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Butternut Squash Tostadas

  • Author: Tessa
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 big tostadas 1x


These are not your average tostadas. They’re stacked double decker style, with plenty of room for slightly spicy, extra filling black bean purée, then topped with a mound of tender, pan fried butternut squash cubes.



Black bean purée

  • 3 C (2 15 oz. cans) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 C green salsa (I love this one from TJ’s)
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • Juice of 1 lime

Everything else

  • 8 corn tostada shells (6 inches; see notes)
  • 2 1/2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 T chopped, seeded hot pepper (such as jalapeño)
  • 3/4 C chopped red onion
  • 2 lb. butternut squash (1 medium), peeled, seeded, and diced into 1/2″ cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 T finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 C green salsa
  • 1 avocado, pitted and diced (toss with lime juice to keep from browning)
  • 1/4 C pickled radishes (or pickled red onions; see notes)
  • 1/4 C crumbled Cotija or firm feta cheese


  1. Process the black bean purée ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Because it uses presumably well seasoned salsa, extra seasoning isn’t required, but adjust if desired. Set aside at room temperature (or refrigerate if making ahead).
  2. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a 10 to 12 inch nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium high. Add hot pepper and onion; cook until onion is browned, then remove to a large bowl. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the same pan, reducing heat slightly. Add half the squash and cook undisturbed for 5 minutes, until browned on one side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook another 5 to 7 minutes, stirring a few times, until further browned and tender. Remove to bowl with peppers and onion and repeat process with remaining squash (if using a 12 inch pan, you can cook all the squash at once using 2 tablespoons of oil). Toss together squash, peppers and onion, 1 tablespoon cilantro, and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. To build 1 tostada: Spoon 1/4 cup bean purée onto a tostada shell, then press another shell over it. Spoon another 1/4 cup beans onto top shell and spread almost to edges. Top with about 2 tablespoons salsa and a large scoop of the squash mixture. Top with a fourth of the avocado and radishes, then sprinkle with a tablespoon of crumbled cheese and a pinch of cilantro. Serve warm or at room temperature.


On the advice of America’s Test Kitchen, I used Charras brand pre-made tostada shells. I also baked my own shells, which is easy if you’re looking for a slightly healthier (i.e., not fried) variation and don’t mind an extra step. Preheat oven to 450 (F) and brush both sides of 8 corn tortillas lightly with vegetable oil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet (or sheets) in a single layer and cover with an upside down wire rack, so the shells don’t curl. Bake in the upper or lower third of the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until beginning to darken and crisp. Turn once during baking and watch very carefully to avoid burnt tostadas.

To make pickled radishes, I used the pickled red onion recipe from my eBook, replacing red onions with thinly sliced radishes. Or, try Kate’s recipe for nearly instant results. OR, go buy some ready made at the store.

As written, recipe is gluten free and vegetarian, if your cheese does not contain animal rennet. If you skip the cheese and check your ingredients, the recipe is vegan.

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Mexican