Home Quick Meal Cauliflower Black Bean Tostadas with Queso and Pickled Onion Recipe

Cauliflower Black Bean Tostadas with Queso and Pickled Onion Recipe

by Chris Carlton

Tangy, creamy, crunchy, smoky, seasoned vegetarian goodness on a perfectly crisp little corn tortilla disk. Cauliflower Black Bean Tostadas to the rescue!

This is a brand new recipe that’s part of our Fall 2022 SOS Series! View the full series.

Listen, whenever we whisper a prayer to the air that’s like “oh no, it’s dinner o’clock what do I doooo?”, that answer is always: taco-y things!

And this crisp, salty, quick-fried tostada topped with creamy refried black beans, seasoned roasty cauliflower, and some fresh tangy pickled red onions is NOT. HOLDING. BACK. And neither should you.

Did we mention the drizzle of your favorite queso on top? Yeah, all the best things! Super quick and easy with lots of available shortcuts and lots and lots of yum.

In This Post: Everything You Need For Tostadas

What Makes This The Ultimate Shortcut Recipe

This recipe is already pretty darn quick and easy, with several delicious shortcuts that will move this lil’ baby right along. We are already using a packet of favorite taco seasoning, canned refried beans (Amy’s organic is tops), and jarred queso (hello have you had the Queso Mama green chile variety?! drool.) because SOS forever, but you could get even SOS-ier if that is the night you’re having.

Though it’s hard to beat the delicious fresh salty crunch of the quick-fried tiny corn tortillas, you could totally buy pre-made tostadas to save that step. Also, if breaking up that head of cauli isn’t your thing (we get it, how do those little pieces wind up EVERYWHERE?!), buying those pre-cut florets will certainly save you even more time (and crumbles and sanity).

Just, make sure you take any extra minutes you save to make those super easy, quick-pickled red onions, ok? You won’t regret it. They are truly unbeatable and for sure a taco’s best friend.

See also  Spanish Cauliflower Rice (With Chorizo, Chicken & Shrimp)

You could also prep the different components in advance if you’re into a meal prep schedule. Just store everything separately and you’re good to go come dinner time when you just need to quick heat and stack!

Ingredients for cauliflower black bean tostadas on a marble tabletop.

How To Make Pickled Onions

Speaking of this tangy, bitey delicious little frand, pickled onions couldn’t be easier to make!

  1. Thinly slice one red onion. A mandoline like this one (affiliate link) makes very quick, easy work of this!
  2. Place onions in a jar and fill about 1/3 of the way with white vinegar, the rest with water.
  3. Add a pinch of salt and sugar, give it a shake, toss in your fridge for a bit, and you’re in business.

They’ll keep in the fridge for several days so then you have them ready when you inevitably make this tostada stack again tomorrow. Or, as mentioned, literally any other taco-inspired thing because these are just so perfect with all of it.

Fried corn tortillas for tostadas.

How To Make Tostadas (And Our Tortilla Of Choice)

Our favorite tortilla option here is definitely a yellow corn tortilla. Particularly, the cutie little “street taco” Mission brand ones. The flavor is great, they fry up beautifully, and they are a perfect little tostada serving size.

Seriously, just a few minutes and a pair of tongs and these hot delicious little crunchers are yours.

  1. Heat some oil in a large skillet and add your tortillas a few at a time once the oil is hot.
  2. Fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown then put them on a paper towel to dab out any excess oil.

Sprinkle some salt on those babes and get ready for SUCH a delicious journey to tostada town. And as mentioned before, if you’re feeling very “Food. Eat. Now.” you could certainly buy pre-made tostadas and go from there.

Other Ideas For These Tostadas

There are lots of ways to play around with this one, too. If you want to add a little protein boost, some chorizo would be delicious mixed in with that cauli, or you can’t go wrong with an egg or two on top.

See also  Saucy Gochujang Noodles with Chicken Recipe

The tostada crunch stack is a fave over here but this combo can flex into any of your favorite preps. You could certainly pile it all on a pan full of chips and pop it under the broiler for nacho night. Just want to wrap it and in a warm tortilla burrito-style or your favorite taco shell? Yes, delicious.

If you’ve got some leftover tostadas and toppings, we hope you’ll venture toward something chilaquiles-ish the next morning for breakfast. Add a couple avocado slices to that, an egg or two…now we’re absolutely talking.

Cauliflower black bean tostadas on parchment paper with pickled onions and queso.

How To Eat a Tostada

Listen, you might think we’re joking but this can actually be a little tricky depending on a few factors like pile height, tostada crisp-level, your willingness to have messy fingers. It’s not the easiest knife-and-fork option because the tostada is so crunchy, but if you pile it too high, it’s a precarious balancing act to pick it up and bite into it.

But if you keep the pile per tostada pretty reasonable, it’s a delicious and easy pick up and chomp. But if you like rules and directions, there actually IS A TOSTADA GUIDE that exists! What a delightful world.

However you decide to tostada, it’s gonna be great.

Tostadas: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add meat to this?

Absolutely! The beauty of this recipe is that you can stack just about anything. Pre-cooked chicken, some chorizo, maybe an egg or two – the possibilities are endless.

How can I make this even more SOS-ey?

Use pre-cut cauliflower instead of a whole head, storebought tostadas (instead of making your own), and pre-pickled onions (or pickled jalapeño if that’s your thing!).


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  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • salt and olive oil
  • 1 package taco seasoning (I like Siete brand)


  • 1 14ounce can refried black beans (I like Amy’s brand)
  • 810 small corn tortillas (I like Mission street tacos tortillas)
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable or canola oil
  • cilantro
  • pickled red onion (see notes)
  • queso (I like Queso Mama brand – the green chile variety)

  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Arrange the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 25-30 minutes until browned and tender. Add taco seasoning directly to the pan; toss with the cauliflower using tongs until it’s well coated. (You might not need a full taco seasoning packet for this.) Return to the oven for 5-10 minutes to get it nice, soft, and roasty-delicious.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a large skillet. You want the oil to be hot enough so that a speck of water dropped in will sizzle across the top. Add your tortillas to the oil, a few at a time depending on size, and fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy. Place on a paper towel lined plate to remove excess oil, and repeat with remaining tortillas. 
  3. Top tortillas with warmed black beans, roasted cauliflower, cilantro, pickled onion, and warmed queso. Sprinkle with salt and lime juice as needed / wanted. OMG. Crunchy, creamy, tangy, and so darn good.


For the pickled red onion: thinly slice one red onion (I use a mandoline to get it very thin) and place in a jar. Fill about 1/3 of the way with white vinegar. Fill the rest of the way with water. Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. Shake to combine. Refrigerate; onions will be “pickled” and ready to eat in about 1 hour. Keeps in the fridge for 3-5 days.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired

Keywords: tostada recipe, cauliflower black bean, vegetarian tostada

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