Tortilla Roundup

The title of this week’s blog—Tortilla Roundup—sounds vaguely western, like “Gunfight at the OK Corral.” (If I have piqued your interest, this famous 30-second gunfight in American history took place in Tombstone, Arizona, in 1881, where outlaw cowboys were pitted against the lawmen. See Wikipedia for further details.)

Getting my celiac daughter ready to shop and cook for herself at college next fall sometimes seems like a battle. What I don’t want her to do is to purchase microwavable readymade gluten-free entrees, never mind the high-sugar, high-calorie gluten-free snacks and sweets so readily available. First, it’s hugely expensive; second, it is not a healthful way to eat.

What I do want her to do is to continue to cook for herself—she’s amazingly capable—and to build up a small, dependable recipe file which can live on her computer desktop in its own folder.

Last week’s recipe for Asparagus Omelet is one of those recipes. I purchased a microwave omelet maker for her and we can hardly wait to try it. (I bought a Lékué at Sur La Table, but there are other models such as the BPA-free Sunflower microwave omelet maker. They run around $15.)

This week’s Tortilla Roundup offers two quick, low-prep recipes and many ideas of what to do with inexpensive, readily available, gluten-free, nutritionally sound corn tortillas.


Ideas first:

  • The simplest possible recipe for corn tortillas is quesadillas. Simply spread one-half of a corn tortilla, more toward the center than the edges, with grated cheese of choice (1/4 to ½ cup at most), fold over the top, seal and microwave until the cheese is completely melted. Cheese can be Cheddar, Swiss, Jalapeno Jack, Monterey Jack, mozzarella, American, or any nondairy substitute that melts well. Add any of the following before folding: a tablespoon of salsa, a few paper-thin slices of cucumber, a thin tomato slice, a few matchstick cuts of red pepper, a couple tablespoons of shredded cabbage.
  • Pizzas are easy to make using a corn tortilla as the base. Spread a little prepared tomato sauce on the open tortilla and top with shredded mozzarella. Microwave until the cheese melts. You can use other cheeses and add a couple thin slices of pepperoni, or cooked, chopped veggies.
  • Tortilla salads, one of today’s recipes, basically consist of an open-face tortilla spread with salsa of choice (there are dozens of gluten-free salsas on the market), topped with pre-shredded iceberg lettuce and your choice of protein—drained, canned tuna, small cooked shrimp, diced cooked ham or chicken, white, garbanzo, red or black beans—and topped with shredded cheese of choice. If the salad is loaded correctly (don’t overdo the volume of ingredients), it can be folded over and eaten out of hand. Of course, a knife and fork is good as well.


  • Hot Tortilla Sandwich, another of today’s recipes, consists of two tortillas, a bottom one with salsa and fillings and a top one with just a little salsa or cheese. Any of the salad fillings work well, but don’t ignore some unorthodox fillings (all gluten free of course), such as canned chili, refried beans, smashed cooked meatballs, sliced ham or turkey or chicken. It’s all good.


Tortilla Salad

Yield: one serving


  • 1 (12-count) package gluten-free corn tortillas
  • 1 (16- or 24-ounce) jar tomato salsa
  • 1 (8-ounce) bag shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, well drained but not rinsed
  • 1 (8-ounce) bag shredded Cheddar cheese


  1. On a salad plate, spread one tortilla with enough salsa to cover thinly and stretch almost to edges.
  2. Sprinkle on lettuce lightly, about ¼ to ½ cup.
  3. Sprinkle on black beans, about 1/3 cup, distributing evenly.
  4. Sprinkle top with cheese to taste.
  5. Fold over carefully in half to eat out of hand.

Hot Tortilla Sandwich

1 (12-count) package gluten-free corn tortillas

1 (16- or 24-ounce) jar tomato salsa

1 (8-ounce) bag shredded iceberg lettuce

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, well drained but not rinsed


1 (6-ounce) can light tuna in oil, well drained, and flaked

1 (8-ounce) bag shredded Cheddar cheese


On a microwave-safe plate, spread one tortilla with enough salsa to cover thinly and stretch almost to edges.

Sprinkle on lettuce lightly, about ¼ to ½ cup.

Sprinkle on black beans or tuna, about 1/3 cup, distributing evenly.

Sprinkle top with cheese to taste.

Top with a second tortilla.

Top with a couple tablespoons of salsa and additional cheese, if desired. Microwave until cheese is melted throughout, time varies with strength of microwave.

Serve with knife and fork.


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