Ready in 15 minutes, tostadas de frijoles are a quick and easy to prepare vegan or vegetarian TexMex meal. Keep toppings simple with shredded lettuce or dress them up with plant-based crema, avocado, pickled onions and tomato! Try these vegan refried bean tostadas as a fast weeknight meal.
Tostadas de frijoles are a Mexican meal with a base of a flat, crispy fried corn tortilla, topped with creamy refried beans, shredded lettuce and usually cheese and/or crema.
This is my vegan take on tostadas de frijoles, using fat-free vegetarian refried pinto beans, plant-based sour cream along with the traditional toppings of shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, sliced avocado and hot sauce.
🧄 Ingredient notes
- Tostada shells - Tostada shells are corn tortillas that have been deep fried or baked until crispy like a tortilla chip. They are sold in grocery stores near the tortillas. Look for baked tostada shells that do not have oil listed in the ingredients. If you can't find them, make your own homemade tostada shells in the oven or air fryer using corn tortillas.
- Refried beans - Refried pinto beans are mashed pinto beans that are sometimes mixed with salt, fat (oil or lard) and seasonings. When buying refried beans for this recipe, look for vegetarian, fat-free refried beans in a can. This will ensure they are low in fat and do not include animal products.
- Plant-based crema - Vegan sour cream that is thinned a little bit with plant-based milk works well as a plant-based substitute for crema. Cashew-based sour cream has an excellent, rich flavor. But, you can also use tofu-based sour cream or sunflower seed-based sour cream. See below in the variations section for some incredible flavored crema recipes on this site, too.
📋 Substitutions and variations
Here are some suitable substitutions for the ingredients in this recipe:
- Tostada shells - instead of store-bought tostada shells, make your own tostada shells using corn tortillas. If you can source mini street taco corn tortillas, then use those to make mini tostada shells.
- Refried pinto beans - instead of canned refried beans, you can mash up or blend pinto beans to make your own refried beans. Or, you can use refried or mashed black beans.
- Plant-based crema - omit it if you can't find vegan sour cream or make your own.
- Nut-free - make this nut-free by using a tofu-based sour cream or sunflower seed-based vegan sour cream.
- WFPBNO - make this whole food plant based no oil by using oil-free tostada shells and sour cream
- SOS-free - make this SOS-free by omitting the salt in the beans and as a topping. Also, be sure to use an oil-free sour cream and baked, oil-free tostada shells.
Switch things up with these variation ideas!
- Refried Black Bean Tostadas - use Cuban-inspired refried black beans instead of pintos for a different flavor
- Avocado Bean Tostadas - amp up the avocado and make avocado bean tostadas
- Chipotle Crema - make homemade vegan chipotle crema to drizzle on top for smoky, spicy flavor
- Jalapeño Cilantro Lime Crema - make homemade vegan jalapeño cilantro lime crema for an herby, spicy flavor
- Cheesy Tostadas - drizzle on vegan queso with soy chorizo for a burst of rich flavor.
- Habanero Crema - spice it up with homemade vegan habanero crema.
Step by step instructions for how to make tostadas de frijoles (vegan Mexican tostadas with refried beans).
Mix refried beans, seasonings, water and hot sauce together in a small saucepan. Heat beans on stove in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until hot. Remove from heat. Or, heat in a microwave-safe glass bowl and heat in microwave for 1 minute. Stir, then heat for 30 seconds at a time, stopping to stir, until hot.
Many can find store-bought tostada shells in their local grocery stores. Look for baked tostadas with no oil. If you can't find them, you can make your own homemade tostada shells in the oven or air fryer using corn tortillas.
Divide prepared refried beans across 4 tostada shells, spreading the beans across the tostada shells in an even layer. Top the bean tostadas with shredded lettuce and a drizzle of vegan sour cream.
Add optional toppings (sliced avocado, cherry tomatoes, pickled onions and hot sauce), if using them. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper and fresh lime juice. Serve immediately!
Tostadas can be tricky to eat, sometimes. Here's my tutorial on how to eat tostadas without making a mess.
🧯 Food safety
- Wash hands with soap and water before cooking
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
🥡 Make ahead and storage tips
You can make the refried beans ahead of time and then just reheat them in the microwave or on the stovetop before serving.
Tostadas do not keep well as leftovers, since the tostada gets soft and soggy. But, you can refrigerate the separate ingredients (beans, lettuce, tomato, sour cream) for up to 5 days.
🚦 Calorie density score
🟡 This recipe gets a yellow light on the calorie density chart. Some of the ingredients (the tostada shells, avocado and plant-based sour cream) are higher than 600 calories per pound, so eating richer meals like this regularly may prevent you from losing body fat or may even cause you to gain weight. Learn more about calorie density from Jeff Novick, MS, RDN.
Get your own printable calorie density chart for your refrigerator and free ebook explaining calorie density in simple terms.
Tostadas go well with a side of Mexican rice and beans, sauteed vegetables or a green salad. You could also serve tostadas with soup.
No. That's like saying toast is just a flat sandwich. There are some similarities, in that a corn tortilla can be used as the base of both a tostada and a taco. And, some of the fillings may be shared. But, they are their own dish.
🗺 Cultural influences
Tostadas de frijoles are fried corn tortilla tostada shells that are topped with refried beans and other toppings, such as shredded lettuce, crema, tomato, avocado or cheese. The dish originated from Mexico and is eaten throughout Texas.
This recipe is inspired by my mixed ethnic background and heritage as a native of Houston, Texas and by the strong cultural influences of my friends from Mexico. See About for more information on my cultural influences and how I attribute recipes.
💜 More recipes you'll love
If you love this tostada de frijoles recipe, check out these other TexMex-inspired plant-based recipes!
Tostadas de Frijoles (Vegan Tostadas with Refried Beans)
Seasoned Refried Beans
Assemble the Tostadas
- Mix refried beans, seasonings, water and hot sauce together in a small saucepan. Heat beans on stove in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until hot. Remove from heat. Or, heat in a microwave-safe glass bowl and heat in microwave for 1 minute. Stir, then heat for 30 seconds at a time, stopping to stir, until hot.15 ounces canned refried pinto beans, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon sea salt, ⅓ cup water, ½ teaspoon hot sauce
- Divide prepared refried beans across 4 tostada shells, spreading the beans across the tostada shells in an even layer.4 tostada shells
- Top the bean tostadas with shredded lettuce and a drizzle of vegan sour cream.2 cups shredded lettuce, ¼ cup vegan sour cream
- Add optional toppings (sliced avocado, cherry tomatoes, pickled onions and hot sauce), if using them.½ cup cherry tomatoes, 1 avocado, ¼ cup quick pickled onions, hot sauce
- Sprinkle with salt, black pepper and fresh lime juice.1 lime, black pepper, 1 pinch sea salt