Baleadas come from the northern coast of Honduras. Take a homemade wheat tortilla, cover it with refried red beans, mantequilla (sour cream), queso, cheese, and sometimes avocado. That’s the basic version.
I decided to make a full street food version and compare the two. First, we need a protein. Scrambled eggs are common, but I went with chorizo for some spice. Also, I made some fresh pickled onions.Jump to Recipe
For the home style baleadas, all you really need to make is the refried beans (and canned versions of that exist). So, I figured I would make things a little more fun by making my first tortillas (followed this recipe and it worked well). If you want to make things easy, just skip this section.
First, combine your dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. That’s 1 & 1/2 cups of flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. This way, the salt and baking powder will be more evenly distributed throughout the dough.
Next, the wet ingredients, 1/6 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup warm water. Don’t use hot water, it’ll cook the dough. Stir vigorously with your favorite spoon.
Now, work it with your hands. Knead it for a couple minutes. Add more water or flour as needed. The ball of dough should be workable, not too sticky, and not too dry. Once you are satisfied, cover your bowl with a moist towel and come back in 30 minutes. During this time, I recommend getting the rest of your baleadas ingredients ready.
Now, it’s time to finish your tortillas. Divide the ball of dough into 8 sections. These tortillas will be about 6 inches in diameter. For giant tortillas, divide into 4 sections. Flatten each section of dough into a disc in your hand.
Set most of these discs aside. Sprinkle your workspace and rolling pin with flour. Put a disc down and roll it as thin as you can. It should be about 6 inches in diameter. While doing this, heat up a skillet on medium heat.
Last, it’s time to cook your tortillas. Make sure the rest of the ingredients for your baleadas are ready before doing this. Tortillas cook in a minute and you want to serve them hot.
Add a tortilla to the skillet. After about 20 to 30 seconds, you’ll have bubbles on the top. This is your sign to flip. There should be some light browning on the other side. Cook it for about another 30 seconds before removing it and adding another tortilla. Repeat until they are all done. For more ideas of what do with homemade tortillas, try making mixtas, Guatemalan hot dogs.
Making Refried Beans For Baleadas
In Honduras, they use red beans for baleadas, but I bought black beans on accident. Not a problem though, the process is going to be the same. I’m starting with dry beans, so skip ahead if you’re using canned.
First, soak your beans overnight. This greatly reduces the cooking time. Drain the water and rinse the beans thoroughly the next day. Then, add beans and water to a pot. Simmer on medium low heat for an hour.
Add some salt while cooking the beans. Anything past that is up to you. I did a little cayenne pepper and apple cider vinegar. You can also fry up some garlic and onion as well. Once you are satisfied with your beans, take them off the heat and drain off MOST of the water. Some liquid is needed to keep the beans moist.
Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a skillet on medium heat. Add your beans and fry for a bit (and optionally your garlic and onion). Add some bean liquid too so it doesn’t dry out. Once they are done, you can use a blender to make a nice paste, or try to mash it by hand.
This was my first time making pickled onions too, and they turned out so good. Was crazy easy too. For a detailed breakdown, you can read more on pickled onions here.
Long story short, boil 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 & 1/2 tsp salt, and some red pepper flakes (I also added cloves). Then, pour the hot liquid into a safe container with your thinly sliced onions. After 30 minutes, they should be ready and you can cover and store them for later. I’ve been adding them to everything the past several days. They would go great in sandwiches, like my franceshina or makloub.
Other Baleadas Toppings
A crucial ingredient in baleadas is crema, basically a Honduran version of sour cream. It is a little runnier and possibly has a bit of sweetness to it. Sour cream will work if you can’t find it, but it’s a fun ingredient to play with.
The other must have is a hard white cheese called “queso duro”. It’s a traditional ingredient in the cuisines of both Honduras and El Salvador. This one is hard to find, so parmesan (the real kind) or queso fresco will be acceptable alternatives. Add some avocado cause you deserve it.
For more Latin American flavors check out these other recipes!
Homemade Tortillas (Optional)
- 1½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ⅙ cup olive oil
- ½ cup warm water
- 1 lb red beans (or black)
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tbsp butter
- cayenne pepper
- 6 cups water
Pickled Onions (Optional)
- 2 red onions thinly sliced
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 2 avocados
- 1 cup crema (or sour cream)
- 1 cup queso fresco (or queso duro)
- ½ lb chorizo (optional)
The Night Before
- If you are using dry beans instead of canned, make sure to put them in a pot with water and soak them overnight, at least 8 hours.
- Skip this step if using canned beans. Dump out the bean water, rinse and put beans in a pot with 6 cups of water, or however much the package specifies. Simmer on medium low heat for at least 1 hour, or according to package. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste once beans are tender. Allow the beans to simmer another 8 minutes to absorb the flavor.
- Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle, add water and olive oil. Stir thoroughly until well combined.
- Knead the dough for about 2 minutes with your hands. Add flour or water to get the right consistency as needed, shouldn't be too sticky or dry. Form the dough into a ball and cover the bowl with a moist towel. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. During this time you can make the pickled onions if you like.
- Add the vinegar, water, salt, sugar, and pepper flakes to a small pot and bring to a boil.
- Put sliced onions and garlic in a heat safe container and pour pickling liquid on top of them until they are completely covered. Leave uncovered and they will be ready to eat in 30 minutes.
- Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a skillet on medium heat. Saute garlic for 2 minutes, then add drained beans (save some of the boiling liquid to add later). Fry the beans for about 5 minutes.
- Either mash the beans with a spoon in the skillet, or but them in the blender. Both methods will require a little of the liquid from earlier to get the desired consistency of refried beans, otherwise they will be a little dry.
- Taste beans and adjust if desired.
- Divide the dough into 8 sections, flatten them into a disc in your hands.
- Heat up a skillet on medium heat.
- Flour workspace and a rolling pin. Roll each disc as flat as you can, about 6 inches in diameter.
- 1 at a time, cook the tortillas. About 30 seconds after adding the tortilla to the skillet, you will see some bubbles on the top of the tortilla. This is the sign to flip. Wait another 30 seconds and take off heat.
- Check doneness of tortilla and adjust time if needed. Continue process until all are made.
Assemble the Baleadas
- If using it, quickly fry your chorizo in a skillet on medium heat, about 5 minutes.
- Add a big scoop of refried beans to the middle of your tortillas, then crumbled cheese on top. Next, as much crema as you want. Then, a few slices of avocado. If desired, some pickled onions. Finish on top with chorizo or scrambled eggs for the full street food experience. Enjoy!