TOSTADO STACK, vegetarian


As served in the July Dinner Show 2013.
Bob tells the story of when he consulted to a hotel in Texas located in a remote high plain town near the Mexican border years ago. He was brought in to upgrade the menu with a few more vegetarian items since he learned a large portion of the population in the town eats vegetarian. Since he had been eating a vegan diet for several months by then, his good buddy and general manager for this hotel called him in. The hotel kitchen was well supplied with fantastic Mexican cooks. He wasn’t sure at first how far he could go with new ideas until he had them show him a few things. First, up he asked the cooks to teach him their tamale recipe. They did and as he suspected, it was full of meat and lard. While he started to make vegetarian substitutions, he also adjusted his pronunciation of the word, tamale, by dropping the “e” sound, since that is the way the ladies in the kitchen pronounced it. Soon he felt he was accepted as part of the kitchen, and he developed the tamale recipe made with butter instead of lard, and roasted or grilled vegetables instead of pork. The kitchen help really liked it; as long as the original was still on the menu, too.

Next he learned that they wanted to keep nachos on the menu, even though the GM thought it too pedestrian for an upscale hotel. So Bob developed an all vegetable tostado stack. He layered several thick crispy fried tortilla with a variety of items found on nacho plates–beans, corn, greens, etc. And of course he added a layer of vegetable tamale.

As the legend, goes (because by now the story has been told several times and each time it gets just a little more legendary), on the night the tostado stack was introduced on the menu, one of the customers complained to the waiter that it was sad that the nachos platter had been taken off the menu. The waiter suggested the Tostado Stack, and told Bob of the customers complaint. So Chef Bob grabbed a steak knife and went into the dining room as the very impressive and handsome looking, five layer stack was delivered to the customer. He totally sympathized with her and said “let me show you how this dish becomes even better than the nacho platter you enjoyed.”  With that he picked up the steak knife and stabbed it carefully down the center of the many layers of tostado, and simply rocking the knife back and forth, cut the entire stack into quarters that dropped onto the plate and scattered into a messy mass of itself, reminiscent of the old nacho plate.

That was the beginning of a long and popular run of the Tostado Stack at the little hotel in that sleepy town in Texas along the Mexican border.


  • 12 corn thick tortilla, purchased, fried

  • 1 recipe of Ranch beans
  • 1 recipe of grilled vegetable tamale
  • 1 recipe of avocado cream
  • 1 recipe of Arbo enchilada sauce, or purchased product
  • 2 cups grated cotijia cheese
  • For salad:
  • 4 cups greens--assorted blend of baby greens or just one like spinach or arugula, washed, dried and chilled
  • 1 small or 1/2 large red onion, small dice
  • Small bunch (1 cup) of cilantro leaves only, torn into salad greens
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons tequila
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon agave (or natural sweetener)
  • 3-4 ounces grape seed oil or other neutral oil
  • Salt, pepper, coriander for seasoning to taste
  • Garnishment: (optional)
  • 1/2 cup toasted pepitos
  • 1 cup crispy fried shredded tortilla


To make avocado cream:
Mash ripe avocados and blend with small amount of heavy cream to block oxidation. Use about 1 tablespoon of heavy cream per avocado.

To make salad & dressing:|
Blend greens and the onion. Blend dressing ingredients: lime juice, tequila, oil and agave. Toss with greens and onion. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and coriander.

To fry tortilla:  Heat small amount of high smoke point oil in a 10-12 inch skillet. Place 1-3 tortillas into fat and slowly brown each side. Remove to cooling rack to cool and dry. Place in air tight container when cool until needed.

To assemble: Place a small amount of avocado onto center of a plate. Top with a crispy fried tortilla. (Avocado keeps tostado from sliding on plate)
On the first layer place the cooked hot tamale mixture. Top tamale with spoon of hot beans. Top with next tortilla. On second tostado, place the prepared green salad with the tequila lime dressing. Top salad that with nice dollop of the avocado cream. Garnish with pepit0s and the shredded fried tortilla for more crunch if using.

Chef’s Note: You may want one more layer of tortilla between the tamale and the beans. Be sure to coat each with a little cheese before going to next layer.


printable page