I love spending an hour or two in the kitchen making food from scratch. But weeknights don’t usually afford me—or most people—that kind of time. So I like having a menu or two in my back pocket that I can whip up in 20-30 minutes.
I got the idea for what I call “Chameleon Tortillas” while on a 30-day silent retreat at The Last Resort in Duck Creek, Utah. The retreat chef, Abhilasha Keays, invented this one-dish meal.
They are chameleonic because you can add lots of different ingredient combinations to the basic tortillas to make different meals. One thing I love about this recipe is that it utilizes mostly pantry and refrigerator staples. The only thing I had to go out and buy when I made these last week were the tortillas.
Another thing I love about them is that you can make them really simple, as I did last week, or you can make them fancy, with lots of ingredients. I made them simple recently because I wanted to savor the tender lettuce I’d picked minutes before in my garden.
I’ve suggested optional ingredients below. Feel free to use some or all of these, or to add your own touches. For example, leftover roasted veggies—especially yams—are wonderful.
Meatless Monday: Chameleon Tortillas
- one package organic corn tortillas
- 1 can of beans, pintos or black beans are good
- roasted veggies
- lettuce (I used lettuce from my garden recently, but often use the triple-washed lettuce that comes in tubs.)
- salad dressing (I added a cumin-lime dressing I’d made for a previous salad.)
- sour cream or yogurt
- guacamole or sliced avocado
- roasted pepitas
- Assemble your ingredients. The tortillas cook really quickly, so it’s important to have everything ready before you start.
- If you’re cooking beans, you can either add them straight from the can, or make simple refried beans (my choice). Here’s how: Sauté 1/2 cup onion and two minced garlic cloves in 1-1/2 tablespoons of olive oil for 3 to 4 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of cumin and cook for another 5 minutes. Add a can of drained and rinsed black or pinto beans to the skillet and stir until cooked through. Use a potato masher, or a blender or food processor to mash the mixture together, adding liquid if necessary. Add black pepper to taste. Keep the beans warm.
- Preheat a cast-iron or sauté pan over a medium flame. While the pan is heating, brush both sides of the tortillas (two per person) with olive oil.
- Cook both sides of the tortillas in the heated pan, one at a time, until soft. This will take only 20-30 seconds on each side.
- Lay the tortillas out side-by-side on a large plate. Spread the beans over the tortillas and top with whatever other ingredients you plan to use.