There is a question that haunts all of us for all of our days, and it is this: What shall I eat? In childhood, we wondered what’s for dinner, when is dinner, where are the pizza rolls? But nothing prepares you for the weight of this relentless question until it lands on your shoulders. God bless parents and cafeteria workers and the late-night shift of Taco Bell who answered it for us while we were young and carefree. Now we have to do the planning, shopping, preparing, or procuring ourselves.
Hunger is a gift, really, a reminder that we are alive and that we have needs and wants. And it is a gift to be the one with means to answer that hunger, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. The best cure for the “I-can’t-believe-I-have-to-feed-myself/my family/these-cranky-children-AGAIN” blues is a decently stocked pantry. If you can pull together a quick, tasty meal without having to plan or shop for it, the resulting self-satisfaction lasts long enough to help you do it again next time.
Canned beans come in clutch for pantry cooking, and were the inspiration for these creamy, chipotle-spiked white bean tostadas. So long as you stock shrimp in your freezer, you can trot out healthy, flavorful tostadas in thirty minutes. Creamy, crunchy, salty, tangy, fresh—this edition of tostadas builds on what was best about 2 a.m. Taco Bell runs, and then levels up with seared shrimp, fresh avocado, and toasted pepitas. You’ll be so satisfied you won’t even mind that in a few hours you’ll have to do it again.
Chipotle Shrimp White Bean Tostadas
Yields: 8-10 tostadas
4 Tbsp. canola oil, plus more for frying
½ white onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 (15-oz.) cans cannellini beans, drained
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 (12 oz.) can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 lb. jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. chili powder
8–10 corn tortillas
2 avocados, sliced
½ cup pepitas
Cilantro, for garnish
2–3 limes, sliced
1. Heat 1 Tbsp. of oil in a large sauce pot on medium heat. Add pepitas and toast until brown, stirring, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.
2. In the same pot, warm 2 Tbsp. of oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and sauté until they soften and take on some color. Add garlic and sauté for one minute.
3. Add beans to pot along with 1 tsp. of cumin, ½ tsp. oregano, ½ tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper, and stir. Continue cooking over med-low heat while gently pressing on beans with a potato masher until they are soft and creamy. Meanwhile, open the can of chipotle peppers and measure out 1½ Tbsp. of adobo sauce. (Save or freeze the chipotle peppers for another use.) Stir adobo sauce into the bean mash and remove from heat, but keep warm.
4. In a Dutch oven or heavy, deep skillet, heat about ¼-inch of canola oil until shimmering. Fry each corn tortilla until golden brown and crisp, about 30 seconds per side. Drain on paper towels and lightly salt while hot.
5. Toss shrimp in a large bowl with ½ tsp. garlic powder, ½ tsp. chili powder, and ½ tsp. salt. Heat 1 Tbsp. of canola oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Place seasoned shrimp in skillet and cook until just pink, about 2 minutes per side.
6. Spread the chipotle white bean mash on each tostada. Top with shrimp, sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, and toasted pepitas. Finish by giving each tostada a generous squeeze of lime.