|Grilled Zucchini Mini Tostadas with Refried Beans are a good way to use giant zucchinis.|
I realize August is the month with a special day to celebrate zucchini, but everyone who's grown zucchini in a garden knows that in September and October, when you're not focused on the garden so much, you can find giant zucchinis springing up overnight. I have a few friends and relatives who've been giving me giant zucchinis lately, so I'm having fun dreaming up new ways to use them. I used a big zucchini about 3 inches across to make these Grilled Zucchini Mini Tostadas with Refried Beans. This was easy to make and if you have kids it would be a fun meal to get the kids to help assemble. If you want to make this and you don't have giant zucchini, I would just slice smaller zucchini the other way and make oblong-shaped tostadas; enjoy!
I ate three of these for a tasty Meatless Monday lunch, and they'd also make a nice dinner if you served them with something else on the side. (If you want more meatless recipes, you might might want to follow my Meatless Monday Pinterest Board, which has ideas from Kalyn's Kitchen and some of my favorite food blogs., and I also share a new recipe each week for Meatless Monday at BlogHer.)
I use my beloved Mandoline with a 7mm blade to get even thin slices, but you can slice by hand if you don't have a mandoline. (I cut 12 slices, but I could have easily eaten four of these for lunch so I'd suggest cutting more if you have a big enough zucchini.)
Put the refried beans and diced green chiles into a pan with a little water, and let it simmer on low and thicken while you prep other ingredients. Spray grill with nonstick spray and preheat to high. (You could make these with a broiler as well if you have a wire rack to put the zucchini slices on.)
I simmered the bean mixture about 20 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan every few minutes. Let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes before you put it on the zucchini slices.
Lay the zucchini slices out on a cookie sheet and spray each side with a little olive oil. (I use the Misto Olive Oil Sprayer.) Sprinkle both sides with a pinch of Kalyn's Taco Seasoning (or your favorite purchased taco seasoning.)
Then turn and cook 5-7 minutes on the second side, or until the zucchini is cooked and slightly browned.
While the zucchini cooks get some salsa, grated Three Cheese Mexican Blend (or your favorite low-fat cheese), and sliced olives.
Then use a fork (or your clean fingers) to spread out the beans so they come almost to the edge of the zucchini slices.
Give each mini tostada a generous pinch of cheese. (And if you can do this without getting the cheese all over, you're doing better than me!)
Top each mini tostada with some sliced olives and eat right away. You can use other toppings like sour cream, avocado, diced tomato, or lettuce if you'd like.
(Makes about 4 servings; recipe created by Kalyn when she had a surplus of giant zucchinis!)
1 can (16 oz.) refried beans (or about 1 cup homemade refried beans)
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chiles (Anaheim chiles, not jalapenos, unless you want it really spicy)
1/4 cup water
1 giant zucchini, cut into about 16 slices, each about 3/8 inch thick and about 3 inches across
olive oil, for spraying zucchini slices
Kalyn's Taco Seasoning, or your favorite store-bought brand, for sprinkling zucchini slices
about 1/3 cup salsa (I used Pace Medium Picante Sauce)
about 1 cup grated cheese (I used Kirklands Three Cheese Mexican Blend, which is a blend of reduced-fat cheese)
about 1/4 cup sliced olives
optional toppings like sour cream, diced tomatoes, diced avocado, or lettuce can also be used
Spray a small saucepan with nonstick spray and add the can of refried beans, can of diced green chiles, and 1/4 cup water. Stir together, then let the mixture simmer over low heat about 15-20 minutes, or until it's thickened and the beans are well-flavored from the diced green chiles. (The beans will stick to the pan, I used a turner to scrape the sides and the bottom every few minutes.) Spray a clean grill with nonstick grill spray and heat to high.
While the beans are simmering, wash the zucchini, cut off both ends, then use a Mandoline or a sharp knife to cut the zucchini into thin slices about 3/8 inch thick. (I used my mandoline with a 7mm blade, which was just perfect. In the photos I only made 12 slices, but I had extra beans left over and I could have easily eaten four of these for a light lunch, so I would make at least 16 slices if you can get that many.)
Lay the zucchini slices out on a large cookie sheet (or two) and spray each side of the zucchini with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of Kalyn's Taco Seasoning. Put zucchini slices on the hot grill and grill about 6-7 minutes on the first side, then turn and grill 5-7 minutes on the second side, or until the slices are cooked and slightly browned.
While zucchini cooks, prepare the salsa, grated cheese, black olives, and any other toppings you're using. Let the beans cool a few minutes before you assemble the tostadas.
When zucchini is done, lay the slices back on the cookie sheet to assemble the tostadas. Put about 1 tablespoon of the refried bean mixture on each zucchini slice; then spread the beans with a fork (or your clean fingers.) Spread about a teaspoon of salsa over the bean mixture. Sprinkle each tostada with a generous pinch of grated cheese and add a few slices of olive to each. Eat right away.
These don't keep well, but you can prepare all the beans and cut all the zucchini when you first make them. Then just grill as many zucchini slices as you will eat at one sitting, keeping the rest in the fridge in a Ziploc bag to cook later. Beans can be microwaved for a minute or two if they've been in the fridge.
South Beach Suggestions:
All the ingredients in this dish are low-glycemic foods and would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet. Use reduced-fat cheese for South Beach (and remember that beans are a limited food for Phase One, although there is such a small amount in a serving of these that it would be fine.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
More Tasty Meatless Ideas with Zucchini:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Grilled Zucchini Caprese Stacks with Basil Vinaigrette ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Zucchini Gratin ~ Gluten Free Goddess
Julienned Zucchini Vegan Bowl with Peanut-Sriracha Sauce ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Mushroom and Goat Cheese Stuffed Zucchini ~ Always Order Dessert
Zucchini-Crust Vegetarian Pizza Margherita ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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