Grain-free baking isn’t always the easiest or tastiest.
We’ve made almond flour chocolate chip cookies that were better than the wheat originals, coconut flour muffins that are moist and delicious, and Paleo banana bread that’s to die for…but we’ve also had some definite flops in our experimenting over the last three years.
Grain-free tortillas are somewhere in the middle.
Homemade tortillas of any kind are a bit time-consuming, and sometimes even the gadgets that are supposed to make life easier…just don’t. With grain-free tortillas, there are a few hurdles to get over:
- Some weird ingredients you might not have on hand. It took me months between finding the original recipe that I adapted and actually getting all the schtuff for it.
- Very crumbly dough that is hard to roll out and move. Thou must own a thin metal spatula, otherwise, don’t bother.
- A final product that is not quite as flexible and pliable as wheat tortillas…it’s missing the gluten.
The silver lining? Truly incredible quesadillas, no grains involved.
For me, it’s worth it to make occasional grain-free tortillas when we’re definitely trying to avoid grains 100% for whatever reason. I’m glad I know how to make them (but I still prefer the taste of the whole wheat tortilla recipe I shared earlier this week).
This is perfect if you’ve just been told you need a GF diet, if you have a friend or family member eating GF and you’d like to cook for them, or if you’re just curious what it’s all about!
- Measure hot water in a glass measuring cup and mix the psyllium husks in; allow to sit while you work on the rest. They will get very thick, nearly a solid. That’s expected.
- In a separate bowl or food processor, mix all the dry ingredients, then cut or process in the and tomato sauce.
- Cut or process in the psyllium husk mixture, watching to see glimmering throughout to get the psyllium husk fully incorporated, then add water as necessary to help incorporate all the dry parts and avoid your tortillas being crumbly. Knead with your hands for 1-2 minutes.
- Divide dough into 16 equal balls.
- To roll:
- Place between two layers of flexible material – you might use parchment paper, wax paper, silicone mats, or a plastic, flexible cutting board. Lightly sprinkle arrowroot starch on the bottom surface, then put a bit on top of the ball of dough too. Not too much – but enough to prevent sticking.
- Flatten with the palm of your hand, roll from the center out, then rotate and repeat, rolling out to about 6” diameter.
- Use the flexibility of your surface along with gravity and perhaps your metal spatula to help you peel the circle of dough off and get it to your cooking surface.
- You may also be able to manage rolling out with nothing between your rolling pin and the dough, but you’ll need a very thin, sturdy metal spatula to scrape the tortilla-dough-circle off whatever surface you’re using. Keep them small; they’re a bit tricky to manage.
- To cook:
- In a cast iron pan, heavy-bottomed skillet, or best yet, a griddle of some sort, cook tortillas until very lightly browned on the bottom and dry-looking, then flip. On the stovetop, use medium-low to start. If they fall apart while flipping, you didn’t cook long enough. If they become brittle like a chip, you either cooked them too long or at too high of a temperature.
- I hesitate to give an exact time for cooking because it varies with temperature of the surface. I’ve cooked them for 30 seconds per side or 2 minutes, depending on how high my burner was on under my cast iron griddle. On medium low, it’s about 30 seconds. Just check for browning on the bottom edges.
- Store in an airtight container of some kind at room temperature for a day or in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. (Maybe longer…I’m not sure! They haven’t lasted that long here yet…)
* If the dough is sticky, they won’t behave well. Use arrowroot starch liberally on your surface by spreading it out with your hands. (Coconut flour (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!) to roll makes the tortillas taste like coconuts because it’s right on the outside, so I wouldn’t recommend that.)
* These do NOT work on an electric tortilla press. They fall apart into a very thin top and bottom, even when the non-stick surface was slathered with grease.
* The tortillas are sturdier with coconut flour and roll a bit better, but if you don’t have coconut flour, they’ll still work fine without it.
* Try other add-ins, like roasted red peppers, garlic, spinach, and zucchini.
* Try adding some grated Parmesan cheese, both for flavor and stick-together-ness.
* Serve with pizza sauce and cheese, fried on the same surface you cook your tortillas on.
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The Process in Pictures
Seeing is believing. Here’s how to do it:
Place between two layers of flexible material – you might use parchment paper, wax paper, silicone mats, or a plastic, flexible cutting board. (Below I’m using a flexible plastic cutting board on the bottom and a silicone mat on the top.)
Lightly sprinkle arrowroot starch on the bottom surface, then put a bit on top of the ball of dough too. Not too much – but enough to prevent sticking.
Flatten with the palm of your hand, roll from the center out, then rotate and repeat, rolling out to about 6” diameter.
Use the flexibility of your surface along with gravity and perhaps your metal spatula to help you peel the circle of dough off and get it to your cooking surface.
In a cast iron pan, heavy-bottomed skillet, or best yet, a griddle of some sort, cook tortillas until very lightly browned on the bottom and dry-looking, then flip. This is the griddle I have, from our sponsor Mighty Nest.
On the stovetop, use medium-low to start. If they fall apart while flipping, you didn’t cook long enough. If they become brittle like a chip, you either cooked them too long or at too high of a temperature.
Once the tortillas are done, you can make quick quesadillas or open pizzas on the same surface. Mmmmm…quesadillas are perfect for yesterday’s Fajita Soup Recipe.
You can find the plain tortillas in my latest eBook, The Healthy Lunch Box, and they’re both a spin-off of this spinach recipe, which wasn’t quite soft enough for me. I added fat and coconut flour, mmmm….
I like working in the kitchen with my daughter, and as long as I had the dough stuck fast between things, it was fine (trying to roll with just the rolling pin was a little stressful; I wouldn’t recommend it).
Other Grain-free Resources:
- Tips for starting an elimination diet
- The “how-to” of getting started, especially with kids
- Simple grain-free rookie ideas (the opposite of this tortilla recipe)
- Bread-free packable alternatives to sandwiches
- Grain-free recipes round-up
- The best almond flour & can you use almond “meal” for recipes?