Black Bean Tostadas With Pink Pickled Onions

When I was deep in thought about whether to jump into Veganism or not, one of the questions that kept cropping up was "but what about Mexican food, will there be enough choice for a vegan?" As you know, I'm a Mexican food nut and I am a total chilli addict, so the thought of Taco night being no more (or being replaced with some squash & rice combination) really made me think twice. I needed to find a good veggie / vegan recipe that I could turn to in those moments when my taste buds are literally crawling out of my mouth and buying a one way ticket to Cozumel.

So, i searched. And i searched & came up with very little that took my interest. Then on the hop, i randomly picked up a copy of BBC Vegetarian magazine (never bought before) & well, to say I got LUCKY when I found the recipe i'm about to share with you is an huge understatement! Once I'd tweaked it a little and added some of these 

pink pickled onions

, it was like i'd never even had any Mexican food before. Well, nothing that tasted like this anyway. The flavours were out of this world, and the texture of the tosadadas - a dream! It was my actually first time making tostadas too and buy their own admission these are whoppers in size, but once i got used to the breaking up & scooping & scoffing, i was in food heaven. Again. And I feel blessed that this is still happening, as I was a little scared it wouldn't be if i'm honest. If you wanted to make this less faffy, then you could opt out of the pickled onion stage, but if you have time i'd really recommend you didn't as it's a huge part of the flavour experience here...

So, go on! Schedule this meal to happen this week because it's about to blow your mind!

For four people you will need:

Recipe adapted from BBC Vegetarian Magazine

For the bean tostadas

8 corn tortillas

2 tbsp olive oil

1 white onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp ground cumin

5 tbsp cider vinegar

3 tbsp clear honey

3 x 400g tin black beans, rinsed & drained

For the pink pickled onions

180ml white wine vinegar

3 tbsp sugar

1 bay leaf

10 whole black peppercorns

3 juniper berries

1/8 tsp sea salt flakes

1/8 tsp dried chilli flakes

1/8 tsp cumin seeds

1 large red onion - sliced thinly & rings separated

For the toppings:

1 portion of pink pickled onions (to follow)

1 avocado - peeled, de-stoned & diced

2 green chilli's sliced

1 bunch coriander, chopped

3-4 tomatoes, seeds removed & diced

Selection of hot sauces of your choosing (i love cholula, jalepeno tabasco & franks)

And you will need to do this:

First up, make your super quick pickled onions:

1. Place all of the pink pickled onions ingredients (except the onions themselves) into a heavy based saucepan & bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved fully.

2. Once boiling, add the onion & reduce to a simmer. Cook for 1 minute.

3. Transfer to a heat proof dish & set aside, allowing to cool for about 20 minutes.

Next up: the bean tostadas 1. Pre-heat your oven to 200c / gm6. 2. Brush each tortilla with a little olive oil & place on a single layer on baking sheets. (If your oven is as small as mine, some turn taking will be required here!) Bake for about 8 minutes, or until they are crisp but not too browned. 3. In a large heat the oil over a medium heat. Fry the onion and garlic for 5 minutes until soft taking care not to burn. 4. Next add your smoked paprika, cumin, vinegar & honey. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. 5. Add your beans and warm through for 3-5 minutes.

6. When done, remove from the heat & mash into a chunky puree. 7. Remove your cooled pickled onions from their pickling juice & pile up your now crisped tortillas and gather the rest of your sides...

8. Dig in! Pile up those tostadas with your beans, tomatoes, avocado then top with the coriander & the pickled onions. Splash over generous amounts of hot sauce and your ready to snap, crunch & munch. It is a little slice of Mexican heaven on a plate. Hurrah!

* I am aware that many vegans don't eat honey, but I'm on a journey here & still finding my feet. Honey is still very much a part of my store cupboard staples at this moment in time ;)