Grilled Avocado Tostada with Black Beans and Charred Scallion Salsa

Grilled Avocado and Charred Scallion Tostada //

*This post was created in partnership with Mission Tortilla and their new Gluten Free Flour Tortillas. The words and recipe, as always, are mine. Our love of tortillas is completely and positively genuine. Perhaps even irrational at times.


Before I married Gabe I never thought of tortillas as an everyday staple but he comes from the home of the garbage burrito so I quickly learned that a house without tortillas is a house ill-prepared.

Garbage burritos were and quite frankly could still be Gabe’s dad’s answer to “Mom’s gone, what’s for dinner?” Anything goes in a garbage burrito where yesterday’s leftovers are rolled into a tortilla to become an entirely new dining experience. Roast beef, mashed potatoes and salad? A perfect candidate for a garbage burrito. Just don’t forget the gravy.

In our own home the kids know that when I’m gone there will be many tortillas consumed. Gabe has left the garbage burrito tradition as a memory of his childhood he’d perhaps just as soon forget and moved on to make his own “famous” quesadillas. The kids go crazy for them and recount to me in great budding food writer-esque descriptions of dad’s genius perfectly displayed in his quesadillas. First, you must start with the lard I rendered after a weekend pig butchery workshop. Then you add in cheese; cheddar for its meltability and a bit of Parmesan for a deep, nutty flavor. I believe also that it’s important to get a bit of cheese on the outside so that the tortilla itself has remnants of baked on cheese. Sliced up ham melts between the layers before the quesadilla is cut into perfect triangles.

Grilled Avocado and Charred Scallion Tostada // Grilled Avocado and Charred Scallion Tostada //

Before Gabe’s grandmother passed I asked her to teach me how to make tortillas. Every day she would make them for her large family of five hungry children. She’d roll them thin and cook them in a pan with lard until they bubbled and expanded; light crisp on the outside and soft and feathery inside. I watched her roll them in a way that only hands that had made thousands in a lifetime could do. The tradition runs deep in this family.

I’ve come to love and appreciate the use of tortillas having now had them in our house for nearly 13 years. Sometimes I’ll make my own, most often I don’t but they are always there. I know that if I put it on a tortilla I get him every time.

Grilled Avocado and Charred Scallion Tostada // Grilled Avocado and Charred Scallion Tostada //

This time around I crisp our tortillas in a pan with a bit of oil until charred in parts, deeply smoked and crisp with still a bit of chew. With the grill pan hot nearby I grill avocados to soften as their flesh remains too tight to be delicious but I am far too impatient to wait for them. Scallions grill nearby until deeply marked and soft. On the table I set out nearly a dozen small plates for people to top their own tostada as they see fit, although I have to remind the smallest member of our family not to forget to include a few vegetables. She falls hard for grilled avocado.

Before the night is over you’ll be devising all sorts of other plans for the charred scallion salsa. As I type this I’m thinking about my own “famous” quesadilla with a bit of gruyere and scallion salsa for good measure. As long as there are tortillas at the ready we’re set.

Grilled Avocado and Charred Scallion Tostada //

*This post is sponsored by Mission. We’re partial to the flour soft taco variety but if that’s not an option for you they’ve just created Gluten Free Flour tortillas. Find out where and when they are available around you! Also, head on over to Gluten Free Girl to check out her amazing recipe for a Gluten Free Salmon and Black Bean Taco Salad.

Grilled Avocado and Black Bean Tostada with Charred Scallion Salsa

Serves 4


1 bunch scallions, cleaned but roots left on

1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro

Zest and juice from half a lime

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds

1/2 jalapeño, seeded and diced



3 tablespoons vegetable oil, lard, or other flavorless oil

4 Mission flour tortillas (substitute their new Gluten-Free flour tortillas if necessary)

2 avocados, halved and pit removed

1 can black beans

2 cups shredded purple cabbage




Pickled Jalapeños


Hot sauce – if you’re like Gabe


Over a hot grill pan, or if weather permits, an actual grill, grill the scallions, roots and all, until the greens of their stalks brighten and deep char marks appear, about 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Once cool enough to handle roughly chop the scallions. The roots add a lovely flavor and a nice frizzled crunch to the salsa.

In a bowl combine the scallions, cilantro, zest and juice from half a lime, olive oil, cumin, and jalapeño. Start with a hefty pinch of salt then taste and adjust from there. It should taste bright and briny which is a lovely match with the creamy avocado..


Grill the avocados until deeply charred, about 5 minutes on a hot grill.

Turn off the grill and let the avocados linger there for a few minutes while you crisp the tortillas. Salt the flesh side of the avocados while they rest.

In a large skillet add half of the oil and crisp the tortillas until puffed and deeply golden even nearly blackened in parts. Add more oil as the pan gets dry. Set the tortillas on a plate until ready to serve. If you’d prefer you could skip the crisping and serve these as tacos instead. If that’s the case, simply warm the tortillas in the oven wrapped in a clean dish towel or aluminum foil to prevent them from drying out.

Drain and rinse the black beans and season with a bit of salt, lime, and olive oil.

Chop the cilantro, crumbled the cotija and slice a lime or two into wedges.

Assemble the tostadas by layering the black beans, cabbage, some sliced pieces of grilled avocado, cotija, pickled jalapeño, lime and the salsa on a plate. Serve with thinly sliced radish.

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Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream Sandwiches

Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream Bar //

Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream Bar //

*This post was created in partnership with Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker because I find chocolate and summer to be a natural pair. I’m partial to Scharffen Berger’s bittersweet varieties (although Ivy argues that milk chocolate is best) as they’re softly sweet, with a nice acidity and deep cocoa flavor, which works perfectly in these ice cream bars.

Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream Bar //

The air smells of the last of the lilacs and a briny sea scent that the gentle, nearly warm breeze carries in from the Sound below. The sun lights the streets until nearly 10 pm and we lose track of the time we once dictated by the tint of the sky outside. There’s baseball practice that hurries us through dinner and games on Saturdays where the boys litter the grass with salt-licked sunflower seed shells. It’s June. The time of year where summer teases us with the occasional scent of the neighbors firing up the bbq, the kids wandering out of their houses to play in the street after dinner, and the distant chimes of the ice cream truck. We’re counting down the last days of school.

We all overslept this morning. Again. I popped up out of bed, looked at my phone then ran around the house trying to induce the sense of urgency needed to get everyone off to school on time. They didn’t quite get it. And I’ll admit neither did I. It’s hard to encourage the kids to persevere through these last couple of weeks of school, to continue to try their best and push hard when all I want to do is stay in bed with the warmth of the sun on my face then linger outside in the evening until dark, light up the fire to roast marshmallows and eat off paper plates outside.

Their school clothes have holes in the knees and are fraying at the sleeves but I refuse to refresh them at this point. Their lunches are far less thought out than they were in September and I’m trusting them to be getting all their homework done because I feel the shift. The summer shift. I’m trying to set a good example and be their buoy and cheerleader as they try to finish strong. But I’m also pushing back bedtime and dreaming with them about our summer travels to Europe, camping trips and lazy sun-lit mornings and definitely not thinking about third grade math.

Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream Bar //

Summer, we’re ready for you. Signs of our summer eagerness show up in the kitchen where I toast a pan full of marshmallows under the broiler. Soft interiors and crisp and caramelized outsides that I fold into vanilla bean flecked ice cream. Layered between two soft homemade graham crackers and then dipped in bittersweet chocolate. I would have stopped there but Ivy suggested a few flakes of salt to finish them off. I’m not sure I’ve ever been more proud.

These ice cream bars are a sweet taste of summer, and as if we needed it, are getting us even more excited for warm evenings sitting by a dancing fire, tasting the sweetness of the chocolate with sticky marshmallow fingers. Only 14 more sleeps – but who’s counting?

Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream Bar //

*This post is sponsored by Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker. As always, the words, photos and recipes are mine.

Scharffen Berger crafts the richest, most flavorful chocolate by sourcing the best cacao in the world, blending it in small batches, and gently processing it to maintain the subtle flavors in the beans.

Be sure to check out their website where you can find a wide variety of baking chocolate as well as bars that need nothing more than a little unwrapping.

Thanks so much for supporting that brands that help keep Not Without Salt running.

Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream Sandwiches with Scharffen Berger 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate

Makes 1 1/2 dozen bars

I’ve gone ahead and included a recipe for homemade graham crackers, one that I’ve adapted from King Arthur Flour. It’s a lovely soft cinnamon scented cracker that works beautifully here but you know you more than welcome to use store bought graham crackers here too. I assure you, no one would complain.


1 cup Graham Flour or Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons whole milk

1 10 ounce bag of mini marshmallow

1 1/2 quarts vanilla ice cream

9.7 ounces (1 bar) Scharffen Berger 70% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped

1 tablespoon flavorless oil (you can use grapeseed, rice bran, coconut, canola, etc.)

For the graham crackers:

In a large bowl combine the graham flour, all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder.

In another bowl whisk together the egg, butter, honey and milk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a spatula until just combined.

Shape the dough in a rough rectangle then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thick using a bit of flour if it starts to get a bit sticky.

Cut the cookies into the desired shape (I like the size of a quarter of an actual graham cracker – it’s about 1-inch by 2 1/2-inches)  and prick each cookie with a fork to prevent them from puffing up too much.

Set them onto the sheet pans and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Bake until puffed and golden around the edges, about 15 minutes. For the purpose of using these crackers in an ice cream sandwich I like to keep them a bit softer so I take them out perhaps a bit sooner than you would for a more traditional graham cracker.

Let the cookies cool on the trays.

Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Assemble the ice cream bars:

Line the bottom and sides 9×13 baking dish with two alternating pieces of parchment paper so that there’s a bit of overhang on each side.

Soften the vanilla ice cream by letting it sit out of the freezer for 20 minutes or so.

Set your oven to broil and scatter the marshmallows in a shallow roasting dish. Broil until the caps are copper colored and you can smell caramelized sugar.

Fold the toasted marshmallows into the softened ice cream then add that to the prepared 9×13 dish. Smooth it out to create an even layer of what is now toasted marshmallow ice cream. Freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

Once completely firm remove the ice cream from the pan and cut it out to match the shape of the graham crackers. Sandwich a layer of ice cream between the graham crackers then place those on a sheet tray and return to the freezer until firm. If the ice cream melts too quickly in the process simply return it to the freezer for at least 20 minutes then continue.

Melt the chocolate with the oil in a microwave or over a double broiler. If using a microwave heat in 20 second intervals and stir really well between each heat so as not to scorch the chocolate.

Dip the ice cream bars halfway into the chocolate then return to the sheet pan and top with a few pieces of flake salt. Freeze again until firm and then you’re ready to enjoy.

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