Step aside Taco Bell chalupas, these vegetarian chalupas are so delicious and easy to make! Crunchy corn tortillas with a flavorful bean filling, finished with all of your favorite taco toppings make the perfect weeknight dinner.
I was at my parent’s house over the summer and I pulled out my mom’s recipe binder and leafed through it and re-lived great portions of my life. Recipes are like scrapbooks sometimes. I would remember the dish and then remember something about the day that I ate it or a conversation that we had over that meal.
I stumbled across this chalupas recipe that was cut out of The Press of Atlantic City. It was wrinkled and yellowing and had splatters all over it. Those are the best recipes in my opinion. I remember sitting at the bar in my parent’s house and loving this meal every time my mother made it. But I’d forgotten all about it! So when I found it in my mom’s binder, I felt like I found a long-lost friend.
The ingredients for these bean chalupas are the same as the taco bell bean chalupas. Needless to say, these homemade chalupas taste a whole lot better 🙂
What are Chalupas? //
Chalupas are a Mexican dish that became very popular in the US thanks to various fast food chains. Chalupa literally translates to ‘little boat’ which makes sense when you see that chalupas are made by pressing a masa tortilla onto a domed mold to create a boat-like shape.
What is a Chalupa Made of? //
Authentic chalupas are made of masa tortillas (a type of maize tortilla) which are deep fried, then filled with toppings that vary based on the region. Salsa, cheese, and lettuce are common toppings, but refried beans, shredded chicken, pork and chorizo might also be used.
What’s the Difference Between Chalupas, Tacos and Tostadas? //
It’s all about the base! As mentioned above, chalupas are made of masa tortillas, which are then deep fried in a boat-like shape. Meanwhile, tacos are traditionally made with soft corn tortillas which are folded to hold various fillings. Finally tostadas fall somewhere in between, they are also made of corn tortillas and are fried or baked until they’re crisp. Unlike chalupas, tostadas are usually flat, but the toppings may be similar!
Ingredients for Making Chalupas //
The foundation of your vegetarian chalupas is the tortilla and the beans. The beans are really the standout element in the dish- the browned onions and ricotta blended into the beans with all those spices really takes this homemade meal to the next level. Here’s what you need–
- 12 corn tortillas
- 1 can of pinto beans, drained
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 Tablespoon taco seasoning
- 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup Picante sauce
- 1 clove garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
Best Chalupas Toppings //
One of the reasons why this is such a great family meal is because everyone can choose the toppings they like! I like a salsa verde, while the kids load theirs with cheese and tomatoes. Here are some ideas for toppings to garnish your bean chalupas.
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 3 cups shredded Romaine lettuce
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- 1 avocado sliced
- 1/2 cup salsa
How to Make Homemade Chalupas //
These bean chalupas are really simple to make. If you’re looking for more protein, you can always substitute your beans for shredded chicken or pork, or even just add them alongside your beans!
In a large nonstick saute pan, saute the onion over medium heat until lightly brown and soft. Put the cooked onion in the food processor with drained beans, garlic, taco seasoning, Picante sauce, and ricotta cheese. Pulse until it is a chunky puree.
Put the mixture back in the saute pan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat until hot and bubbling.
Spray the corn tortillas with cooking spray on both sides. Place them directly on the oven rack and bake for 10 minutes in a preheated 350-degree oven.
To serve, place the corn tortilla on a plate and top with the bean mixture and add your preferred toppings!
Top with some lettuce.
Other Chalupa Filling Ideas //
Bean chalupas are my favorite. I can’t resist them and I love how crispy and filling they are, while 100% vegetarian. However, if you are craving some protein, you can definitely try shredded chicken chalupas or spiced ground beef chalupas. I would just slightly reduce the quantity of bean mixture otherwise you might struggle to get all the toppings on your chalupa!
I was in all honesty surprised at what a hit this meal was at home. I thought for sure that there would be some serious complaining when I served the kids a plate of beans, but they all loved it and gobbled it up! I put the other toppings in these cute little cups so the kids could do it themselves. They do not seem to mind all of the lettuce when they get to cover it up as they wish.