Almost Fearless

Tostadas de Drew (Drew cooks something)

Hey guys! Drew here, sharing what small culinary wizardry I have been able to create here in Mexico. Let’s get to it.


I haven’t been able to go a full year of my adult life without hearing someone tell me all about how great their food tastes since they removed salt from their diet. “After awhile, you start to taste the actual flavors of the food. It’s really delicious!”

Oh come on. You know what’s really delicious? SALT, DAMMIT. Salt is delicious.

So anyway, Christine? She can’t eat the salt. In an effort to get her to like me more, I promised her that I would do this “low sodium, low fat” diet she is required to be on to get her blood pressure lowered (which is working, YES!).

Also? She is on deadline. Which makes me the cook. I’m not particularly creative in the kitchen, but I did recently find something mouthgasm-worthy that Christine thought worthy of sharing with you. I’m going to call them “Tostadas de Drew”. Another name for them is “Tostadas”.

Tostadas de Drew

  • 1 full chicken breast
  • 1 can low-sodium refried beans
  • 6 tostada shells
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup+ cilantro
  • 1/2 bell pepper (or equivalent)
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Habanero sauce to taste
  • Small lime

Makes from 4 to 6, and it took me a little less than an hour, and that is with a toddler demanding pillow fights, so it might take you less time.


My version is pretty flexible, I had this available to me in the kitchen. You should always have tomatos, onions and garlic in your kitchen, and we are a mushroom loving family, so there’s that. Christine insists on keeping my arch nemesis cilantro around to torment me, and I had a yellow pepper about to go bad so I used that, but you can use whatever pepper you want. It’s a different beast if you make it a spicy pepper but it’s just as excellent. NOT PICTURED: Lime, also a staple.


Pepper, garlic powder and habanero sauce make up the flavor makers here. When I began writing this I was certain these tostada shells were loaded with sodium, but at 20mg per three shells, it’s shockingly low in salt. NOT PICTURED – Low sodium refried beans, and chicken, because raw chicken is disgusting to look at and if you disagree with me on that then I think you are a weirdo and you should all thank me for protecting your eyeballs from any attempt to take an artful photo of raw chicken. YOU ARE WELCOME. Also, you can do this with steak no problem. The earliest version of this recipe I made using steak and it was also fantastic.


Chop it all up into little bits. Separate out about half of the onion and garlic for the salsa you will put on top, load the rest into a very lightly oiled pan and get cooking. Depending on how you like your onions, you will want to cook the onions, peppers and garlic much longer than the mushrooms. They do not cook at the same speed, but this took me about 5-7 minutes.


It looks a little sludge like once it’s all cooked up but I promise it is delicious.


Before cooking the chicken, it has been chopped up into bits, well seasoned with pepper, garlic powder, and I even threw in some habanero sauce to give it a mild kick. Cook the chicken until lightly browned. (NOTE: I chopped up the chicken before doing anything else so it could sit in it’s seasoning while I did the rest. Don’t forget to wash your hands!)

Lay out the tostada shells, spread on your refried beans and then place the cooked chicken. I don’t see any reason to cook the refried beans before putting them on the tostada because come on, the beans have been fried and then RE-FRIED. I think heating them up in the toaster oven is a sufficient third cooking.


Top the chicken with the delicious sludge mix! Now before you heat them up let’s make the salsa:



I’m not a conspiracy theorist by any means, but if I was, I would be fully convinced that Mexico is some sort of testing grounds for genetically modified produce. Aside from the apples Cole loves to eat that smell almost exactly like candy and are nearly as sweet, I find that I am completely able to eat the cilantro and onions they have here, two things I have loathed my entire life. I can’t express my hatred of cilantro enough, which is hilarious considering it’s in so many South East Asian dishes, (known there as coriander). Something is different about this cilantro vs Thailand’s coriander though, and I don’t know what it is, but I can eat it without hating the world, which is pretty great.



Mix together the tomatoes diced, along with the cilantro and the remaining onion and garlic. Squeeze a lime on that bad boy.


I once touched a habanero Christine was cooking with and then touched my face, which promptly started burning. I was nervous about introducing it’s liquid form into my foods here, but as a sauce, it seems to be less potent than an actual pepper. Don’t apply liberally unless you really love crying while you eat.


The salsa is ready! Now heat those tostadas for a few minutes, remove as soon as the shells start to brown.


Toss that spicy salsa on top of your heated tostadas and you are done!

I couldn’t tell you an actual sodium amount on this is, but I think it’s in the ballpark of 100 mg each, with almost all of that coming from the “low sodium refried beans”


Christine Gilbert

I’ve been dragging my husband around the world since 2008 always with the promise that, “Yes, Drew there will definitely be hammocks there.”



    • I’m working on being her stand-in! All I need now is to have put in five extra shots of me squeezing the lime, and about 20 extra photos in general;)

  • Love the details you go into Drew! And I am super intrigued by this non-world hating cilantro in Mexico. I am on the same page as you. CAN’T stand it here in Thailand! But apparently it’s sooo healthy.

  • I just happened to be sitting in a Mexican cantina waiting for a friend when I saw your post come through the email. My mouth is watering and I can’t wait to eat. Unfortunately there are no tostadas on the menu. What kind of place is this???

  • Looks delicious!! I’m going to put this recipe to the test in exactly two weeks when we return to Mexico. I. Can. Not Wait – man, I miss Mexican food!!!! Very funny commentary BTW 🙂

  • In the land of frijoles, canned? Make a pot sans salt. Two lbs dry beans, wash clear, add 4+ inches water over beans. Boil until soft. Beans no salt added. Add smoked meats for flavor.
    Also, bottled sauces. Contain mucho sal.

    Good luck!

    • Thanks for the tips BR! I’m taking notes. Any thoughts on making tostada shells with even less sodium than these? Or is it not worth the effort?

  • We’ve been making a similar meatless version over in Playa. We make our own refried beans and it’s really easy and then you can leave out the salt. Once we’ve cooked the dried beans we fry some onion and garlic with cumin (possibly not authentic but we like it) then add the beans with a bit of their water and cook for a bit and mash them up. Great to have a big batch in the fridge on hand.

    We use corn tortillas from the tortilleria which we heat up on the griddle plate thing on our oven until they are crispy. Don’t know how much salt they put in the tortillas though.

    We also use the stale tortillas to make tortilla chips by chopping them into triangles and frying in an inch or so of oil. My god, sooo good.

  • You made sludge look so colorful and beautiful! Great recipe and fun to read. Thanks for leaving the raw chicken footage out – I’m no weirdo.

  • well diva. your stomach looks lovely. i haven’t talked to you in ages!!! and because i’m clearly not competent enough to find the ‘contact us’ form, i’m leaving you this in a little message. we had a contest and you were voted for top coolest, most inspirational travel blogs for 2012. so… here’s the details…

    so, diva christine my dear, you guys won! (duh!) . check it out:

    i’ll publish another article when the final 50 are up, of course, again, highlighting your awesomeness!

    here’s your badge for your sidebar and FB love:


  • Those look tasty!

    My husband hates cilantro too (and we live in Vietnam, so he cannot get away from it), so I was laughing when you called it your ‘nemesis.’

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