Tostadas with Kale, Refried Beans, and Cheese

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is the editor of Serious Eats: Chicago. He loves tacos and spicy food. You can follow him as @nickdk on Twitter.

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Tostadas with Kale, Refried Beans, and Cheese

About This Recipe

Yield:serves 4
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:30 minutes
This recipe appears in: Dinner Tonight: Tostadas with Kale, Refried Beans, and Cheese


  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for frying
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded, and chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1 (32 ounce) can pinto beans with liquid
  • Salt
  • 2 bunches kale (approximately 1 1/2 pounds), stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
  • 12 corn tostadas
  • 1/2 pound Mexican melting cheese (Oaxacan, quesillo, or Monterrey Jack), pulled into small strands or shredded
  • 2 limes, quartered


  1. 1

    Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and jalapeño, and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cumin, stir well, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and cook until chunks begin to break down, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Add beans and liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Use a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon to mash beans until chunky. Season with salt, if necessary (it will depend on how salty the canned beans are).

  2. 2

    Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the kale, season with a pinch of salt, and cook until bright green and starting to wilt, about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining bunch, and cook until all of the kale bright green. Pour in 1 cup water. It should boil immediately. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the cover, and let any excess water evaporate.

  3. 3

    Smear some of the refried beans on top of each tostada, and top with a sprinkling of cheese and kale. Serve with lime wedges.


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