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Torta Ahogada Recipe (Vegan Mexico Cookbook)

This torta ahogada recipe or Mexican “drowned” sandwich is a crusty bread torta filled with refried beans and avocado slices, and drowned in a spicy chile de árbol salsa. It is a classic dish from Guadalajara, and it is not for the faint of heart or stomach! The recipe is from Jason Wyrick’s new book Vegan Mexico.  Jason is the chef and author behind Vegan Tacos and the blog The Vegan Taste.

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I am a huge fan of Jason and his recipes, so I was very excited when I received a copy of Vegan Mexico. It has taken me this long to write about it (the book was released in December), because I have been immersed in it since the day I got it! The book has over 100 recipes, all Mexican, and every one of them vegan. The recipes range from very easy to some more time consuming and complicated. My favorite part of the book is the stories and research behind the recipes. Each recipe giving you a little tid-bit of information on Mexican culture and tradition. It is exciting to see so many of my favorite recipes, and even some that I had not even thought of made vegan.

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The only thing I would change in the book, would be to add more pictures. There are a good number of pictures, but I think some of the recipes could benefit from step-by-step pictures. Some of my favorite recipes so far is of course this Torta Ahogada, the Tomato Black Bean Soup, and the Sweet Potato and Black Bean Mole Enchiladas.  Jason’s book is available on Amazon in paperback ($12.12)  and kindle format ($7.99).

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The Recipe: Torta Ahogada Recipe

This is like Jason Wyrick clearly states in his book, one of the spiciest meals you will ever eat. Legend says the sandwich was invented when a street vendor accidentally dropped a torta in a container of spicy salsa, this drowning it. If you would still like to try this, but aren’t a fan of heat, check the recipe notes for a non-spicy or less spicy version. Traditionally a crusty salted bread called birrote is used, but you can use french baguette or bolillo instead. Enjoy!

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This Torta ahogada recipe is a crusty bread torta filled with refried beans and avocado, and drowned in a spicy chile de arbol salsa.
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Torta Ahogada

This Torta ahogada recipe is a crusty bread torta filled with refried beans and avocado, and drowned in a spicy chile de arbol salsa. Recipe from Vegan Mexico Cookbook.

Main Course
Mexican
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 tortas
Author Jason Wyrick

Ingredients

Tortas:

  • 2 Bolillo rolls or 6-inch long baguettes, split in half about 3/4 of the way
  • 1 cup Refried beans, using black beans, or store-bought refried black beans
  • 1 Ripe Hass avocado, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

Sauce: (WARNING: See note)

  • 30 Chiles de árbol, stemmed, seeded, and rehydrated
  • 3 Cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 cup White vinegar (white balsamic works best)
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 tsp. Dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. Salt

Garnishes:

  • 2 Radishes, thinly sliced
  • 8 to 12 White pickled onions, separated into rings, or raw white onion rings (see note)
  • Lime wedges

Preparation

Tortas

  1. Lightly toast the rolls or baguettes. Warm the beans and spread them evenly in each roll. Add the avocado slices. Place the sandwiches in bowls. 

Sauce:

  1. In a blender or food processor, puree the rehydrated chiles de árbol, garlic, vinegar, water Mexican oregano, cumin, pepper, cloves, and salt. (Strain if you want a very smooth sauce.) Pour the sauce over the sandwiches. Garnish the sandwiches with the sliced radishes and pickled onions and serve with lime wedges. Eat these tortas with a fork and lots of napkins.

Chef's Notes

WARNING: This sandwich is hot, really hot! For a less spicy version omit the water and add 1 to 3 cups of crushed fire-roasted tomates to the salsa and omit or decrease the chiles de árbol to your taste. 

Another option is to make two sauces, a non-spicy tomato sauce and the chile de árbol sauce. This way you can drown your torta in the non-spicy tomato sauce and drizzle some of the árbol sauce on top.

You can find a recipe for pickled onions here and one for refried beans here. 

 

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Spicy Bean Avocado Toast (Molletes)

This recipe for spicy bean avocado toast (molletes) was one of my favorite dishes as a child, of course not the vegan version I’m sharing with you now, but the ones slathered in cheese. Oh cheese, melty, fatty, wonderful cheese! Sometimes I really miss cheese, but the avocado in this recipe makes up for it. I have a love hate relationship with vegan cheese, mostly hate, that’s why I don’t use it very often. Last week I tried making an almond cheese and the result was unfortunate. It looked like cheese, smelled like cheese, but it definitely was not cheese. I think I’ll just stick to nut sauces from now on.

Summer is creeping along, and we’ve exhausted our list of things to do. Bluffton is a small town and Hilton Head is a tourist trap right now. I briefly considered going home to Mexico for the rest of the summer, but the plane tickets are crazy expensive.

One if the things I’m really enjoying right now is cooking with the munchkin. He helps out with peeling vegetables, grating cheese, mixing, tossing and stirring. We are focusing on reading recipes, following directions, and cleaning. So far our favorite recipes are chocolate cupcakes,       carrot cake pancakes, and alphabet soup. It’s easier to involve him in baking, and it keeps him away from the stove. I really like that he’s proud of our creations. The other day we had our neighbor over to play and he said, ” Do you want to try my famous alphabet soup?” Things can get a bit messy, but what’s life without a little mess to it.

Spicy Bean Avocado Toast (molletes) is perfect for breakfast with toast slathered in refried beans, avocado slices, and salsa molcajeteada.

The Recipe: Spicy Bean Avocado Toast (Molletes)

You only need a couple of ingredients for this quick breakfast or lunch. They secret is really good bread! Slather the bread with beans, avocado, and top with salsa molcajeteada. You could also add slices of tomatoes or radishes. Enjoy!

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Spicy Bean Avocado Toast (Molletes)

Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Dora Stone

Ingredients

  • 3 Bolillos, whole wheat
  • 1 ½ cups Refried beans
  • 2 Avocado, pitted, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups Salsa, homemade

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Cut bolillos in half and place them on a sheet tray.
  3. Toast in oven, face up, for 3 to 4 min or until golden brown on top.,
  4. Remove from oven and spread warm beans on each half.
  5. Top with avocado and homemade salsa.
  6. Serve immediately.

Chef's Notes

Bolillos are easily found now in the bread department of local grocery stores, if you cannot find them whole wheat French bread will work as well.