tomato paste help make a thick, rich sauce.
Diced Yukon Gold potato and diced carrots are the unexpected helpers here that assist in bulking up the ground beef tostadas. The tender vegetables might be unexpected, but are a welcome addition! Really, so good.
These are filling and I just love all the amazing textures and flavors.
Speaking of textures, I prefer a crunchy hearty green cabbage shredded over water logged iceberg lettuce in these, too. It’s up to you!
I hope you give these a try. I make this ground beef filling ahead of time when time is tight and reheat when it’s time to serve.
This recipe feeds about 8-12 people easily. Enjoy!
Ground Beef Tostadas
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp oregano, Mexican preferred (See Note 1)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 large white onion diced
- 2 jalapeños seeded and diced
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 16 oz diced roasted tomatoes
- 2 large carrots peeled and diced
- 1 large Yukon Gold potato diced (about 1 cup+)
- Over medium high heat in a dutch oven or large stock pot add the ground beef, kosher salt, chili powder, oregano and cumin. Cook until no longer pink, about 6-7 minutes.
- Stir in onion, jalapeños and tomato paste. Cook for several minutes. Stir in tomatoes and their juices. Reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes.
- Add diced potatoes and carrot, stir and continue cooking for another 20 minutes. Stir occasionally and add some water if it gets too thick and does not scorch bottom of pot.
- Assemble by spreading some refried beans on each tostada shell and top with ground beef mixture. Add chopped cabbage, cheese, creama, pickled red onion and chopped cilantro.
A little information for you on the two different oreganos: Mexican oregano is a relative of Lemon Verbena and is native to Mexico. Similar in that it’s pungent like Mediterranean oregano, Mexican oregano has notes of mild licorice and citrus. Mediterranean oregano is a member of the mint family and most often is used in Greek and Italian recipes. Mediterranean oregano is the one most found in spice racks and supermarkets.
- If making your own corn tostada shells:
To Bake: Preheat oven to 300°F. Place the corn tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet and spray each side with cooking spray. Bake for 20-30 minutes until crispy, turning once.
To Fry: Over high heat in a skillet add oil to reach 1/2 inch up sides of pan. Add 2-3 tortillas at a time and working quickly, fry until golden and crispy, carefully turning. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
- I make my own refried beans, super easy and less salt than canned.