In this recipe, we’ll be stuffing our gorditas with beans and Queso Fresco and pairing them with Chile de Árbol y Tomatillo. It’s the perfect dish to make as a group, since there are several moving parts happening at once. Reprinted with permission from La Vida Verde by Jocelyn Ramirez, Page Street Publishing Co. 2020. Photo credit: Zohra Banon

Gorditas de Frijoles con Queso (Bean and Cheese Gorditas) [Vegan]

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Serves

4-6

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Ingredients

For the Beans:

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) cooking oil
  • 3 cups (513 g) cooked pinto beans, strained
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup (240 ml) vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Gorditas:

  • 3 cups (345 g) prepared masa harina (for tortillas)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) water or cooking oil, if needed
  • 1 cup (135 g) vegan Queso Fresco
  • 1 cup (240 ml) Chile de Árbol y Tomatillo
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Preparation

For the Beans:

  1. To make the beans, preheat a medium pot over medium heat, and coat the bottom of the pot with the oil. Add the cooked pinto beans, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, bay leaf, vegetable broth, salt and pepper. Allow the beans to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and use a bean smasher or handheld emulsifier to smash the beans into a rough and slightly runny paste. Taste for seasoning.

For the Gorditas:

  1. To make the gorditas, add the masa harina to a medium bowl. If the masa is too dry and cracks easily, you can add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of water or oil to massage and knead it. The masa should be moist, but should not stick to your hands. It should be a similar consistency to Play-Doh.
  2. Preheat a comal or griddle over medium heat. Divide the masa into 1/4-cup (31-g) balls. You should have 12 balls. Use your hands to press each masa ball into a thick 4-inch (10-cm) round disk, using your fingers to gently press any cracked edges. These will be thicker than tortillas and will take slightly longer to cook.
  3. Place each gordita on the comal to cook for about 30 to 45 seconds on the first side. When the first side sears, and the edges start to slightly dry, flip each gordita over to the second side to create a seal and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Flip the gordita again and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes to see if it puffs up with steam.
  5. Once they are cool enough to handle, use a small knife to pierce the side edge of the gordita, creating a pocket.
  6. Use the knife to make the pocket as large as possible, being careful not to pierce through the top or bottom layer of the gordita. Add a layer of beans to the inside pocket of the gordita.
  7. Add a thick slice of vegan Queso Fresco over the beans and top it with the salsa.
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