Chicken and black bean tostadas

Jan 06, 2022
Chicken and black beans go really well together. Source: Getty Images

I had a craving for some Mexican, but didn’t want to venture out. When I think Mexican, it’s not all refried beans and tacos. I’m quite partial to a tostada — best described here as a pancake topped with a mixture of beans, meat and vegetables. I really like how well chicken and black beans go together, and thankfully I had both in the house to create this dish!

Top with your favourite taco fixings and drizzle with a coriander cream for a fun and easy weeknight family meal.

Serves 4.



  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • Optional for flavouring the poaching liquid: whole peppercorns, sprigs of fresh thyme or oregano, bay leaves, whole garlic cloves or halved shallots, and lemon slices


  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (from about 1 lime)
  • 1 tsp pureed chipotles in adobo sauce (optional)
  • 1 tbsp minced shallots


  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves, minced


  • Vegetable or canola oil for pan frying
  • 4 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1x 400g can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 heart cos lettuce, thinly sliced crosswise into slivers (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese


  1. Cook the chicken: Place chicken breasts, salt, pepper, and any optional flavouring extras in a small pot. Add water to cover by 2.5cm and place over medium-high heat. Cover pot and bring chicken to simmer for 8-12 minutes until it is cooked through and registers at least 75C with a digital thermometer. Exact cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chicken breasts.
  2. Remove chicken from heat and remove chicken from the liquid. Scoop out 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and set to the side (the remainder can be strained and saved for another recipe). When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Make chipotle dressing: In a small bowl or container with a lid, combine olive oil, 1 tablespoon lime juice, pureed chipotle in adobo (if using), and shallot. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Then make coriander cream: In another small bowl or container, combine sour cream, 1 teaspoon lime juice, and coriander.
  5. Heat a thin layer of canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until a tiny flick of water into the pan sizzles on contact. Pan fry tortillas one at a time, for about 2 minutes on each side until lightly browned and fairly crisp. Add a bit more oil if needed during the frying process. Transfer tortillas to paper towels as they finish cooking.
  6. Pour off any excess oil from the skillet, leaving a thin film on the bottom of the pan. Return to medium heat. Stir in garlic and cumin and sauté for 30 seconds until seasonings are aromatic and garlic starts to turn golden.
  7. Add beans and stir well, then add 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes until beans are hot and the liquid reduces to a glaze on the beans (if it starts to look dry you can add a bit more of the reserved liquid).
  8. To serve: Place each of the tortillas on a plate and pile 1 cup of lettuce onto each. Divide the warm beans equally over the lettuce, then repeat the same process with the chicken, tomatoes, and avocados. Finally, top the tostadas with the cheese and cilantro. Drizzle the dressing evenly over the tostadas and finish with a dollop of cream. Serve immediately.
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