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+ servings

Slow-Cooked Beef Cornbread Tostadas

A different take on tostadas. Slow-cooked spicy chuck roast, tangy pico de gallo, creamy guacamole, and homemade queso fresco top a crispy, slightly sweet cornbread tostada shell. They're delicious, nutritious, and so fresh!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Course: Main Course, Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Diet: Gluten Free
Keyword: Gluten-free, fresh, healthy, easy, tostados, guacamole, slow cooker, pico de gallo, tender, tangy, chiles, queso, homemade
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 455kcal
Author: LM


  • Crock Pot or other slow cooker
  • Clean cheese cloth
  • Dutch oven
  • Quick-read food thermometer
  • Mortar and Pestle


For the slow-cooked beef:

  • 1.5 lb beef chuck roast
  • 3 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp. chiles de arbol soaked and finely minced.
  • 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the queso fresco:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • salt to taste

For the pico de gallo:

  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup cilantro chopped finely
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper minced
  • 1/2 red onion chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt to taste

For the guacamole:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper
  • 1 scallion white and pale green parts only
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • salt to taste

For the tostada shells:

  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1.5 cups warm water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2-3 tbsp. neutral oil for frying


For the slow-cooked beef:

  • To a crock pot or other slow cooker, add all beef ingredients except for the beef to make a cooking liquid.
  • Whisk until all cooking liquid ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  • Add beef and arrange so that all pieces are evenly spread out in the slow cooker.
  • Set slow cooker on low heat and cook beef for 6 hours until it is very tender and pulls apart easily. If preferred, you can set your slow cooker to the highest temperature instead, and cook for 3-4 hours. As the beef cooks, work on cooking the other parts of this dish.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove beef from crockpot and shred into bite-sized pieces using a fork. You can reserve remaining cooking liquid, freeze, and use to make soups or cook another batch of this beef.

For the queso fresco:

  • In a large Dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pan, add the milk.
  • Begin heating the milk over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to ensure no scorching or burning occurs.
  • Monitor the milk as it heats until it reaches 170°F.
  • Once you've reached 170°, remove the milk from the heat, add the lemon juice and vinegar, and stir several times. You should see small curds begin to form and separate from the yellowish whey.
  • Let the milk and vinegar combination set for about 35-45 minutes until the curds are larger and fully separated from the whey.
  • Meanwhile, prepare a large colander to receive the curds by lining it with a cheese cloth that has been folded several times.
  • Once you've let the curds rest for 35-45 minutes, run a small, sharp knife through them to break them apart a bit.
  • Then, pour them into the cheesecloth-lined colander.
  • Let them rest for an additional 30 minutes or so until all of the whey has drained off. Squeeze any remaining whey out of the cheese by twisting the cheesecloth around the curds and twisting it until no more liquid comes out.
  • Place wrapped curds on a paper-towel lined cutting board or plate, and place something heavy on top of them in order to press out any last remaining drops of liquid. Let the curds press for about 15-20 minutes or until they have become a solid block.
  • You can either slice the cheese in this form to top your tostadas, or you can crumble it.
  • Refrigerate leftover cheese in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

For the pico de gallo:

  • Combine all pico ingredients in a large bowl and toss until thoroughly combined. Set aside to marinate until ready to serve.

For the guacamole:

  • Mash the avocado in a mortar and pestle until smooth and creamy. If you do not have a mortar and pestle, you can also mash the avocado with a fork.
  • Add the rest of your ingredients to the mashed avocado, and stir to thoroughly combine.

Make the cornbread tostada shells:

  • Add cornmeal to a large mixing bowl.
  • Begin adding warmed water to the cornmeal in half cup intervals, stirring thoroughly until a thick, slightly crumbly dough is formed.
  • Let the dough rest for about 15-20 minutes to allow the water to throughly absorb into the cornmeal.
  • While the dough is resting, heat a small layer of neutral oil in a nonstick skillet or cast iron over medium high heat until it begins to shimmer.
  • Using an ice cream scoop or large serving spoon, spoon a dollop of cornmeal dough into the skillet and immediately use a spatula to flatten the dough so that it is roughly the same size as a thin pancake.
  • Pan fry the tostada dough until it begins to brown around the edges, about 1-2 minutes. Then, flip and cook the other side for an additional 1-2 minutes or until the tostada shells are deep golden brown and crispy on the outside. Remove to a paper towel lined plate as you fry the rest of the tostada shells.
  • Top each tostada shell with a spoonful of all the toppings and serve immediately. Leftovers can be refrigerated separately for up to 3 days.


Serving: 1serving | Sodium: 309mg | Calcium: 104mg | Vitamin C: 20mg | Vitamin A: 586IU | Sugar: 6g | Fiber: 6g | Potassium: 959mg | Cholesterol: 65mg | Calories: 455kcal | Saturated Fat: 7g | Fat: 23g | Protein: 25g | Carbohydrates: 39g | Iron: 4mg
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