When my mom retired from teaching a few years ago, I thought she would slow down a little, but I think she is busier now than when she was working. One of the many things that keeps her busy is co-leading an after-school garden program for elementary school students. During the program the kids get to dig around in the dirt, plant seeds and tend to the plants as they grow. Best of all, the students learn where food comes from (no, it doesn’t just magically appear in the grocery store!) and they are really excited to try all of the fruits and vegetables that they’ve grown.
When the program comes to an end, the students also share what they’ve grown with their parents at the biannual Garden Party. For the party, they prepare a large spread of salads and other fruit and vegetable-rich recipes. Last year I had the opportunity to attend their party and was really impressed to see that one of the dishes they prepared was homemade zucchini and corn sopes (pronounced “SOH-pehs”).
After tasting these delicious little treats, I made sure to grab one of the recipe booklets that they were handing out at the party. The recipe looked a little involved, so I put off making them for several months, but I finally decided that if elementary schools students could make them, so could I.
Kale and Roasted Corn Sopes
Adapted from the Garden Party Recipe Booklet (originally from Vegetarian Times)
Sopes are sort of similar to tostadas, but instead of having a fried tortilla base, they have a thick tartlette-like cake that is made with masa harina (finely ground corn flour). They can be topped with a variety of different vegetables, beans, salsa and cheese. Next time I might make them with roasted butternut squash or cauliflower. Sopes can be served individually for an appetizer or in a trio for an entrée.
- 3 cups masa harina*
- ¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2½ cups hot water
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together masa harina, parmesan cheese, baking powder, and salt. Slowly stir in the hot water unit the mixture comes together as a soft and fluffy dough. Let the dough stand for 5 minutes and then stir in the egg and oil until fully incorporated.
Roll about ¼ cup of the dough into a ball. Place the ball onto the baking sheet and flatten into a 2-3 inch disc. Carefully bring up the edges of the disc, to form an indentation in the center that will hold the toppings. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake the sopes for 10-15 minutes or until the sopes begin to look dry. Top with refried black beans and the kale and roasted corn filling (see below). Garnish with cotija cheese and avocado.
Kale and Roasted Corn Filling
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 cup frozen roasted corn**
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, center ribs removed and chopped
- juice from ½ a lime
- crumbled cotija or feta cheese
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion turns translucent. Add corn and cook for another few minutes. Add the kale and cook until it reduces in size and is tender. Stir in limejuice and remove from heat. Spoon vegetables on top of the sopes and refried black beans. Garnish with cheese and avocado.
*Masa harina can be found in the ethnic food section of many grocery stores.
**I found frozen roasted corn at Trader Joes. You could also use regular fresh or frozen corn.
Tasty Easy Healthy Green Recipe Ratings:
|Recipe Report Card||Notes About Recipe Ratings|
Four Chefs (Delicious!)
|A tasty and versatile dish. The sopes could be topped with a wide variety of vegetable combinations.|
Three Easy Chairs (Average Difficulty)
|It does take a little while to assemble and bake the sopes, but if elementary school students were able to do it, you can too! If you are really in a pinch for time, you could use thick store-bought corn tortillas instead of making the sopes.|
Four Apples (Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise)
|The masa harina is made from whole grain corn flour and the sopes are topped with healthy black beans and veggies. Make sure to go easy on the cheese topping though.|
Three Leaves (Average Environmental Friendliness)
|Some but not all organic ingredients. Only the kale was local.|