Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cheap Eats: Tortillas!

The Topic: Flat-Out Fab Food

The Dish: Besides biscuits, there's one other recipe I rely on regularly when I'm in need of cheap food and/or the illusion of a fancy (read: homemade) meal: motherflippin' tortillas. And by that, I mean my Mother taught me how to flip them—her recipe and tortilla expertise has guided me to where I am today.

Using dirt-cheap ingredients, similar to their quick-bread counterpart, these tortillas are easy peasy and turn taco night into a high-class affair. If you're not in the mood for a rice-and-beans burrito, that's okay—Mom has a ton of delicious suggestions for this flat-bread base, including cheesy garlic, sweet saffron, and even chocolate dessert variations. For now, I'll share two secret recipes with you: The Original, and Classic PB&J.

"The Original" Tortilla

What You Need:
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup water, plus 1 tablespoon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

What You Do:
1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and let stand for 20 minutes.
2. Form dough into a ball, then place onto lightly floured countertop. Divide into 1-inch balls. Flatten each ball into a round, and, with a rolling pin, roll out lightly on one side.
3. Over high heat, place cast-iron skillet. Cook tortillas in ungreased skillet for 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and cook other side until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Serve warm.

Classic PB&J

What You Need:
1 cup flour
Dash sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon agave syrup

What You Do:
Same as The Original! Except when these are finished, smother with your favorite jam, maybe some more peanut butter, and devour the best PB&J ever.

A few tips from Mom aka the Tortilla Queen:
  • When rolling out tortillas, only roll on one side—no flipping!
  • Don't be afraid to sprinkle the PB 'tillas with a little more flour when rolling. These will have a slightly different texture than The Original.
  • You'll probably just want to make a double batch, because these will be gone in no time.
The Final Word: Sure, you could just buy a pack of tortillas at the store, but that isn't fun, and it's more expensive (unless you're buying those mega-packs of corn tortillas for like 50 cents or something insane, but do those have peanut butter in them?). Don't be afraid to experiment with add-ins—these are really hard to screw up. And if you try out a really awesome (or awful, god forbid) let me know!


  1. These look great! So do the biscuits. Any recipes for those of us who don't have kitchens?! I realize I am probably one of the few who doesn't have an oven or stove top or kitchen sink, but I am always looking for cheap vegan recipes that I can actually make!

  2. That's a great idea. I'll definitely do a post about kitchen-less cuisine. In the meantime, borrow someone's stovetop and whip these up—you won't be sorry.

  3. I've wanted to make tortillas for a while. I watched lots of videos online and ended up shying away. But this recipe sounds easy. I think I'll give it a go!

    Anonymous: Any chance you could get a plug-in skillet? I had a place without a stove for a while, and that electric skillet saved me! Toaster Oven, electric skillet, and a rice cooker are all you really need to be able to cook! :) I wish I had blogged all of the great things I came up with then.

  4. K's onto something. A plug-in skillet (or griddle, etc.) works great if you don't have a stove set-up.

  5. Thank you for sharing this! Does it matter what type of flour is used... my boyfriend doesn't eat wheat so I was wondering if wheat free flour would work in this recipe?

    Either way, I will definitely be having a go at these when I get chance!

  6. Oh, yum. I would love to try making my own tortillas. Thanks for sharing the recipe:).

  7. Mmmm! Distressed produce shelves (like the one at Rainbow or Berkeley Bowl) are the best sources of cheap veggie fillings for tacos. :)

  8. Another yummy filling is hummous and a little salsa, quesadilla style.

  9. Thanks for another great post! Once you've made homemade tortillas, you'll never go back to the store-bought ones. What a difference!

  10. Thanks for the great tips - they sound so delicious. We also dry out our own pears and add them into our wraps - it adds some sweetness to our lunch wraps!

    It's a tasty addition and we know that the pears contain no sugars along with no artificial ingredients.

    If interested we list how we dry out the pears on our site. Hope you can enjoy too and thanks for the great recipes!

  11. could use a little salt...

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