Dinner Tonight: Tostadas with Kale, Refried Beans, and Cheese

Dinner Tonight

Your source for quick recipe every single week day.


[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Last week I became infatuated with pairing kale and refried beans. Something about how the creamy, well-seasoned beans played off the earthy, tender kale really worked for me. But I didn't know where to go with this simple combination besides just tossing them in a warm corn tortilla and calling it a day. Though good, something was still missing.

I have to thank SE overlord Ed Levine for helping me complete this one. Not that he had any idea that I was working on a kale and refried bean recipe. He was just in Chicago for a mini food tour, and while trying a kale and cheese side dish at Publican Quality Meats, he declared without hesitation. "Kale loves cheese." I knew right then what this dish needed.

It doesn't need a lot, but a sprinkling of mild shredded cheese adds tang and creaminess to this wholesome recipe, making it seem substantial and complete. It helps if the cheese is tangy, like stringy Oaxacan cheese (also called quesillo), though even Monterrey Jack is okay.

At first this was another one of my many taco recipes, but since all the toppings are on the softer side, I went with crunchy tostadas. Though relatively simple to fry tortillas at home, the easiest option is to just buy tostada shells. That way they are ready to go ready out of the packaging.