When I found myself embarking on a whole30 challenge and home alone with a day off of work, I knew exactly what I needed to do.  Call up Text Simone at Zenbelly and plan a day in the kitchen together.  I met Simone last year while volunteering in a paleo pop-up kitchen of hers.  We bonded immediately over our love of food, tequila, snark, and inglorious food blogging.  While I was tempted to participate in kombucha-rita drinking I abstained and muscled through day 2 of my 30 challenge.

Simone held her second paleo pop-up dinner in San Francisco last week and served up a delicious ceviche with plantain chips.  Because she is an amazingly inaccurate planner (self-confessed) she found herself with a couple crates of half ripe plantains leftover and we knew we had to get creative.  They were too ripe to crisp and too unripe to make sweet maduros as we found out the hard way when submerging them in boiling coconut oil left us with limp soggy plantain blobs and a boiled over mess on the stove.  We changed gears as us amateurs pros often do and invented the plantain tostada!  Topped with this zesty cilantro lime chicken, homemade ranchero and guac, it made the perfect tequila-less day off meal.

We started by marinating chicken in a blend of cilantro, lime, lemon, and orange juice, garlic, and chili powder.  We let this marinate on the counter for 30-60 minutes while prepping everything else.


These were our tricky little plantains that didn’t want to be baked or fried or crunchy or soft.

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but they eventually succumbed to being pureed with salt and olive oil, and made into tostada patties.

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We really had no idea how these would turn out but we were blessed with beautiful tostadas that were crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.  The perfect base for our chicken.

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We started our ranchero sauce by sautéing red onion with garlic, browning it on the stove.

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This went into our already dirty blender with a roasted pepper, a can of roasted tomatoes and some chipotle powder and salt.

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We let this simmer a while while getting everything else prepared.

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Next we prepared Simone’s amazing guacamole.  I can’t do this perfect, non-browning guacamole recipe justice so you’ll have to check out the details here.

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Our chicken roasted on a sheet pan and when done got chopped and loaded onto the tostada with everything else.  The tostadas were pliable and could easily be made into shells or wraps.  Since this day, Simone has reported back that they can also be made thinner and bigger for a perfect paleo twist to huevos rancheros.  Enjoy!

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5.0 from 3 reviews

Cilantro Lime Chicken Tostadas Rancheros!
Cilantro Lime Marinated Chicken
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • juice of 1 orange
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of 3 limes
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • handful cilantro
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
Ranchero Sauce
  • 1 can (14 ounce-ish) fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 whole roasted pepper
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder (or cayenne if you don’t have chipotle)
  • coconut oil for sautéing
Plantain Tostadas
  • 2 yellow plantains
  • ¼ coconut oil, melted
  • salt

  1. Put everything but the chicken in a blender, puree, and pour the sauce over the chicken. It’s fine to let the chicken reach room temperature before baking. No need to wash the blender, you’re about to use it again. You’ll bake the chicken when you bake the tostadas, so let the marinade do it’s magic while you prepare the rest of the dish. (I don’t recommend an overnight marinate with this amount of citrus, you’ll wind up with chicken ceviche- not appealing. )
Ranchero Sauce
  1. Saute the onion and garlic in coconut oil over medium heat until golden and soft, about 10 minutes. Add to the blender with the rest of the ingredients. Puree. Transfer to a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. You can just let it simmer while the rest of the components are cooking, for about 30 minutes or so.
Plantain Tostadas
  1. Chop the plantains into 2 inch pieces and toss them in the food processor with the melted coconut oil and salt. Puree. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease with additional coconut oil. Divide the plantain mixture into 6 blobs on the baking sheet and flatten them out into pancakes as best you can. (Oiled hands help). Bake at 425 for 30 minutes or so, flipping half way.