After our segment last week making tortillas, we brought in Shaila Wightman of El Patron Taqeatery to keep the Cinco de Mayo theme going. She wanted to feature another used for corn tortillas. 

Not only did she provide a recipe, but an easy party idea for the upcoming Cinco de Mayo: a B.Y.O.T. Bar, or ‘build your own tostada’ bar.

Tostada literally means ‘toasted’ so Shaila tells us the best tortillas for tostadas are those not fresh enough to make tacos, but fresh enough to be eaten. She explains that just like you wouldn’t use fresh bread for croutons, we wouldn’t use fresh tortillas for tostadas.

This recipe can be as complex or as practical as one wants it done. The secret is to have lots of options, a.k.a. toppings.

B.Y.O. “Tostadas” – Build Your Own Tostadas

Ingredients (4 tostadas):

  • 4 fried tortillas or purchase tostadas
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Refried beans or 1 can (see recipe below)
  • 2 cups cooked protein or sliced red / green peppers
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup favorite shredded cheese
  • ½ head of lettuce cubed
  • 2 medium avocados, peeled and sliced
  • Salsa fresca (see recipe below)
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped cilantro
  • 1 fresh chopped jalapeño chile



  • * Corn tortillas
  • * ½ cup of olive oil
  • * salt to taste
  1. Place olive oil in small frying pan on medium heat
  2. Once oil is hot carefully place corn tortilla till crispy then flip and cook other side
  3. Remove tortilla now a tostada from oil and place in a paper towel line plate to cool off. Sprinkle a bit of salt, repeat step as needed. For a healthier option place tortillas in over at 300 degrees and toast till crispy) Set aside until needed.

Refried Beans

  • Prepare beans as per recipe, or purchase refried beans


  • 1 lb. of dry beans of choice (pinto or black)
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • Salt (to taste)
  1. Sort, rinse and wash the beans
  2. Place beans in water over med/high heat and cover the pot
  3. Cook for 2 to 4 hours or until tender. Uncover and add salt and simmer another 10 minutes.
  4. Pour the oil in a pan and mix in the chopped onion. When the onion bits become translucent add the beans and mix well.
  5. Mash the beans using a fork or potato masher
  6. Keep frying the beans until they have absorbed all the oil. Add additional seasonings to flavor. Set aside until needed.


Prepare your protein of choice, cut to desire consistency, flavor as desired, and set aside till needed. This is where you may use your favourite protein recipe or for vegetarian any fresh grilled red and green peppers.

Salsa Fresca

  • Make salsa fresca as per recipe or purchase favourite salsa


  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 red onion or white
  • 1 Lime
  • One chopped jalapeño
  • Cilantro to taste
  • Garlic to taste
  • Salt to taste
  1. Wash the vegetables thoroughly
  2. Chop all vegetables to same size cubes and mix together in bowl
  3. Squeeze lime into vegetable and add salt, garlic to taste, mix together, cover and refrigerate till needed


  • Once all is prepared you could set it out and everyone build their own, just follow this guide but the possibilities are truly endless.
  1. Place tostada in plate and spread beans uniformly and all over
  2. Protein is next, then toppings (lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, onions, jalapenos, etc), don’t forget the cheese and sour cream
  3. Finished up with salsa fresca or even guacamole