5-minute Homemade Tortillas (and vegan quesadillas)

Today’s run: A truly marvelous and cold 6 miles. It was the kind of cold that required lined windpants, two shirts, and thick gloves – it was in the high teens/low 20s when I started out. I love cold weather, particularly for running. It totally wakes me up and makes me feel more energetic. When we lived in MI, it was sometimes so cold (below zero) that I’d return from a run with icicles hanging from my hat, where my breath had risen and frozen. I still loved it, though.

Music: A tiny bit of Brahms followed by my favorite, Mahler – a tiny bit of the 3 symphony followed by parts of the 5th. Good stuff.

We were at a loss for dinner tonight; we had some leftovers, but not anything we were totally thrilled about, yet neither of us felt like cooking.  How to get out of a food rut? Ah yes – I remembered that I had some Daiya cheese left over from our trip last weekend, and needed to use it. We never (well, maybe once) buy Daiya, not because it’s not good, but because it is hard to find (where we are), expensive, and heck, I’ve survived without vegan cheese for 15+ years so I just don’t really ever think about buying it…..but last weekend, when we were visiting some siblings-in-law, I ended up having to buy some Daiya….long story short, but basically the sister-in-law INSISTED that we all NEEDED to eat quesadillas for lunch, made on her new quesadilla maker, and further insisted that I just HAD to have vegan cheese instead of just beans on mine….but then she couldn’t find said vegan cheese, so she insisted on us making a special trip to Whole Foods which resulted in me spending almost 5 bucks on something I would never actually buy for myself. It was slightly ridiculous – seriously, I keep telling you I don’t want or need a particular item, you insist on dragging me out to find it, and then I have to pay for it? Geesh. Anyways, I have to admit the quesadillas were actually pretty darn tasty. I would never want a kitchen implement that takes up so much space and is only good for one thing, but the quesadilla maker did make good quesadillas.

Anyways, so I returned home with extra Daiya and needed to use it. Enter these super-easy, super-quick quesadillas.

I am not at all against buying prepared foods – canned beans, jarred salsa, etc. – but I try really hard to make stuff that is easy and cheap to make. Tortillas are surprisingly easy to make, as long as you don’t mind them not being perfectly round (or are really good at rolling them perfectly).

This is my most basic tortilla recipe. You can fancy it up and increase pliability by adding a little oil, baking powder, and some spices, but they’re just fine as is.

makes 6-8 tortillas

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

about 1/2 cup water

extra flour for following out tortillas


Mix salt and flour. Add water. Stir until dough pulls together. Use your hands to work in all the flour. You may need to add a touch more flour. You want a dough that is completely not sticky.

Pull off little sections of dough (about 3 tablespoons’ worth, or you can just divide the dough into 6 or 8 equal sections before starting). Flour a cutting board and roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Roll it to about 1/8 inch thick; you want it thin, but not so much that it rips or tears. Again, use flour to prevent sticking as you roll.

Place one tortilla on a dry (ungreased) cast iron skillet, at about medium heat. Cook for a few minutes (1-2), then turn over and cook another minute or two. It is done when there are brown spots on the tortilla. If the skillet is hot enough, the tortilla will puff up a little; it will flatten when you remove it from the heat.

To make quesadillas:

Spread some refried beans (I use about 2 tablespoons per quesadilla) on one side of a cooked tortilla, followed by a little Daiya cheese. Top with another tortilla and cook for a minute or so, until the cheese is melted. TIP: to save time, cook one tortilla; put it on a plate and spread some refried beans on it. Start cooking another tortilla; when you flip that one over, sprinkle some cheese on the just-cooked side and put the bean side of the other tortilla on it, so that you are cooking the tortilla and the quesadilla at the same time.

Eat as is, or with salsa. YUM.

Question: Have you ever been in a situation where someone is trying to do something nice for you, but it’s something you really don’t want and is something that is going to require you to do work/spend money/etc.? One example I have is when a well-meaning relative gave us a DVD player but we didn’t have the requisite equipment necessary to connect it to our TV, so we ended up  having to spend 100 bucks to get it set up to work….and we hadn’t really wanted a DVD player in the first place, but it seemed silly to just leave it in the box. Oh well. We’re glad we have it now, years later.


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