10 Easy Vegan Tostada Recipe Ideas for Busy People

When I started working from home full-time in 2018, I thought that meal planning and meal prep were going to be easy-peasy! It turns out that things can still get pretty crazy (we tend to work more hours now than when we worked for other people!). We’re busy all the time, which makes meal-related tasks challenging at times. 

In addition, Larissa and I have very different tastes, so trying to find something we both like adds to the challenge. We’re always looking for quick and easy recipe ideas to help make meal time more enjoyable.

Enter vegan tostadas! 

Not only are tostadas super tasty, but they also come with a few extra benefits:

  1. Customizable – By varying the toppings, you can easily cater to different tastes and dietary requirements. 
  2. Quick – Tostadas take very little time to put together, making them perfect for busy weeknights.
  3. Budget-FriendlyBeing plant-based on a budget doesn’t mean you have to miss out on yummy healthy food! The ingredients in tostadas are SUPER budget friendly!
  4. Fun Tostada-making can be an interactive experience, allowing the whole family to get involved in the kitchen for a fun and engaging mealtime.

In this episode of The Vegetarian Zen podcast we discuss 10 vegan tostada recipe ideas. No time to listen? No problem! Scroll down for a summary of everything we discuss.

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vegan tostada with avocado and beans

Are Tostadas Vegan? 

Just because a tostada doesn’t have meat doesn’t mean it’s a vegan tostada. Since vegans don’t consume any animal products, if the tostada contains ingredients such as dairy cheese, sour cream, or refried beans made with lard, it won’t be suitable for a vegan diet.

However, with a few simple ingredient swaps like using plant-based cheese, vegan sour cream, and refried beans made without animal fat, you can easily create a delicious and satisfying vegan tostada.

In fact, the tostada is an excellent blank canvas for a wide range of plant-based toppings and flavors, allowing you to explore and enjoy the boundless creativity of vegan cuisine. 

How to Make a Tostada: The Basics

One of the great things about tostadas is the prep time. They are super quick to make and many of the ingredients can be sliced and diced ahead of time and kept in airtight containers in the fridge. 

Here’s what you’ll need to make your tostadas:

  • Corn tortillas (flour tortillas typically don’t get crispy enough)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Toppings of your choice (refried beans, shredded lettuce, cheese, salsa, avocado, fresh cilantro, diced tomatoes, etc.)

Instructions for homemade tostada shells:

  1. Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Place a corn tortilla in the hot oil and use a spatula to press it down. Fry the tortilla for about 1-2 minutes on each side, or until it becomes crispy and golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off excess oil. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
  3. Add a pinch of salt while they’re still warm.

Note: You may need to place the fried tortillas in the oven briefly to crisp them up a bit.

Add Your Favorite Tostada Toppings:

Now it’s time to add your toppings! Spread some refried beans on top of the tostada, followed by shredded lettuce, vegan cheese, salsa, ripe avocado, and any other toppings you like. Don’t forget, we have 10 delicious ideas coming up later in this post!

How To Make Tostadas Without Oil

Baked Tostada Shells: You can also bake your tortillas in the oven instead of frying them. Simply brush them with oil and bake at 400°F for 10-12 minutes or until crispy.

Off-the-Shelf: Most grocery stores carry off-the-shelf shells that are vegan.

10 Vegan Tostada Recipe Ideas

For these 10 vegan tostada recipe ideas, I pretended I owned my own vegan restaurant specializing in the BEST vegan tostadas. After all, being born and raised in San Antonio, the Tex-Mex food capital of the world, we take our Tex-Mex VERY seriously! Here are some of my ideas for fun variations.

1. El Classico

I want to start this list with the OG (original gangsta – do the kids even say that anymore?) of tostadas, the classic! Top your tostadas with refried pinto or black beans, avocado, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and shredded vegan cheese. Add a dollop of vegan sour cream and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for an extra burst of flavor.

2 vegan tostadas on a plate

2. Carnival of “Carnitas”

This tostada is a fun and flavor-packed vegan twist on traditional carnitas! This vibrant and scrumptious dish brings together the irresistible crunch of a tostada with the tender, pull-apart texture of jackfruit carnitas, creating a plant-based party on your plate.

Begin your fiesta with a crispy tostada shell, slather on some smooth avocado or refried pinto or black beans as a rich base, and then pile on the star of the show – succulent jackfruit carnitas! Slow-cooked in a blend of zesty spices and tangy citrus, jackfruit takes on a tender, meaty texture that’s a true game-changer for plant-based cuisine.

Add colorful toppings like pickled red onions, diced tomatoes, and fresh cilantro for a burst of flavor and visual appeal. And let’s not forget the final touch: a drizzle of zingy vegan lime crema to bring it all together in a symphony of taste.

3. Grillicious Fiesta

If you’re craving a summer twist on tostadas, why not try making some delicious vegan grilled tostadas? It’s super easy and loads of fun!

First things first, get your grill all fired up to a nice medium-high heat. While it’s heating, get your toppings prepped and ready to go. We’re talking about juicy diced tomatoes, creamy avocado slices, protein-packed black beans, and vegan cheese.

Brush corn tortillas with oil, and once the grill’s ready, pop them on the grates and cook for about 2-3 minutes per side until they’re crispy and golden. Pile on those yummy toppings (I’m thinking some fresh grilled veggies) and voila! Your vegan grilled tostadas are ready to be devoured. This dish is perfect for a chill summer night or for impressing your pals at your next cookout. Enjoy the fiesta!

grill licious vegan tostada 556 776

4. The Big Bad BBQ Tofu

Introducing the Big Bad BBQ Tofu Tostada – a scrumptious fusion of bold flavors and textures that is sure to satisfy vegans and non-vegans alike. This innovative take on the classic tostada combines the smoky, sweet, and tangy notes of BBQ sauce-infused tofu with the traditional elements of a Mexican tostada. The result is a mouthwatering explosion of taste that will leave you craving more.

The Big Bad BBQ Tofu Tostada begins with a crispy tostada shell layered with creamy avocado and a savory medley of sautéed onions and bell peppers. Add warm, seasoned black beans (or refried beans) and top with succulent BBQ tofu. This dish is a true masterpiece of flavor harmony. Toppings like shredded lettuce, juicy cherry tomatoes, and vegan cheese will take this up a notch.

bbq tofu 776 × 556

5. Takin’ It To The Street (Corn)

Elote, also known as Mexican Street Corn, is a mouthwatering dish consisting of corn on the cob smothered in a delicious sauce made from a blend of mayo and sour cream. To add an extra burst of flavor, the corn is sprinkled with crumbled cotija cheese and fresh chopped cilantro. Whether you’re enjoying it from a street vendor or making it at home, street corn is a must-try dish for anyone who loves savory and flavorful Mexican cuisine.

To create a delicious elote-inspired tostada, start with a vegan Mexican street corn recipe like this one from Darn Good Veggies. Once your corn is grilled, remove the kernels with a sharp knife. Top crispy tostada shells with refried black or pinto beans, corn kernels, the chili mayo, and vegan parmesan. Add your favorite toppings like tomatoes, avocado, and jalapeños.

street corn tostada

6. Rise and Shine

Larissa and I LOVE breakfast for dinner! The Rise and Shine Tostada is a fun and tasty mash-up of breakfast and dinner that’s perfect for all you breakfast lovers out there. This awesome vegan dish combines the crispy satisfaction of a tostada with the comforting flavors of your favorite morning meal, making it a true day-long delight.

Kick off your creation with a crispy tostada shell topped with refried beans. Add a layer of fresh avocado or creamy guacamole, then pile on a hearty tofu scramble or scrambled Just Egg and toss on some vegan bacon or crumbled vegan sausage for an extra flavor boost.

Just Egg
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  • HEALTHY: By making JUST Egg from plants, it has 5g of protein and no cholesterol. JUST Eg
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7. Sizzling Soyrizo

The Sizzling Soyrizo Tostada is a fun and flavorful vegan delight that brings together the irresistible crunch of a tostada and the zesty taste of soyrizo. This scrumptious creation is perfect for anyone looking to enjoy a satisfying and delicious plant-based meal.

The Sizzling Soyrizo Tostada starts with a crispy tostada shell topped with a spread of creamy refried black or pinto beans or mashed avocado. Add a generous helping of sizzling soyrizo and you’ve got a taste sensation in the making. Don’t forget to add some colorful veggies like diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, or sliced jalapeños for a fresh and healthy touch.

Finish off your masterpiece with a drizzle of vegan crema or a sprinkle of your favorite vegan cheese and you’re ready to dive into a flavorful fiesta.

soyrizo tostada

8. Portobello Powerhouse

The Portobello Powerhouse Tostada is a fun and scrumptious celebration of portobello mushrooms in vegan cuisine. This tasty creation combines the crispy crunch of a tostada with the smoky and hearty flavors of marinated and grilled portobellos, sautéed onions, and red bell peppers.

Portobellos are a superstar in vegan dishes thanks to their meaty texture and rich, earthy flavor. They soak up marinades like a champ, and when grilled or roasted bring a savory umami goodness that rivals traditional meat dishes.

Build your Portobello Powerhouse Tostada on a crispy shell spread with a layer of mashed avocado or refried beans. Top it with grilled portobellos, onions, and bell peppers. Finish it off with vegan chipotle mayo, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime for a refreshing kick.

Here’s a great recipe from Sandra Valvassori to help you grill up some tasty portobellos.

9. Tropical Tango

Get ready for a flavor vacation with the Tropical Tango Tostada, a fun and vibrant vegan dish that’s like a tropical getaway in every bite! This tasty creation brings together the crispy satisfaction of a tostada with the refreshing burst of a fruit salsa, making it a perfect plant-based party for your taste buds.

Start with a crispy tostada shell and layer on seasoned black beans or smooth avocado for a rich base. Top it off with a generous scoop of mango salsa–a zingy mix of sweet mango, tangy red onion, spicy jalapeño, and zesty lime.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. Add some avocado slices for a creamy touch, and sprinkle on shredded red cabbage for extra crunch. Finish it off with a squeeze of lime juice to tie all those sweet, savory, and tangy flavors together.

tropical tostada

10. The Big Nacho

In case you haven’t heard me mention on the podcast, nachos are my absolute FAVORITE food! With that, I bring you the Nacho Nirvana Tostada. It’s like a nacho, only bigger!

The Nacho Nirvana Tostada begins with a crispy tostada shell, providing a sturdy and crunchy foundation for the layers of nacho-inspired flavors to come. Create a base by spreading on smooth refried beans or seasoned black beans, followed by a generous portion of your favorite vegan protein like marinated and grilled seitan or tempeh, or soy-based crumbles

The true magic of the Nacho Nirvana Tostada lies in its irresistible toppings. A generous drizzle of creamy and rich plant-based queso is the star of the show, bringing the familiar comfort of gooey, melted cheese to this vegan creation. Additional toppings like diced tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, and sliced black olives add color, texture, and a perfect blend of tangy and savory flavors. A dollop of vegan sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh cilantro complete this masterpiece, offering a cooling and refreshing contrast to the bold and spicy flavors of the dish.

We hope these recipes have given you some great ideas for your own vegan tostadas! We’d love to hear some of your favorite ideas. If you’re a member of our closed Facebook Group, The Peas and Carrots Society, drop us a comment and let us know!

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