Cauliflower Black Bean Tostadas with Queso and Pickled Onion Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Cauliflower Black Bean Tostadas with Queso and Pickled Onion

26 reviews / 5 average

Tangy, creamy, crunchy, smoky, seasoned vegetarian goodness on a perfectly crisp little corn tortilla disk. Cauliflower Black Bean Tostadas to the rescue!

This is a brand new recipe that’s part of our Fall 2022 SOS Series! View the full series.

Listen, whenever we whisper a prayer to the air that’s like “oh no, it’s dinner o’clock what do I doooo?”, that answer is always: taco-y things!

And this crisp, salty, quick-fried tostada topped with creamy refried black beans, seasoned roasty cauliflower, and some fresh tangy pickled red onions is NOT. HOLDING. BACK. And neither should you.

Did we mention the drizzle of your favorite queso on top? Yeah, all the best things! Super quick and easy with lots of available shortcuts and lots and lots of yum.

In This Post: Everything You Need For Tostadas

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What Makes This The Ultimate Shortcut Recipe

This recipe is already pretty darn quick and easy, with several delicious shortcuts that will move this lil’ baby right along. We are already using a packet of favorite taco seasoning, canned refried beans (Amy’s organic is tops), and jarred queso (hello have you had the Queso Mama green chile variety?! drool.) because SOS forever, but you could get even SOS-ier if that is the night you’re having.

Though it’s hard to beat the delicious fresh salty crunch of the quick-fried tiny corn tortillas, you could totally buy pre-made tostadas to save that step. Also, if breaking up that head of cauli isn’t your thing (we get it, how do those little pieces wind up EVERYWHERE?!), buying those pre-cut florets will certainly save you even more time (and crumbles and sanity).

Just, make sure you take any extra minutes you save to make those super easy, quick-pickled red onions, ok? You won’t regret it. They are truly unbeatable and for sure a taco’s best friend.

You could also prep the different components in advance if you’re into a meal prep schedule. Just store everything separately and you’re good to go come dinner time when you just need to quick heat and stack!

Ingredients for cauliflower black bean tostadas on a marble tabletop.

How To Make Pickled Onions

Speaking of this tangy, bitey delicious little frand, pickled onions couldn’t be easier to make!

  1. Thinly slice one red onion. A mandoline like this one (affiliate link) makes very quick, easy work of this!
  2. Place onions in a jar and fill about 1/3 of the way with white vinegar, the rest with water.
  3. Add a pinch of salt and sugar, give it a shake, toss in your fridge for a bit, and you’re in business.

They’ll keep in the fridge for several days so then you have them ready when you inevitably make this tostada stack again tomorrow. Or, as mentioned, literally any other taco-inspired thing because these are just so perfect with all of it.

Fried corn tortillas for tostadas.

How To Make Tostadas (And Our Tortilla Of Choice)

Our favorite tortilla option here is definitely a yellow corn tortilla. Particularly, the cutie little “street taco” Mission brand ones. The flavor is great, they fry up beautifully, and they are a perfect little tostada serving size.

Seriously, just a few minutes and a pair of tongs and these hot delicious little crunchers are yours.

  1. Heat some oil in a large skillet and add your tortillas a few at a time once the oil is hot.
  2. Fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown then put them on a paper towel to dab out any excess oil.

Sprinkle some salt on those babes and get ready for SUCH a delicious journey to tostada town. And as mentioned before, if you’re feeling very “Food. Eat. Now.” you could certainly buy pre-made tostadas and go from there.

Other Ideas For These Tostadas

There are lots of ways to play around with this one, too. If you want to add a little protein boost, some chorizo would be delicious mixed in with that cauli, or you can’t go wrong with an egg or two on top.

The tostada crunch stack is a fave over here but this combo can flex into any of your favorite preps. You could certainly pile it all on a pan full of chips and pop it under the broiler for nacho night. Just want to wrap it and in a warm tortilla burrito-style or your favorite taco shell? Yes, delicious.

If you’ve got some leftover tostadas and toppings, we hope you’ll venture toward something chilaquiles-ish the next morning for breakfast. Add a couple avocado slices to that, an egg or two…now we’re absolutely talking.

Cauliflower black bean tostadas on parchment paper with pickled onions and queso.

How To Eat a Tostada

Listen, you might think we’re joking but this can actually be a little tricky depending on a few factors like pile height, tostada crisp-level, your willingness to have messy fingers. It’s not the easiest knife-and-fork option because the tostada is so crunchy, but if you pile it too high, it’s a precarious balancing act to pick it up and bite into it.

But if you keep the pile per tostada pretty reasonable, it’s a delicious and easy pick up and chomp. But if you like rules and directions, there actually IS A TOSTADA GUIDE that exists! What a delightful world.

However you decide to tostada, it’s gonna be great.

Tostadas: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add meat to this?

Absolutely! The beauty of this recipe is that you can stack just about anything. Pre-cooked chicken, some chorizo, maybe an egg or two – the possibilities are endless.

How can I make this vegan?

Just swap out the queso for another favorite! Like this 2-Minute Creamy Avocado Dip, 3-Ingredient Vegan Queso, Chipotle Cashew Queso, or 5 Minute Magic Green Sauce.

How can I make this even more SOS-ey?

Use pre-cut cauliflower instead of a whole head, storebought tostadas (instead of making your own), and pre-pickled onions (or pickled jalapeño if that’s your thing!).

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A picture of Cauliflower Black Bean Tostadas with Queso and Pickled Onion

Cauliflower Black Bean Tostadas with Queso and Pickled Onion

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Tangy, creamy, crunchy, smoky, seasoned vegetarian goodness on a perfectly crisp little corn tortilla disk. Cauliflower Black Bean Tostadas to the rescue!


Units Scale


  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • salt and olive oil
  • 1 package taco seasoning (I like Siete brand)


  • one 14-ounce can refried black beans (I like Amy’s brand)
  • 810 small corn tortillas (I like Mission street tacos tortillas)
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable or canola oil
  • cilantro
  • pickled red onion
  • queso (I like Queso Mama brand – the green chile variety)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Arrange the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for 25-30 minutes until browned and tender. Add taco seasoning directly to the pan; toss with the cauliflower using tongs until it’s well coated. (You might not need a full taco seasoning packet for this.) Return to the oven for 5-10 minutes to get it nice, soft, and roasty-delicious.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a large skillet. You want the oil to be hot enough so that a speck of water dropped in will sizzle across the top. Add your tortillas to the oil, a few at a time depending on size, and fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy. Place on a paper towel lined plate to remove excess oil, and repeat with remaining tortillas. 
  3. Top tortillas with warmed black beans, roasted cauliflower, cilantro, pickled onion, and warmed queso. Sprinkle with salt and lime juice as needed / wanted. OMG. Crunchy, creamy, tangy, and so darn good.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired

Keywords: tostada recipe, cauliflower black bean, vegetarian tostada

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  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I appreciate how you included your preferred brand in the ingredients. It’s so helpful!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      For any other non-Americans out there who don’t have easy access to American ‘queso’ – I made this with store-bought salsa verde, and Greek yoghurt mixed with lime juice and it was incredibly delicious!

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I mean – heavenly!!! My husband said it was “the best thing I’ve made in a long time.” Added some cabbage tossed in cilantro lime dressing, and some avocado slices! Only complaint – 4 servings?! 😉 we were fighting over the last bites! Thank you!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I used vegan Trader Joe’s nacho dip I normally make my own queso but I didn’t want to mess with it. Don’t skip the onions

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was quick and SO delicious! I also cooked some ground turkey in taco seasoning to add to the cauliflower. All of the ingredients made for such a tasty flavor explosion 😊

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    These are amazing! True SOS style if you have the cauliflower chopped and onions pickled ahead of time. My whole family loved it!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Made it two weeks in a row. Sooooo good and sooo easy. If anyone is scared of frying things, don’t be! It’s fun! And it’s not that much oil! Also if you’ve never cut a cauliflower and are intimidated by that, find a YouTube video because it’s really easy! (I know those sound really silly but they used to be two things that got in my way of making certain recipes so I wanted to share just in case anyone else is feeling that). Alsoooo, discovered the Target good and gather queso and I think it’s much better than Tostitos if anyone is wondering, not that Tostitos is bad. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. My friends, my boyfriend, and I all love it

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    These were sooooo good!! The acidity is the onion with the roasted smokiness of the cauliflower and the creaminess and spice of the queso was *chefs kiss*

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was SO GOOD and SO EASY (I used already-made tostadas). 10/10 will crunch again.

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Thank you for this recipe. I will be making it soon. I make my own taco seasoning because it cuts the sodium count way down!

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This is so good! Do not skip the red onion. It’s easy to do and adds so much!! I’m just disappointed I didn’t make more cauliflower. My husband and I couldn’t stop eating while we were cooking the recipe!! Thank you for another fav!!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Made this yesterday and even the slightly picky teens ate it up! My husband picked jalapenos and red onions in the morning. I made a quick green chile queso while the cauliflower roasted in the oven! Super delish. This will make it into the meatless Monday rotation for sure!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I cannot believe how good this is! My husband glanced at the recipe while I was making it and I could tell he was dubious, but after one bite we both started talking about how soon we could make it again. It’s so easy and quick but the flavors are fantastic. Thank you so much for yet ANOTHER great recipe!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    These are so tasty! We’ve made them several times and really love them her suggestion for the queso was great.

    My only edit has to do with frying the tortillas. My husband religiously follows instructions, even when he should maybe read between the lines. The recipe calls for heating oil in a pan, and then says the pan should be so hot that a drop of water sizzles across the top. Well, my husband did heat a pan of oil, and then dropped in a big handful of water to the hot oil which caused a huge Pop and splattering of oil across the kitchen. Follow the directions! But not that closely.

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This recipe was great but my tostadas came out kinda chewy and not crispy. I followed the directions exactly. Do you know what went wrong?

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’ve been eyeing this recipe for awhile and finally got around to making it today. Probably top 3 things I’ve ever tasted. The combo of all the components were just magnificent. My favorite were the east pickled red onions which I will be putting over every meal from here on out. Great recipe, easy and delicious!