I’ve been in tostada heaven the past few weeks!
These Ground Beef Tostadas are the latest incarnation — they are tremendously satisfying and a welcome upgrade to the beef hardshell tacos I grew up with 🙂
How To Make Ground Beef Tostadas
So why so many tostadas lately? Well…I think it’s the ratio!
The fixings-to-tortilla ratio is much higher compared to hardshell tacos. You’ll still get the crunch of the corn tortilla, but the flavor of your fixings is at the forefront and I like that lately — give ’em a try if it’s been awhile since you’ve had tostadas.
Of course, a freshly made Salsa really amps them up, so for this batch I made a Tomato Chipotle Salsa.
Tomato-based Salsas pair well with beef and I think this one is a perfect fit.
All you’re doing is roasting some tomatoes in the oven and then blending them with:
1/2 small onion
1 garlic cloves
1-2 chipotles in adobo
a pinch of salt (optional)
I usually make it super fiery, so for me that meant 2 larger chipotles. But you can always make a milder version by starting with a single chipotle (or half) and taste testing from there.
By the way, I’m in the habit of scraping out the seeds of the chipotles as they tend to harden over time. You can consider this optional but I usually do it. More tips on working with chipotles in adobo.
Yes, homemade Salsa is a kitchen game-changer so I make a batch for just about every meal, but it’s really the ground beef that’s the star attraction in these Tostadas.
Loading the ground beef with flavor will give you plenty of flexibility on the other fixings, so let’s start with that.
Start by sweating 1/2 small onion in some oil over medium heat.
Once the onion has softened you can add a single pound of ground beef.
Cook the ground beef over medium heat until fully browned. You can drain off any fat at this point if you want, but lately I keep most of it.
Add 2 minced garlic cloves and let them cook for 30-60 seconds, then add the remaining ingredients:
1-2 diced chipotles in adobo
1-2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the can
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2-3 teaspoons Mexican oregano What is Mexican oregano?
1 tablespoon chile powder (optional)
3/4 teaspoon salt
freshly cracked black pepper
splash of water
Combine well over medium heat and now the most important part…
A final taste for seasoning!
Getting the salt level correct for your palate is key. I usually use about 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of ground beef, but I like to start with a bit less and work up to it.
So for this batch I started with 3/4 teaspoon salt and then gave it a taste after adding all the other ingredients. I added another generous pinch of salt and it was perfect — so probably a bit under a single teaspoon after the final tweaks.
The chipotles give this ground beef a savory, fiery flavor and I always find myself eating spoonfuls straight from the pan 🙂
I also want to mention that I usually throw in a single tablespoon of chile powder but you can consider this optional. I use this pure New Mexican chile powder:
Most store-bought chile powders are loaded with way too many additional ingredients, so I always recommend that people take a look at the ingredient list.
If it looks like this:
Then I usually stay away from it and seek out some pure chile powders. You can see more about the chile powders I use here.
Okay, once you’re happy with the flavor of the beef it’s time to gather the other fixings.
I made some homemade tostada shells by spreading some oil on corn tortillas and crisping them up in the oven:
This is a great option if you’ve got some corn tortillas laying around. More on homemade tostada shells here.
I tossed some thinly sliced cabbage in the juice of a single lime (and a pinch of salt):
But feel free to use any type of lettuce for this recipe.
And I mashed up a single cup of Improvised Pot Beans for the refried beans.
But don’t worry too much about the refried beans for these Tostadas as we are only using a thin layer. Keep in mind that if you want to start with canned beans you can always make a killer batch of refried beans using this recipe.
Okay, time to eat!
Each warm tostada shell gets a thin layer of refried beans:
The refried beans will hold your tostada together and keep your fixings from sliding off.
Next is plenty of your awesome ground beef mixture:
Along with a few spoonfuls of homemade Salsa:
And then your choice of final toppings. For this batch I loaded them up with:
cheese (I used Queso Fresco)
freshly chopped cilantro
Crema (or sour cream)
a final squeeze of lime
And they were a real treat.
With an epic fillings-to-tortilla ratio 🙂
Tostadas loaded with fresh fixings are tough to beat so I hope you give these Ground Beef Tostadas a go.
Let me know if you have any questions about the ground beef mixture. It’s an old reliable for me and I think it’s a great addition to the home kitchen.
P.S. If you want to see a quick visual Story for these Ground Beef Tostadas click here.
Easy Ground Beef Tostadas
- 6-8 tostadas
- 1 cup refried beans
- 1/4 head cabbage (or lettuce)
- 1-2 cups shredded cheese (I used Queso Fresco)
- freshly chopped cilantro
- Crema (or sour cream)
- 2-3 limes
For the Ground Beef:
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/2 small onion (or 1/4 larger onion)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1-2 chipotles in adobo
- 1-2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the can
- 1 tablespoon chile powder (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 2-3 teaspoons Mexican oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- freshly cracked black pepper
- splash of water
For the Tomato Chipotle Salsa:
- 2-3 plum tomatoes
- 1/2 small onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1-2 chipotles in adobo
- pinch of salt (optional)
- To make the Salsa, start by rinsing and de-stemming 2-3 plum tomatoes. Roast the tomatoes in the oven at 400F for 20 minutes or so. Once roasted, add the tomatoes to a blender along with: 1/2 small onion, 1 peeled garlic clove, 1-2 chipotles in adobo, and a pinch of salt (optional). Combine well and taste for heat. I used 2 chipotles to make a fiery batch, but for a milder version start with a single chipotle (or half of one) and take a taste -- to increase heat simply add more chipotle and blend together. Note: I usually de-stem and de-seed the chipotles.
- For the Ground Beef, start by finely chopping 1/2 small onion (or 1/4 larger onion). Sweat the onion in some oil over medium heat. Once the onion has softened add the pound of ground beef, cooking until it is browned. Once browned you can drain off any fat if you want. Add 2 minced garlic cloves and cook for 30-60 seconds, and then add the remaining ingredients: 1-2 diced chipotles in adobo, 1-2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the can, 1 tablespoon chile powder (optional), 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 2-3 teaspoons Mexican oregano, 3/4 teaspoon salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and a splash of water. Combine well over medium heat and then take a final taste for seasoning. I added another generous pinch of salt to this batch. Once you're happy with the flavor, turn heat down to low to keep warm. Note: I usually scrape out the seeds of the chipotles.
- Be sure to warm up the tostada shells if using store-bought shells. I crisped up thin corn tortillas for some homemade tostada shells. To do that, rub a thin layer of oil on each side of the corn tortillas using your fingers or a pastry brush. Give them 4-5 minutes per side in the oven at 400F, or until they are crispy and just starting to turn a darker brown. See Homemade Tostada Shells for some pics on this process.
- For the cabbage I sliced up 1/4 head green cabbage and tossed it with the juice of a single lime and a pinch of salt.
- Prepare the remaining ingredients. For me that meant crumbling the Queso Fresco and chopping up some fresh cilantro. Feel free to use whatever cheese you have available.
- Once the tostadas are warm it's time to build your masterpiece! For me that meant loading each tostada with: a thin layer of refried beans, plenty of the ground beef mixture, a few spoonfuls of Tomato Chipotle Salsa, cabbage, Queso Fresco, freshly chopped cilantro, a drizzle of Crema, and a final squeeze of lime.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
Want to see the latest post? It’s this list of dishes you can make with Tomatillo Chipotle Salsa.