Vegetarian Black Bean Tostadas

In an earlier post, I had briefly mentioned about our picnic at the park which we did couple of months ago. Few of our family friends got together and we had a potluck in a small water park. We decided to go with Mexican cuisine and we cooked dishes to go with the theme. I had prepared corn salsa along with Mexican Rice and Guacamole. The other friends had brought nachos, salads, Tostadas, chips etc.

 The kiddo is not too fond of Mexican food and is usually reluctant to try out new dishes. After much cajoling he might take a bite but 99% of the time he has already made up his mind that he will not like it. But luckily this time, call it peer pressure he took a liking to this, and that left with one happy mom.

Tostadas remind me of our very own pani puri/ chaat related items. The crunchy tostada represents the poori and the toppings with the spicy, tangy, sweet taste equals the spicy, tangy chutnies. This overall had the chatpata taste representative of chaat dishes. I now make it over the weekend as an evening snack and while watching games tec. 

This is easy to put together and when we use store bought ingredients, it is a breeze. You can use the ingredients mentioned as guidelines and can customize the toppings per your taste. You can add more veggies and skip the cheese, cream part and make it nutritious.

Ingredients:

  • Charras Tostadas (see an example here)
  • Refried beans (as needed) [I used store bought]
  • 1 cup shredded Lettuce
  • 1 Tomato (chopped finely)
  • ½ cup shredded cheese for sprinkling
  • 1 small red onion( chopped )
  • 1 small cup Salsa (medium/hot)
  • Fresh cilantro/coriander ( chopped )
  • ¼ cup sour cream

Method:

  • Take a charra and spread refried beans over the top evenly.
  • Top it with shredded lettuce and then salsa evenly.
  • Add tomatoes, cilantro, sour cream and onion as needed.
  • Finally add shredded cheese. Serve immediately. 

No Bake Energy Balls

When I stumbled onto the No Bake healthy energy balls, I knew I had to try them. There are many reasons why I love this simple yet healthy recipe. For starters, there is no baking, microwaving, or any stove top cooking involved; it is as easy as mixing up the ingredients and transferring them to the refrigerator. And then it uses up all natural ingredients and there is no sugar, butter or oil involved. It is all healthy ingredients rolled into the goodness of a ball.

 I had a big stash of flaxseeds and ground flax seeds meal in my pantry waiting to be used and this was a good way for using it up. I personally loved the addition of toasted coconut in this, but not so much with the chocolate chips. The next time I make this, I will surely substitute the chocolate chips with toasted walnuts or pecans. 

Below the recipe instructions you will see some substitution ideas and you can use your creativity and add your own favorite ingredients. 

These taste like store bought energy bars and oh so delicious. Be forewarned that these balls are highly addictive. :-)

Recipe Adapted from: No bake energy bites 

Makes: About 15-18 medium balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
  • 2/3 cup coconut flakes (toasted)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup flaxseeds
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed/ flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional) [I would prefer toasted walnuts or pecans]
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Method:

  • Place the oats in a plate and lightly toast the oats in a microwave for about a minute. (This is optional as the original recipe did not call for this). Set aside.
  • Place the coconut flakes in a plate and toast it in the microwave. (Pay attention as it brown pretty fast).
  • Now gather all the measured ingredients and put them one by one in a big bowl.

  • Stir it carefully until it is completely mixed. Cover with lid.
  • Place it in the refrigerator and let it chill for the next 30-40 minutes.
  • After it is chilled, take out handful of the mixture and roll them out in shape of balls, pressing tightly in between.
  • Store them refrigerated in air tight container.

Substitution Ideas:

  • Substitute quick cooking oats instead of the old fashioned oats.
  • Add almond butter instead of peanut butter. Skip the coconut if needed.
  • Add chopped dried fruit like cranberries, apricots, raisins, etc.
  • Add chopped toasted pecans, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds

Easy Chickpeas Salad


Off late we have been experiencing moderate weather unlike the scorching heat we get during this time of the year. It does not mean that we are completely out of the woods yet, there are some spikes and we still have days on which the temperature climbs over the 100F. On such days, I don’t feel like staying in the kitchen more that I have to and I resort to quick and easy salads of this type for lunch/dinner. 

With good amount of protein and fiber this salad is a winner. I love the colorful and healthy combination of beans and veggies. Onion and pepper add good crunch and complement the soft garbanzo. The tomatoes and cheese add the right amount of sweet and tanginess making it very flavorful. 

This salad is pretty versatile, so you can add any veggies or fruits to cater to your taste. You can add cucumbers, chopped celery, grated carrots, apple, pomegranate etc. 

 Apart from this method, I sometimes give this salad an Indian twist. I sprinkle some chaat masala alogng with red tamarind chutney and green chutney (instead of lemon and cheese). Let me warn you the taste is pretty addictive that you will not believe that you are actually eating a salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chick peas/garbanzo (rinsed and drained )
  • 1/2 cup red onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup red pepper chopped (optional)
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and chopped
  • 1 tomato (seeded and chopped )
  • handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp feta cheese
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice/vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp Pepper powder /crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp oil

 

Method:

  • If using canned chickpeas then drain the liquid and rinse the beans. Drain water completely.
  • Else you can soak the chickpeas overnight and pressure cook the next day. Drain the cooked liquid (or use it for something else) and use only the cooked beans.
  • In a big bowl add the veggies first and toss it gently. Add the chickpeas, cilantro and combine them.
  • Add salt, lemon juice, pepper powder and stir well.
  • Let it sit aside for an hour or so, so that veggies soak up all the goodness. Sprinkle the cheese before serving.