Too many tortillas
April 26, 2022 9:53 AM   Subscribe

How can I use up lots of flour tortillas with lots of vegetables? I will be eating this cold. Burritos and enchiladas are obvious; a pizza melt worked okay. I'm thinking cabbage and mushrooms next. What other brilliant ideas and recipes have you got?

I keep having too many tortillas - I buy a pack, use most of the pack, and stick the rest in the freezer, where they eventually become a mountain of tortillas.

I have some strong preferences:

1. VERY HIGH ratio of vegetables to tortilla - my enchilada bake has black beans, spinach, onion, bell peppers, and corn
2. BUT: please, no broccoli, sweet potatoes, or avocado
3. also, alternatives to spinach-heavy things would be great, since my enchilada bake and my pizza melt thing both have a lot of spinach
4. I'm more looking for lots of good, non-obvious recipes that use some tortillas, rather than recipes that cram a lot of tortillas into one dish (see #1 above)

I'm okay eating meat, but I'm much more inclined to use tofu or even TVP. Cheese and egg are also both fine.

I would love alternate flavor profiles. As I said, I'm thinking of trying cabbage and mushrooms - maybe one version with paprika, and another with a bit of ginger and sesame oil.

Again, these will be eaten cold, and while I'm happy to eat all kinds of savory things cold, I want to avoid options that will get too soggy or otherwise unpleasant.

(And yes, I know I can basically eat a tortilla on the side with anything; I was hoping for some specific ideas that MeFites have tried and enjoyed.)

So - what can I do to get through loads of tortillas with TONS of vegetables in dishes that would work as cold meals at my desk?

Thank you!
posted by kristi to Food & Drink (26 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I sometimes use tortillas as the "crust" of a quiche - basically lightly grease the pie pan and then line it with torillas, then fill with quiche mixture. You can go pretty high on vegetables in the quiche, your call. Spinach and broccoli are my favorite quiche fillings, so that's not ideal for you! But mushroom, onion, asparagus, zucchini, non-spinach greens are all good! (If you're going heavy on vegetables it's best if you precook them so they don't make the quiche watery.)
posted by mskyle at 9:59 AM on April 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

I use corn tortillas, but I eat a lot of them with just hummus and sliced grape tomatoes, sometimes add lettuce and red onions and/or red peppers. (Sorry if too obvious!)
posted by Glinn at 10:08 AM on April 26, 2022

You could make a tortilla strata.
posted by hungrytiger at 10:14 AM on April 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I bake up some kind of egg casserole every week for the week's breakfasts (or brunch or lunch, on busy days), and I riff my bread component based on what I've got - canned biscuits, today's is in the oven using storebought flatbread, bread slices that are about to go, and tortillas. For those, I usually just tear or cut them into quartersish and scatter on the bottom. This doesn't make a crusty-crust, it's just more of a slightly structural soft crust. If you want more tortillaness from them you could lightly pre-toast them in the oven/air fryer before putting them in the bottom, or maybe cut into a larger dice and scatter over the top of your egg mixture and spritz with cooking spray and a little salt so they get crouton-y (you may need to cover for the first half of the bake time if you do that though). I use this recipe for my proportions/egg base for a casserole-sized dish. Like mskyle says, you can cram any vegetables you like in there, but if they give off water you should roast or microwave them first. I use asparagus or thawed drained frozen/canned spinach without further cooking, and any canned veg is fine if you drain it, but pretty much everything else needs pre-cooking.

For flavor profile, how about a Greek/Middle-Eastern wrap of roasted vegetables (eggplant, tomatoes, peppers and onions if you like, mushrooms and/or tofu for meatiness) and a yogurt-dill-lemon-cucumber-tahini-garlic type sauce? Alternately, since the eggplant and tomatoes will be a bit drippy cold you could bring the veg in a container and use the tortilla as a scoop/lavash/pita.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:25 AM on April 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Pretend the tortilla is a savory French crepe.
Saute the vegetables (for example, any combination of potatoes, shallots, leeks, fennel, mushrooms, tomatoes, and/or artichoke hearts) in butter and a little white wine.
Melt cheese (for example, brie or gruyere) on top of vegetables.
Put veggies and melted cheese in tortilla, add dijon mustard and fresh parsley, then wrap.
Or skip sauteed veggies, just melt cheese in the tortilla, and fill it with salad (frisee, carrots, cucumbers) tossed lightly in vinaigrette.
I know you said vegetables, but maybe adding some fruit, like thinly sliced apples, would help change it up?
posted by Former Congressional Representative Lenny Lemming at 10:46 AM on April 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

We cut tortillas into six pieces and toast them in the toaster oven as an accompaniment to soup, may whatever dinner needs a little boost.
posted by SemiSalt at 12:01 PM on April 26, 2022

Best answer: I used flour tortillas as wrappers for mu shu, either takeout (where they never give enough) or homemade.
posted by Candleman at 12:17 PM on April 26, 2022 [3 favorites]

Best answer: My sister-in-law makes really delicious mini pizzas with tortillas, a bit of olive oil, a vegetable and some cheese on top. Under the broiler until the cheese in bubbly with golden spots -- et voila! I like them best with zucchini or tomato, she also makes them with eggplant, but I have a feeling the eggplant might be pre-somethinged. They work as appetizers or fast snacks during the day.

Is there a reason quesadillas havn't been mentioned? TBH, quesadillas are the main reason we have tortillas in our bread-box. They are delicious, good for every meal, and very easy to make with any filling.
posted by mumimor at 12:34 PM on April 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Fry up those tortillas into homemade chips, yum yum yum.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 12:50 PM on April 26, 2022

Best answer: I like roasted vegetables (peppers, onions, carrots, mushrooms, leeks, asparagus, really whatever you have roasted in vinegar & oil) cold wrapped in a tortilla.
posted by miscbuff at 1:13 PM on April 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For mushrooms and cabbage, this one-skillet hot sausage and cabbage stir fry is one of my favourites - if you want to keep it vegetarian, you can either leave out the sausage or just use some kind of veggie ground round and add the flavours of italian sausage - fennel, red pepper flakes - to mimic that. I tend to just use cremini mushrooms because that's what I usually have in the fridge and then I serve mine with sour cream and sriracha and if I don't have chives handy I just use green onions.
posted by urbanlenny at 1:29 PM on April 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

I reread your question and I’m not seeing if you said these are corn or flour tortillas? Different grains will have different applications. For example, you could use a ton of corn tortillas in a relatively “hidden” way in some tortilla soup, but flour tortillas would make it gluey and unappealing. On the other hand I feel like flour tortillas are much more flexible for pairing with other kinds of cuisines, like using them as flatbreads or wraps.

Pumpkin is an awesome vegetable for corn tortillas. Try braising pumpkin chunks with some tomato, cumin, cinnamon, and garlic. Look for tender but not mushy. It’s good at most temperatures. Use tortillas you’ve toasted to crisp them up, or chips, and make a layered tostada thing with pumpkin, some sweet onion and cilantro, crema, and of course pepitas.

I wonder if you might enjoy making unusual salsas? If it’s warming up where you are, you could plan to make a number of fruit salsas and get really good at making chips for them. My favorite is probably peach salsa, with hatch chiles.
posted by Mizu at 1:52 PM on April 26, 2022

Response by poster: Mizu - sorry, I did mention they're flour tortillas, but I get very wordy and info gets lost. [rueful grin]

These are all GREAT, GREAT suggestions so far, and I'm looking forward to more. Keep 'em coming!
posted by kristi at 2:07 PM on April 26, 2022

A friend of mine used to make a delicious sort of lasagna with tortillas instead of noodles.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:11 PM on April 26, 2022

Best answer: Haha oh man I read your question a third time and you say flour tortillas right in the beginning! Great job Mizu. A+ reading comprehension.

Okay, flour tortilla thoughts:

They are very neutral in flavor so you can go either pretty wild with sauces and such, or very simple with quality ingredients. I would look at your dish and decide which direction to nudge it in, as being right in the middle might fall a bit flat. What I mean by this is like, an example of wild with sauces and such might be a paneer tikka masala wrap with crispy shallots and yogurt raita, where the tortilla fades into the background as an edible container, and simple with quality ingredients might be grilled ramps and medium boiled sliced egg with salt and pepper, where the texture and flavor of a flour tortilla can be appreciated as an additional ingredient. But, if you go in the middle and try something like a falafel wrap with shredded cabbage and cold falafel balls, the flour tortilla is going to not hold its own.

I think you could do any kind of single roasted vegetable, sliced thin, and stacked with your favorite cheese sprinkled in between, for a simple option. And go for other cuisines that use bread as a base food to pull for ideas for complex things, like a French country ratatouille, or an aromatic Afghan bean curry.
posted by Mizu at 2:13 PM on April 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I make breakfast burritos with tortillas, and I think they'd be great cold, as long as you kept the filling in a separate container until serving to keep it from getting soggy. Basically, I fry onions, bell peppers, and any other veggies I want. When they're almost done, I pour egg in with them (I usually use 3 eggs), and treat as if making scrambled egg. (Sometimes if I'm feeling fancy, I thoroughly mix taco spice, or sriracha, or diced hatch green chiles, or whatever else I please to the egg before cooking it.) Then I essentially scramble the egg with the veggies. Just before the egg is done, I turn the heat off and add shredded sharp cheddar cheese to the top, and put the lid on until it melts. Then I put half of the mixture into a tortilla (I use low-carb tortillas - these or these - but it would work just as well with normal tortillas. I sometimes top with more diced hatch green chiles or taco sauce, but that's optional, and then I eat. I stuff the tortillas very full almost so they can't be closed, so there's a lot of protein and veg per tortilla.

Note that this method of whisking flavoring into the egg works for other meals. For example, I've done it with a combo of fish sauce, soy sauce, and sriracha for a stir fry with excellent results, that would also go nicely with veg in a tortilla, hot or cold.
posted by ClaireBear at 2:38 PM on April 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My go-to thing to do with flour tortillas is salad wraps. You can put in whatever salad base you like (I use raw finely shredded cabbage, with or without grated carrot), almost any kind of meat or meat-like thing, usually cubed or finely sliced (gammon, steak, seared tuna, grilled fish, fried seitan, breaded cutlet, pork belly, smoked chicken, a whole sausage; literally anything that you think you can put on a salad, and possibly some things you wouldn't think you can put in a salad), plus some kind of sauce (thick enough that it won't drip out of the wrap), and optionally something creamy like mayo, hummus or cream cheese.

I highly recommend heating up the tortilla, either by toasting it briefly in a dry pan or (cautiously) under the grill in an oven or for a few seconds in a microwave (less nice but easier and faster). Not only will it taste better but it will become flexible enough to form the wrap -- otherwise it may be too brittle.

If the meat-like thing is cold, you can put it directly on the surface of the tortilla. If you heat it up (which I like to do with sausages) you should put half the salad underneath to protect the tortilla from any hot juices which may otherwise make a hole. Then add the sauce and mayo in the middle (so it doesn't get smeared everywhere during wrapping), then top with the rest of the salad.

You should leave a margin around the filling on the bottom and sides, so that you can fold the bottom up, then fold the sides in and tuck one side into the other side.

I can eat these all day and all week; historically I have been limited only by running out of cabbage and/or tortillas. You can keep things interesting even if most of the base ingredients are the same just by changing the sauces.
posted by confluency at 2:52 PM on April 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

Fry them and then use then to make chilaquiles.
posted by turkeyphant at 4:09 PM on April 26, 2022

Best answer: Flour tortillas are approximately like chapati / roti, so you could potentially make an approximation of chapati samosas. They're better hot than cold, but if you pat them dry they'll be good at room temperature.

You could also shred and toast them (or toast and shred) and make a chaat or something like kothu parotta that will also be pretty decent at room temperature and won't get too soggy.
posted by holgate at 4:44 PM on April 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Cauliflower tacos.
posted by NotLost at 7:35 PM on April 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Use them as samosa wrappers!
posted by stillmoving at 7:38 PM on April 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

Have you considered quesadillas? Some people eat them cold the day after sauteeing them.
posted by dlwr300 at 9:33 AM on April 27, 2022

Best answer: Agreed that salad wraps are good. I like just a basic dressed Caesar salad on a tortilla, usually with shredded chicken tossed in. Also good with lunch meat and bagged greens, dressing of choice. Go light on the dressing so it doesn't drip too much. I've added other veggies like raw or cooked mushrooms, peppers, caramelized onions, anything you could plausibly put on a salad. To maximize veg content pack the filling and tortilla separately to bring to work, then pile it high into the tortilla and eat like a taco over a plate.

(Also this doesn't have veg but is really good - tortilla spread with peanut butter and either honey or jam. Good cold)
posted by Red Desk at 11:17 PM on April 27, 2022 [1 favorite]

Hah, beaten to the punch by Red Desk. A simple, silly thing I do with flour tortillas is to spread peanut butter on one and roll it up. It feels like a ridiculous picky-kid snack, but I was a ridiculous picky kid and it’s exactly the kind of thing I would have liked on some cranky day.
posted by notoriety public at 6:19 PM on May 10, 2022

Best answer: Nthing samosa filling. You can make it non-traditional to add more veggies.

Breakfast burritos don't get soggy if you don't add salsa. I've made them with eggs, hashbrowns or tater tots, and some julienned roasted veggies, cheese around the outside as an insulator. Assembling cold and toasting the full burrito around the outside before storing helps a lot with it not getting soggy. I've made then for a week in advance without an issue.

Tortilla roll-ups work pretty well. Tortilla, cream cheese (flavored or mixed with ranch powder or everything bagel seasoning or whatever), cold cuts, and thinly cut veggies rolled up together.

An idea I got from Eat This Much that's surprisingly good: baby spinach, brie or camembert, apple, and hummus mixed with dijon mustard. You can go really heavy on the spinach and apple. Super tasty.

Peanut butter, baked tofu, cabbage, carrots, bell peppers.

Probably obvious but.... chickpea salad with lettuce next to the tortilla to protect from sogginess or a toasted tortilla. I like savory chickpea salad but you can also do it with blue cheese and cranberries and it's amazing. You can add tons of diced veggies with the chickpeas.

White beans, spinach, caramelized onion, feta.

Egg salad with cucumber, parsley, and tzatziki instead of mayo. You can add bell pepper, cabbage, spring mix.

Hummus wraps with cheese and veggies are amazing.

Lentil salad.

So yeah.... beans + veggies + something is a good wrap.

In summary, you can put lots of things in as long as you put something on the tortilla before adding anything that might cause sogginess (cream cheese, cheese, cold cuts (including vegan, which I use), cheese, lettuce) and/or toast the tortilla before wrapping it to bring with you in a pan. Hope that helps.
posted by eleanna at 6:37 PM on May 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: These are all excellent, excellent suggestions - and I have already begun putting them to good use!

The French savory ideas and the salad approaches have been the most helpful so far - but all of these collectively have helped me really see the many, many possibilities in ways I just hadn't before.

I had a really good run with a sort of eggroll filling (cabbage, a little carrot, a lot of onion, mushrooms) with a bit of Chinese hot mustard - that worked great. (Oh, and some hoisin sauce, thanks to Candleman's mu shu comment.)

And I've been having lots of salad wraps, which also helps me use up my overabundance of arugula - tonight's was arugula, feta, red pepper, onion, kalamata olives, and cherry tomatoes.

(And, yes, I've been having more quesadillas, which was an obvious answer but still a helpful nudge.)

I'm very much looking forward to trying even more of these.

And this week I actually finished off the entire bag of tortillas without having to stick any in the freezer - AND I made a bit of a dent in the mountain of freezer tortillas, as well!

Thank you all so much. This has been a huge help - and a lot of fun as well.
posted by kristi at 10:24 PM on May 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

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