Tortillas are the backbone of some crazy-healthy, crazy-delicious meals. What would fajitas, burritos and salad wraps be without them? Stuff on a plate, that’s what. Tortillas give that stuff on a plate a snappy structure that’s fun to eat, and keeping it fun is what long-term healthy eating is all about. But there’s a catch: store bought tortillas run high in sodium, and we don’t need lots of that, so what are we gonna do? Mope around, sullen and depressed, dragging our heels and giving up salad wraps? Hells no – we’re going to make our own tortillas, and they’re going to be the best tortillas we’ve ever eaten, ever.
So, how much sodium is in these tortillas? According to the amazing recipe nutrition analysis tool at caloriecount.about.com, each one contains a miniscule 11 mg of sodium, which constitutes 0% of your daily recommended sodium allowance. In other words, they’re almost sodium-free. Compare that to an equivalent 8″ store-bought tortilla made by Mission Foods, which packs 249 mg of sodium – 10% of your daily sodium allowance – into each tortilla. If you were to eat just two of those tortillas, you’re approaching a quarter of your maximum sodium intake for a day – bad deal. It’s well worth making your own.
These tortillas are a lot more cost-effective than the store-bought variety, too. I figure that the eight tortillas I made cost about .50 in ingredients, while Mission’s eight tortillas retail for about $2.70 a package. Granted, making your own requires a small investment of time and effort, but not much.
I’ve made my own tortillas a few times before, always using recipes which hinged on a good amount of shortening to make the magic happen. Trading sodium for partially hydrogenated fat is far from brilliant, so I set out to find a decent tortilla recipe that would work using my favorite healthy fat, good old olive oil. And I found one, on Homesick Texan, which called for a scant two teaspoons of vegetable oil to make a batch of tortillas. Coward that I am, I opted for a more traditional two tablespoons of oil in my version, but it’s olive oil so I’m okay with that.
I made a few other tweaks – replacing milk with light soymilk and salt with seasonings and salt substitute – and I’m positively delighted with the results. My tortillas were light, soft, nicely chewy, and had a distinctly savory flavor, thanks to the no-salt seasoning. In short, they were everything I like about tortillas, minus the sodium, plus awesome bonus flavor. They were easy and fun to make, too.
Soft and Savory Whole Wheat, Low Sodium Tortillas
makes eight 8″ tortillas
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon no-salt seasoning (something along the lines of Mrs. Dash)
1/2 teaspoon salt substitute
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup light soymilk (sorry to everyone who tried making these with the 2/3 cup I originally indicated. 3/4 cup = much better. – vb)
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Stir the olive oil into the soymilk, then stir the soymilk into the dry ingredients to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Gather up the dough into a ball, and knead it on a floured surface for two minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest for about 20 minutes.
After the dough has rested, divide it into eight equal portions. Roll them into balls and put them on a plate, covered loosely in plastic wrap, to rest for another 10 minutes.
Now you’re ready to roll and cook the tortillas. Have flour and a rolling pin handy, and place a medium-sized frying pan on high heat. Take a ball of dough, and use your fingers and thumb to press it into a flat disc. Place the disc on a floured surface, sprinkle it with more flour, and work from the middle using short strokes roll it into an 8″ circle. Transfer it to the hot pan to cook for about 30 seconds on each side. Expect the dough to bubble and darken here and there.
I stored my tortillas in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid, where they’ve kept well for two days so far. I don’t know what happens to them after two days, because I’m sure I’ll be eating the rest of them tonight.