Tostadas are basically mini tacos that you can eat in just a few bites. You typically pile a variety of proteins and veggies on top of small tortillas. I have had these with tuna ceviche that were excellent. Yet, I wanted to make a vegan version to change things up.
These tostadas have meaty mushrooms, crunchy cabbage slaw, a topping of guacamole, and a side of spicy diablo sauce. The combination of textures works quite well. To keep these Paleo, you will have to source or make grain-free tortillas.
Vegan tostadas can be a fun appetizer or a main dish for your lunch or dinner. I like to eat them outside on a warm summer day with lots of napkins. They can be messy in a good way.
What are Acceptable Grain-Free Tortillas?
Tortillas can be made using green plantains, cassava flour, coconut flour, and almond flour. I personally like the texture of one ingredient plantain grain-free tortillas. However, if I am in a hurry, I will often pick up pre-made cassava tortillas or wraps at my local market. I usually find them in the refrigerator case.
Store-bought tortillas are generally a little large for tostadas. I will either cut smaller rounds from these with my biscuit cutter, or I will just slice them into 4 quarters and use a triangular piece of tortilla as the base of my tostadas.
If you do choose to make your own tortillas, be wary that some recipes call for eggs. This is okay for Paleo but not for vegan.
What is Diablo Sauce?
Have you ever heard of shrimp fra diavolo? This is a classic Italian dish where shrimp is cooked in a bath of spicy red tomato sauce. Diavolo means devil. In Latin cuisines, the word for devil is diablo. The base of diablo sauce is more red chiles and less tomatoes. It has quite a bit of heat.
I have included instructions for preparing a diablo sauce using dried New Mexico chiles and tomatoes. It is really easy to make. However, you can just as easily pick up a bottle of hot pepper sauce at the market. I really like the thick texture of homemade diablo sauce. Also, you can temper the heat level to your liking when making your own by using more tomatoes and less chiles.
You can make the diablo sauce well ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. It was last several days.
Can I use Store-Bought Guacamole?
This recipe includes instructions for making an easy, vegan guacamole. I just love the freshness of homemade guacamole. You certainly could buy guacamole that is packaged or made by your local market. Just be sure to check the ingredients and the best-by date on the container. There is even a brand that states that it can be stored in the freezer.
If you choose to make your own, look for avocados that are slightly soft to the touch. If they are rock hard, they will not be ripe enough to mash. And, I recommend saving the pits or stones. I don’t know the exact science behind this, but placing the pits in the guacamole while it is stored prevents the fruit from oxidizing and turning brown.
How to Make Tostadas with Mushrooms, Slaw, Guacamole, and Diablo Sauce
The basic ingredients for the vegan tostadas are:
- Paleo tortilla rounds
- Sautéed mushrooms and peppers
- Cabbage slaw
- Diablo sauce
There are steps to this recipe, starting with making the diablo sauce and guacamole. The nice thing is that you can make certain things well ahead of time, such as the diablo sauce and slaw. I recommend making the guacamole and mushroom mixture the day of serving this dish. Let’s review the steps.
1. Diablo Sauce
Make the diablo sauce first and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use. Soak the dried chiles in boiling hot water for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the onions and tomatoes. Then, transfer the chiles to a blender using a slotted spoon and purée them with the tomatoes, garlic, onion, and seasonings until smooth.
If the sauce is just too spicy, add more tomatoes to temper the heat. Not all dried chiles are equal and some may be too spicy.
This will last for several days in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.
Carefully slice through the avocados around the pit. Twist to separate the halves. Using the heel of your knife, give the pit a little whack so that the knife sticks. Pull the pit from the flesh with the knife. Being careful again, remove the pit from the knife and set aside. You will be using the pits to preserve the mashed avocados.
Scoop the flesh from the skin into a large bowl. Mash the avocado with a fork. This can be a little chunky or rustic. Stir in the lemon juice.
Dice the onions, tomatoes, and cilantro. Add these, along with the salt and pepper, and mix well to combine. Place the reserved pits in the top of the guacamole. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to assemble the tostadas.
Before serving, remove and discard the pits.
3. Cabbage Slaw
Shred the cabbage and carrots into a mixing bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over the vegetables. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt. Set this aside while you cook the mushrooms.
4. Mushroom Filling
You will need a large skillet for this step. You will use the same skillet to warm up your tortilla rounds.
Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel and dice them. Peel and mince the garlic. Remove the stem and seeds from the bell pepper and dice that as well. You want bite size pieces.
Heat the oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Sautee the mushrooms, pepper, and garlic until softened and cooked through. Season with salt and pepper. Remove this mixture to a bowl and wipe the pan clean with a paper towel.
5. Putting It All Together
Place the pan back on the heat and warm the tortilla rounds in batches. Layer each tortilla in this order: mushroom mixture, cabbage slaw, and guacamole. Serve the diablo sauce on the side with a spoon so that everyone can control the amount of heat they prefer.
Serve these with a pile of napkins.
What if I don’t Like Mushrooms?
I know several people who just don’t care for mushrooms. There are many options for the non-mushroom eaters. You can either leave them out of the recipe or try these foods instead and allow everyone to assemble their own tostadas:
- Small cubes of roasted butternut squash
- A medley of green and black olives
- Shredded iceberg lettuce
- Lightly sautéed zucchini and yellow squash cubes
- Quartered cherry tomatoes and diced cucumbers
- Chopped macadamia nuts
- Compliant vegan cheese cubes
- Red and yellow bell pepper strips
I think you get the idea. Place bowls of options out for you and your guests to customize their tostadas. This will make everyone happy and it will be fun.
What to Serve with Tostadas?
While these tostadas can be a main course, I like to serve them as a filling appetizer and then follow this up with a vegan chili, like chocolate walnut chili with butternut squash. This is nice when served over Mexican cauliflower rice. And of course, you will want a cold cerveza (beer) with a lime wedge.
And if you didn’t get enough chocolate in the chili, try vegan espresso fudge for dessert. You can make that well ahead of time.
Vegan Tostadas with Mushrooms, Guacamole, and Diablo Sauce Recipe:
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Vegan Tostadas with Mushrooms, Slaw, Guacamole, and Diablo Sauce Recipe
Tostadas are an excellent appetizer or a complete meal. These Paleo, vegan tostadas can be made really simply with store bought and Paleo compliant guacamole and diablo sauce – many brands are gluten-free. If you are feeling adventurous, make the guacamole and sauce from scratch, as outlined here.
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- 8 New Mexico dried red chiles, stems and seeds removed
- 1 dried chipotle chile, stem and seeds removed
- 3 plum or Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 3 avocados, pitted (reserve the pits)
- 1 tbs fresh lime juice
- 10 cherry tomatoes, finely diced
- 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black paper
- 1 cup shredded or julienned green or purple cabbage
- 1/2 cup shredded or julienned carrots
- 1 Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cups diced cremini or button mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup diced green bell pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 lime sliced into wedges
- 16 small (4 inch rounds) Paleo tortillas
More TIPS about this paleo recipe in the post above!
Diablo Sauce: In a medium saucepot, add the dried chiles and cover with boiling water. Place a lid on the pot and allow the chiles to sit for 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the softened chiles to a blender. Add the tomatoes, garlic, onion, salt, and oregano and purée until smooth. Place the sauce in a small serving bowl and set aside.
Guacamole: Place the flesh from the avocado halves in a large bowl and mash them with a fork. Mix in the lime juice, tomatoes, onion, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Placed the pits in the guacamole to prevent it from turning brown until ready to use. Cover and place in the refrigerator.
Fillings and Tostadas: In a medium bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, lime juice, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss and set aside. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil. Add the garlic, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Sauté until just cooked through, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper. Place the mixture in a bowl and wipe the pan down with a paper towel and place back on the heat.
Assembly: Warm the tortillas in the sauté pan and remove them to 1 or 2 large serving platters. You will have to do this in batches. Top each tortilla with a spoonful of mushroom mixture, then some slaw, and finally the guacamole. Serve the diablo sauce on the side with a spoon. Place lime wedges on the platters and serve with plenty of napkins.
Nutrition Information Per Serving
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. Net carb count excludes both fiber and sugar alcohols (though the latter are rarely seen on this site), because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.