What else can I say about this dish, other than that it was crazy-good and so glad that there were leftovers! The best part was that using lentils instead of refried beans, makes this scads healthier! It is important to use red (they’re a salmony-red) lentils as they will mash and give you that smooth, “refried bean” texture; whereas French (green) lentils will not.
In a medium saucepan, stir together 1-3/4c. water, 3/4c. red lentils, 1/4c. chopped onion, 1/2tsp seasoned salt, 1tsp cumin & 2 cloves of minced garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for 12-15min until lentils are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Use a potato masher or a hand mixer to mash the cooked lentil mixture and then stir in 1-2tbsp of snipped cilantro.
Let me take a sidebar here. I like using whole, fresh, organic ingredients when possible, but you’ll discover that occasionally I take a page out of Sandra Lee’s book and use a shortcut. Fresh herbs is sometimes one of those. Cilantro at the grocery store is dirt cheap. Like usually 60¢ dirt-cheap. But at the same time, I loathe waste. I would often use 1/4th of the bunch before it would just go bad! With just the two of us right now, we just can’t eat that much cilantro. That’s why I love to grab a couple jars of Litehouse Instantly Fresh Herbs of whatever I need that I can’t just freeze or won’t “keep” long. They’re relatively inexpensive, but they stay fresh longer and you get many uses out of them. (I swear I’m not selling, nor do I own stock in, Litehouse!)
While your lentils are cooking, chop 1 medium zucchini, 1 medium yellow crookneck squash and 1 medium carrot. Place them in one layer on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with seasoned salt and bake uncovered at 350° for 10-12min until veggies are crisp-tender (turning once halfway through). Remove and set aside.
Before topping the tostada shells, pop them in the oven for 3min.
Top the tostada shells with the lentil mash, then the mixed veggies, then a sprinkling of Mexican-style shredded cheese. Enjoy immediately.
This typically serves four, but if you’re serving bigger appetites, you may want to double the recipe and buy 2 packages of tostada shells instead of just one!
This dish is a real winner despite its being vegetarian – just don’t tell the menfolk that until they’ve stuffed themselves 😉