Monday, March 8, 2010

Chemical-Free Cooking: "Clean" Tortillas

If you read my earlier post about my journey to eat "clean" food, you remember that I had a goal of at trying at least two new "clean" recipes per month to replace a current chemical-laden food. My first attempt was tortillas - and they were a big success!

My husband and I eat a lot of tortillas (I'm a mexiholic, remember?! :) in a variety of foods like fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, and quesadillas. I also like them sometimes to hold tuna or something else for lunch. Unfortunately, although it's easy to find tortillas at the store for cheap, check out the ingredient list on this popular brand:


I count 19 different ingredients, and 13 of them are items that I either can't pronounce, don't recognize, or aren't whole foods (even the flour is bleached).

I did a lot of researching on the internet for an alternative, and I happened upon an easy recipe for tortillas on I was eager to try her recipe because it had significantly less fat than many others that I found.

And this ingredient list to the first one:

In all fairness to her, since it's her recipe, I'm not going to list the actual ingredient amount here - you'll have to go there to get it! However, I did tweak this/add some notes, so I will share those here with you.
{My notes are in bold.}



baking powder
3/4 C water {she says 1/2 but that did not work for me}

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and butter in a medium bowl.

Gradually add water and mix until a smooth dough is formed. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. Roll dough into one and one-half inch balls {make sure you make them at least this big or even bigger if you want to hold any food inside!}. Set on a plate and cover. Let rest for ten minutes.

Flatten one ball at a time between two small plates and then roll into a six-inch circle. {Avoid using too much flour when rolling because the tortillas will get gritty.}

Place the tortillas on a griddle and cook over a medium heat until the tortillas turn white, then flip and repeat. {I have no idea what this means - they were already white! lol I cooked mine between 2-3 minutes per side and found that it worked for me.}


This makes 9 decent-sized tortillas. I made them 24 hours before needed and kept them in the fridge. When I needed them for dinner, I put them on a plate with a damp paper towel in the microwave and cooked at short intervals (20 seconds or so) until they were heated enough.

I do NOT recommend using whole wheat flour with these. On my first attempt, I used half whole-wheat, half unbleached white. They tasted too "nutty" for tortillas, I had to add a ton more water, and the final result was flaky (and not in a good way). Using all white is definitely the way to go, in my opinion.

Here's a picture of them made with half and half - as you can see, I had a hard time getting them to "bind", and this was even with over a cup of water.

Here's what it looked like with half whole-wheat (very dense):

And here's what they looked like after I started over and used just unbleached white:

They were sooooooo good!

{Edited to add: Remember when you cook them that tortillas are mostly a vehicle for the food you will put inside - they're not going to have an outstanding, strong taste. These were good because they were nice and chewy and bland in a good way that they wouldn't overpower the food inside.}

At the recommendation of my friend Kathy, I was able to check out the Eat Clean cookbook by Tosca Reno this week at Barnes 'n' Noble. My friend Lindsay had the books herself and let me borrow both of them for a few days - it is fascinating reading!

I also found this site for clean baking - it all looks drool-worthy!

I found some MSG-free chicken bouillon cubes at the health-food store this week, so I'll be sharing my attempt at onion-soup mix soon!

What about you? Anyone find a way to make a staple or recipe healthier and cleaner? I'd love to hear it! Do you have any links to share? Please post it in the comments - I love to learn!


  1. My grandmother grew up making tortillas and the best thing in the world was when she had fresh tortillas when we came home from school.

    "Cook until white", before you cook your tortillas they are slightly translucent. They start to "turn white" while you cook them. My grandmother always said you were ready to get married when your tortillas bubbled while cooking.

    Thanks for the inspiration. I've been saying I'm going to make my own tortillas but never do. I think we will this week:)

  2. I saw your comment on Reluctant Entertainer and your title "Drum Roll Please" caught my eye :-)


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