Vegan Picadillo Tostadas with Rice and Peas by Kate Ramos

Tostadas everyone will love? YES. A vegan picadillo recipe that's oh-so-delicious? YES to that too.

These Vegan Picadillo Tostadas with Rice and Peas from my friend Kate Ramos are truly delicious! It’s one of my favorite recipes from Kate’s new cookbook Plant Powered Mexican. The book is loaded with fast, delicious recipes that everyone will love. And most of them are gluten-free or super easy to convert. Plus, I’m sharing Kate’s “Magic Spice Mix” that makes virtually all Mexican food better – and it isn’t bad on popcorn either!

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about that Vegan Picadillo…

Picadillo is a traditional dish in many Latin American countries. It’s usually made with ground meat, tomatoes, raisins, olives, and other ingredients – many of which vary by region. In Mexico, potatoes, peppers and warm spices are often added to the meat and tomato mixture. Picadillo is often served with rice or as a filling for tacos or pastries.

Kate’s vegan picadillo is made with:

  • onion
  • carrots
  • fresh garlic
  • Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 pound plant-based beef
  • her Magic Spice Mix
  • Gluten-free beer or vegetable broth
  • frozen peas
  • fresh parsley

It already sounds amazing, right? I think you could add a handful of golden raisins too, depending on the flavors in the plant based meat you choose.

you’ll want to make a batch of Kate’s “Magic Spice Mix” too

The magic spice mix for Mexican food is utterly fabulous, and it truly does make everything just a little bit better. I’ve been using it in stews & pot roast too!

Kate’s Magic Spice Mix is made of:

  • guajillo chile powder
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • smoked paprika
  • garlic powder
  • ground coriander
  • dried epazote or oregano

OK, let’s get cooking! Here’s the recipe for Vegan Picadillo Tostadas from Kate’s cookbook Plant Powered Mexican – which I think you should order immediately. My friend Aida shared Kate’s Roasted Carrot Barbacoa with Charred Jalapeno Yogurt Sauce from the book too, try that one next!

I also love Kate’s One-Pot Chile Relleno Cheesy Rice Casserole and her Instant Pot Tortilla Soup! They’re all in Plant Powered Mexican, so snag a copy. Like now.

Vegan Picadillo Tostadas with Rice and Peas recipe
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5 from 3 votes

Vegan Picadillo Tostadas with Rice and Peas

From Kate Ramos: Whenever we visit my mother-in-law, the kids always request two things: red rice and picadillo. She uses ground beef, as is traditional, but I wanted to see if I could make something similar using a plant-based meat substitute. The first time I made this for dinner, not a single soul could tell the difference. It’s that good.
You can find fried tostadas at your local grocery store, but I hardly ever buy them because toasting them in the oven is so much better for you and they have a fantastic crunch. If you’d prefer to use store-bought ones instead, though, go for it!
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: gluten-free main dishes, vegan
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 542kcal
Author: Kate Ramos


For the tostadas

  • 12 6-inch corn tortillas

For the picadillo

  • 2 tablespoons avocado or sunflower oil
  • 1 medium white onion chopped
  • 2 medium carrots chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3 small Yukon gold potatoes peeled and diced
  • 1 pound plant-based beef
  • 1 recipe Magic Spice Mix see below/recipe in Notes
  • 1 ¼ cups Gluten-free beer or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup frozen peas no need to thaw
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

For serving

  • 3 cups steamed rice
  • Lime wedges
  • 1 large avocado diced
  • 1-2 medium jalapeños thinly sliced
  • Green salsa


  • To make the tostadas: Heat the oven to 350°F. Once the oven is ready, lay the tortillas directly on the oven racks with plenty of room around them for air to circulate. (I put six on the top rack and six on the bottom in my oven.)
    Bake for about 15 minutes, turning the tortillas halfway through, until they are very crisp and crack if you break them. Look for a light brown color, no darker than the shade of a roasted peanut. Remove the tortillas to a serving platter.
  • To make the picadillo: Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, and potatoes. Cook until the garlic and onions start to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the plant-based beef and spice mix, breaking up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon. Continue cooking until the beef is browned, about 3 minutes. Add the beer or broth, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer the picadillo for about 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Stir in the peas and parsley, and cook for about 1 minute.
  • To Serve: Spread ¼ cup of rice on a tostada, and top with ¼ cup picadillo. Pass the garnishes at the table.


Magic Spice Mix:
Mix 1 tablespoon guajillo chile powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon ground coriander, ½ teaspoon dried epazote or oregano (preferably Mexican) together in a small bowl until evenly combined. Use immediately or keep in a container for up to 1 month.


Calories: 542kcal | Carbohydrates: 81g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 675mg | Potassium: 1043mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3894IU | Vitamin C: 37mg | Calcium: 187mg | Iron: 4mg

Photos and recipe courtesy of Kate Ramos of Hola Jalapeño from Plant Powered Mexican

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