We ate so many amazing meals on our vacation in Maui last week: ceviches, sashimis, poké bowls, and so much macadamia nut crusted-everything that I actually thought I might turn into a fish if I looked at one more Mahi Mahi fillet. But as soon as our plane touched down in Texas, you know what happened? I was struck with the immediate, all-consuming craving for Mexican food, and it reminded me just how frequently I eat tacos and tostadas and that I really can’t survive more than a week without them. Is it just an Austin thing, or do any of you guys in other parts of the country feel the same way? To prove that all roads lead back to Tex-Mex, one day recently I realized I was out of tortillas and decided to toast a round of pita bread and used it as a chewier base for tostada toppings. And the result was a total “why didn’t I think of this before?” moment. The golden-brown crust is a perfect canvas for all kinds of toppings: mozzarella and tomato, hummus and red peppers, or in this Mexican-themed version, butternut squash, black beans, and avocado.
Did you know that roasted butternut squash makes a delicious and incredibly nutritious “sauce?” Now that I’ve discovered it, I’m dying to try on sandwiches and pizza, too. Just roast it until it’s falling-apart-tender, then mash with maple, cinnamon, cumin, salt, or whatever spices happen to be your jam. And in case you can’t tell by the photos, this tostada prescribes to the “more is more” philosophy when it comes to toppings. In addition to the star ingredients, I went ahead and added a drizzle of lime crema, lots of chopped cilantro, toasted pumpkin seeds, and more spices. It kind of became a knife-and-fork situation, which was totally okay with me.
Have you guys ever used toasted pita as the base for a tostada/flatbread/pizza? If so, I’d love to hear your favorite topping ideas so I can experiment! Keep reading for my healthy pita tostadas recipe with butternut squash, black beans, and avocado.
*photos by Kate LeSueur
- 1 butternut squash, split vertically and seeds removed
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- kosher salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 4 pita breads (6-inch)
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- juice from 2 limes, divided
- 1/4 cup greek yogurt
- 2 avocados, sliced
- garnish: chopped cilantro and toasted pumpkin seeds
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush butternut squash halves with olive oil, and place flesh side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until very tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. Set aside to let cool slightly, then mash in a bowl with cumin, chili powder, maple syrup, and salt.
- Place pita breads on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, until golden brown and crispy on the edges but still chewy in the center. Remove and set aside.
- Toss black beans with half of lime juice and drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
- Whisk together yogurt with other half of lime juice and a pinch of salt. Add a little water if needed, until it's a consistency that can be drizzled.
- On each toasted pita, spread a scoop of mashed butternut squash, a scoop of black beans, and a few slices of avocado. Drizzle with the lime yogurt, then garnish with cilantro, pumpkin seeds, and a dusting of chili powder if desired. Eat!
*you'll have lots of extra mashed butternut squash; reheat it and serve as a delicious veggie side dish the next day!
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