Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: Incan Tostadas with Roasted Poblano Sauce

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Incan Tostadas with Roasted Poblano Sauce

This is one of our favorite meals, and perhaps the one I am most proud of. I first made this meal last summer when I began my crusade to learn how to make authentic Mexican food at home. This was inspired by my Mexican neighbors - they would cook amazing smelling food and I could smell it every time I was in our hallway. It got to the point where Brett and I decided that we either had to learn Spanish and weasel our way into their meal time, or we had to learn how to make it ourselves. Me being a vegetarian, our neighbors - well, not, it was an easy decision.

This was also the first meal I modified and made my own (from a very different recipe I found on All Recipes a few years ago). It has changed very much since the first time I made them, and it has only been for the better - each time we improved upon the last.

The poblano sauce is what makes this meal. The beans and quinoa actually have no seasoning on them - they don't need it.

With that said, the sauce has gotten more complicated since I first made it, so I thought I would provide a visual guide for the steps involved in making the sauce.

Remember the produce legend:
no asterisk = from the grocery store
* = farmer's market
** = CSA
*** = Container or Community Garden

Roasted poblanos out of the oven.

Other sauce ingredients getting ready to go in the oven.

Roasted poblanos after being peeled.

Roasted poblano sauce.

Roasted Poblano Sauce
Makes about 4 cups.

6-10 fresh poblano peppers, washed *
2 tsp coconut oil
1-2 tsp sea salt
28 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
1 serrano pepper, stem removed (red if you can find one) *
4 cloves of garlic, peeled *
1/2 yellow onion, sliced thick *
a few good dashes of cumin
a dash of Mexican oregano
a dash of freshly ground black pepper

Preheat broiler.

Toss whole poblanos with coconut oil and sprinkle with salt. Place under heated broiler and roast for 3-5 minutes on each side. They should get blistered with black spots.

Remove them from the oven and place them in a paper bag to steam - this will make the skins easy to remove.

Heat the oven to 400.

Combine the remaining sauce ingredients in a baking dish. Roast uncovered for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, removed the skins, stems, seeds, and veins from the poblano peppers and put the peppers in a food processor.

Once the sauce mixture is done roasting in the oven, let it cool for a few minutes before transferring it to the food processor.

Blend in the food processor until smooth and add a bit more salt if necessary.

Incan Tostadas with Roasted Poblano Sauce
1/2 cup raw quinoa, rinsed at least 2 or 3 times
1 cup water

1 1/2 cups black beans, cooked
Poblano sauce
tostada shells

Bring water to a boil, add rinsed quinoa and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.

Layer quinoa, black beans, and poblano sauce on a warmed tostada shell. Repeat for a second layer.

Brett likes to add just a little bit of cheese on his.

Super yummy. I can't wait to have these again.

An FYI: the second post in Brett's "What is Food" series will be published tomorrow, I don't know about you all, but I am looking forward to it - I've been excited about it since he talked about writing it!

'Til next time!


Mihl said...

I think I am going to learn how to cook authentic Mexican food from YOU.Your posts are always so inspiring and I learn so much from them! The tostadas look really amazing.

Bianca said...

That sauce looks awesome. Its cool to hear the history behind your love for Mexican food. I always wondered how a white girl in Missouri got so interested in South-of-the-border cuisine. Now I know. You're like the Mexi-veggie-queen.

Alice (in Veganland) said...

this looks amazing! but tostadas? do I need to learn something new about mexican food? what's the difference between tostadas and soft tacos or nachos?! they look the same! (tostada means toast in English, but this is not helping me...)

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Mihl - Hahahaha. Learning to cook Mexican from a white Midwestern American! Now THAT is something.

Aw, thank you Mihl that's really nice of you to say.

The tostadas were super tasty.

Bianca - Thanks.

Haha. Mexican food has always been my favorite, I just didn't learn how to cook it at home until I was tormented by my neighbors smells. They brought us homemade tamales once - they had extra, and that was it for me, I knew I needed to learn.

Haha, you are our Southern Belle!

Alice - Thanks.

I think "tostadas" might be more of an American creation. It is essentially a hard taco shell that is flat. They crisp up in the oven like a hard taco shell. Often here people call them "Mexican Pizzas". So the shells might not be very authentic.

Lizzy said...

okay this is without a doubt a dinner i would smack someone down for just to get a bite =p
mhhh, do you & brett have travel plans for the next 6 months? how fantastic would it be if you came to amsterdam (i just met a couple from the us who drove back to berlin with me... the girl was studying in spain and explained the difference of burritos, quesadillas, tortillas and whatever else is there to me, ha ha).
then it would be the four of us walking pimpish down the streets ;)

Courtney said...

I have never actually made tostadas at home before, but I do love them! Your sauce looks/sounds delicious, but spicy! I wonder if substituting some bell peppers for some of the peppers would work to make it more mild? I like "spicy" food, but MY kind of spicy--i.e. mild :o)


Wet Blanket said...


Jennifer is an authority on 'hot' but no authority on 'not so hot' so we thought it would be more credible if I were to respond to say that it really isn't that hot. I'd compare it to mild salsa. Poblanos are really the only way to go here. You could remove the serrano from the recipe to put any concerns to rest.

Just a note: THESE ROCK!!!

VeganCowGirl said...

Your recipe is really easy to read - really straightforward and clear. Thanks! I am going to give them a try as soon as I get home.

The end result looks too good not to.

Have you ever cooked for your next door neighbours? That would be a neat experiment.

T said...

I've been gone forever but you are still coming up with amazing looking meals and sauces! Can't wait to try this- my Dad loves tostadas but always loads them up with pork and cheese. This looks way better.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Lizzy - Ok, you seriously made me laugh at your comment.

I wish I could say that I would get to Amsterdam at some point, but you'd be more likely to meet me in the States. I am scared of flying and could barely handle to 2 hour flight from St. Louis to Washington, DC for vacation last year!

It would be a lot of fun. Perhaps some day I will get over my fear...

Courtney - The sauce really isn't that spicy, see Brett's (Wet Blanket's) note below. Most people don't believe ME when I say something isn't spicy because I am a freak with these kind of things, but I do have to make some milder sauces from time to time for poor Brett, and this is one of them.

I wouldn't recommend trying a different pepper, as Brett noted below, the poblanos give the sauce it's special flavor.

Brett (Wet Blanket) - Thanks for commenting. This is one of those meals that doesn't end with you sweating or your mouth being on fire!

Thanks, I think they rock too. ;-) We might just have to have them again this week!

Vegan CowGirl - Thank you! I hope you like them.

We thought about it, but they moved out a few months back and we never got the chance to compare notes or tastes. :-(

T - Haha, we missed you T! It's an obsession, what can I say....

I think even an omnivore would like these tostadas, it's all about the sauce. Super flavorful meat would ruin the dish!

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

This is gorgeous. Such a delicious looking presentation!

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Lisa - Thank you! I don't often get complemented on presentation as it isn't something I pay much attention to.

Courtney said...

Thank you both for responding! I will try it as written :o)


Chile said...

I ran out of my frozen supply of roasted green chiles a couple of months ago. It's been awful. But...I noticed green chiles are finally showing up on the CSA list. Unfortunately, my farmer doesn't grow poblanos. :( said...

This can't have effect in reality, that's what I think.