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By Lola's Cocina
Breakfast tostadas are always a hit in my family - especially when feeding a large group - because most of the work takes place in advance. Better yet, guests can serve themselves, which means I’m able to enjoy myself as well! I love using mismatched serving bowls and utensils to create a fun, festive, and not-so-formal vibe when putting together my tostada bar. Fresh flowers always make their way onto my table, too.
Because it’s something I've always enjoyed, it rarely occurs to me how stressful hosting can be for some. That's where these breakfast tostadas come in: whether hosting comes naturally to you or not so much, a build-your-own breakfast tostada bar is one of my favorite easy meals to feed a crowd first thing in the morning. While I love tacos and taquitos, I tend to gravitate towards tostadas when hosting groups larger than five because they're a bit more host-friendly. The ingredients can be prepared in advance and guests can help themselves to all of the fun toppings. And with a tostada bar, there’s something for everyone.
A tostada is essentially a crispy corn tortilla that's kept in its original shape: flat and round. Most tostadas are made by shallow-frying corn tortillas until golden and crispy, but they can also be baked. In Oaxaca, corn tortillas are often crisped up by being heated on a clay or metal comal (a smooth, flat griddle) over low heat.
My tostada bar draws inspiration from a breakfast tostada that my aunt Elena introduced me to many years ago. Mounded on crisp-fried tortillas, she layers beans, eggs, and a variety of toppings for a hearty meal that works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
As with any undertaking in the kitchen, the first step to building your breakfast tostada bar is determining how much food you'll need to serve depending on how many guests you're hosting. This tostada bar is meant to feed a crowd of about 8-10 adults, assuming each guest will eat 2-3 tostadas, but you can adjust the amounts of each ingredient accordingly if your crowd is a bit smaller or bigger. Some of the ingredients - such as the refried beans and salsa - can be either store-bought or homemade; it's up to you. Here’s what you’ll need to purchase and/or prepare for 8-10 guests:
The best part about this build-your-own breakfast tostada bar is that most of the ingredients can be prepared in advance — the perfect make-ahead breakfast for a crowd. Talk about stress-free entertaining!
You can fry corn tortillas and prepare your refried beans and favorite salsa the night before or buy them already made to save yourself some time in the kitchen. I also recommend setting out all of the serving platters, plates, glassware, and utensils you'll be using.
I like everything to look and taste fresh when guests arrive and as long as you keep your ingredients covered and refrigerated until it’s game time, they’ll be just fine. Lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese can all be chopped, diced, or grated a few hours before guests arrive. I also recommend chopping your protein and cooking it in advance to avoid having a sink full of dirty dishes.
Now's the time to make sure you’re showered and looking fabulous so that you can focus on setting the mood. Light your candles, select and queue your favorite playlist, and make sure your tostada ingredients and drinks look beautiful. Set out all of your ingredients in individual plates, platters, and bowls.
Since these ingredients require only a few minutes to cook or reheat, you can leave them for just before guests are scheduled to arrive or as they begin arriving. I like to keep my beans and eggs warm in a chafing dish, but this isn’t at all necessary.
Guests should help themselves and build their own tostadas. While there’s no right or wrong way to layer ingredients, I suggest starting with the beans, which work as a binder for the next layer of ingredients. I like to follow with the scrambled eggs, then the lettuce, tomato, protein, avocado, cheese, and salsa.
Did you create your own breakfast tostada bar? Tag your photos with #nelliesfreerange so we can see! And don't forget to check out Lola's Cocina for more inspiration.
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