Whether you're trying to incorporate more meatless meals into your diet or just want to cook up some truly innovative, interesting delicious food, you will love Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, by Sarah Copeland, today's Famous Fridays honoree.
Besides being gorgeous to look at, this cookbook features recipes that don't need meat to make them complete. So many of the vegetarian cookbooks I look at are filled with unrealistic ingredient-demanding recipes that just have too many health-food store requirements which my family will reject and I know I'll never make . Not so with Feast, which revolves around Sarah's Edible Living philosophy, stressing the need for a balanced lifestyle filled with natural, whole (read normal) foods that are not only good for you, but food you really want to eat. In addition to another cookbook (which I can't wait to check out) she's also a Food Network veteran and co-founder of the Share Our Strength's Good Food Gardens campaign, which aims to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to children across the USA. Clearly the lady knows her veggies and boy do they shine in this amazing Vegetarian Tostada!
Too many times we equate vegetarian with boring, which is strange since vegetables are so varied, so colorful and so full of flavor. If you're in the vegetables-are-boring-camp, try this and I guarantee you'll change your meat-loving mind!! You start the whole thing off by baking some sweet potatoes and mashing them with some butter and lime zest and juice.
Next you fry up some corn tortillas in olive oil
The rest of this is mostly about assembly. You place some of the sweet potato mash on a plate, top with the crunchy tortilla, some chopped watercress that's been lightly dressed with olive oil and some warmed black beans.
Now you layer on sliced avocado, a bit of shredded cheese, a couple of shakes of hot sauce and some light sour cream.
It's a wonderful combination of textures and flavors and in no way will you find yourself "missing the meat"! There's the creamy sweetness of the mashed sweet potatoes, the crunchiness of the fried corn tortilla, the slight bitterness of the watercress, the earthiness of the black beans, the tang of the hot sauce and the rich satisfying smoothness of the avocado, shredded cheese, and sour cream. Each bite is truly an experience and feels like something you'd get in a trendy Mexican place! For an even more over the top experience, you can even top the whole thing with a lightly fried egg!
So guys, have a great weekend and treat yourself to a healthy "feast" from Feast!!
"Feast's" Vegetarian Tostadas-Famous Fridays
Makes 2-4 servings, depending on how hungry your people are
Prep Time: 30 minutes (plus time to bake the sweet potatoes)
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes
- 2 cups cooked black beans, drained
- Olive oil for frying
- 4 small corn tortillas (mine were 6 inch ones)
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- 1 bunch watercress, washed, de-stemmed and chopped
- Olive oil for drizzling on watercress
- 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
- shredded cheese and light sour cream (optional)
- Hot sauce (optional)
- 4 eggs (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork, place on a baking tray and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until they are soft and fork tender.
2. While potatoes are baking, place the beans in a small saucepan with 2-3 tablespoons of water and turn the flame to low heat. Stir and keep warm.
3. Into a medium frying pan, pour about 1 inch of olive oil. Turn flame to medium-high heat. While oil is heating up, line a large plate with a double layer of paper towels. Test oil by dropping a tiny piece of tortilla into the oil. If it sizzles and turns golden brown, oil is ready. You don't want the tortilla to turn dark brown or for the oil to start smoking. If that happens, turn the heat lower and wait a few minutes before trying again. When oil is just right, fry one tortilla at a time, and from time to time use tongs to press down and submerge the tortilla into the oil. Turn the tortilla over if necessary to get both sides evenly golden brown. This should take 2-3 minutes. Transfer the tortilla to the prepared plate and let drain till cool. Repeat entire process with remaining tortillas.
4. In a small bowl, toss the watercress with a little bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
5. When sweet potatoes are done, cut them open and scoop out the potatoes into a medium sized bowl, discarding the skins. Mash them with the butter, lime zest and juice until smooth anbd season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. On 4 dinner sized plates, spoon 1/4 of the potato mash and top with the tortillas. Divide the dressed watercress among the tortillas and then top each equally with the warmed black beans. Arrange the sliced avocados next, followed by the shredded cheese and sour cream (if using). Shake on a few drops of hot sauce if you want to kick things up a bit. Now, you can either serve these right as is or fry some eggs to layer on the very top. If using the eggs, spray a large frying pan with vegetable cooking spray and place pan over medium-high heat, Crack eggs into pan and fry gently so that yolks are still runny when removed. Top each tortilla with an egg and serve immediately.
Note: Recipe adapted from Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, by Sarah Copeland.