Taco fillings can range the gambit of low carb variations, but the problem always comes up with the tortilla shells. There are some available for purchase now, but you need to read labels carefully and many of them have a ton of additives that may not be desirable. So, in an effort to make the beloved tacos (along with enchiladas, tostadas, and other Mexican fare) I tried my hand at making some low carb tortillas at home. While tasty, they were more work than I would probably put in on a quick weeknight dinner. So, I have found some store-bought alternatives that work just fine. They are not as good as home-made, but it sure gets a low carb Mexican dinner on the table quickly.
Evaluation of Popular Ready-made Low Carb Tortillas
Since I am all about quick and easy I first checked out whether the store-bought low carb tortillas were really low carb. The best ones I found were those from La Tortilla Factory and those from Mama Lupe (nutritional analysis below).
The low carb tortillas from La Tortilla Factory were the lowest in calories of the two, but also the highest in carbs and the lowest in protein. The main problem with both of them was the difficulty in finding them in local grocery stores. Mama Lupe was available online, but based on the comments they were quite expensive to buy online, compared to the cost if you could find them locally.
I did try the La Banderita tortillas that I got at Target and they were not bad. They gave you the mouthfeel of having a real taco, while fairly bland in flavor (most are however). I haven’t tried La Tortilla Factory or Mama Lupe yet so I can’t tell you about taste, but my “educated guess” is that Mama Lupe would win based on a higher fat content. They both had a ton of preservatives that I was not familiar with.
Re: Home-made Low Carb Tortillas:
I scanned the recipes on the internet for low carb tortillas and talked to other low-carb people in my “tribe” (so to speak) and landed on two variations to try. The first was a recipe using pork rinds, cream cheese and a lot of eggs. Although many people cringe at the idea of fried pork rinds (aka chicharrones), I love them and use them as breading in a lot of recipes. For tortillas however, they just didn’t offer the taste I was looking for. The taste was key, but I also found them to be less pliable than you would want for a tortilla. Perhaps if I had tried the recipe a few times I could get there. If you want to try this recipe, click here for the link.
The next attempt was a combination of recipes from the web that used almond flour and/or coconut flour. This ended up being much more similar in flavor to a classic tortilla and was very pliable. It was one of the lowest in carbs also! I made this recipe twice, and although it is a bit time-consuming, you can make a big batch and freeze it and then take out smaller portions to roll out and cook on taco nights. Just roll it into a big dough ball, wrap in saran wrap and a freezer bag and freeze. It was definitely tasty and at some point I’ll order the ready-made tortillas online for a taste comparison.
Nutritional Analyses for Low Carb Tortillas:
La Banderita Carb Counter Wraps (I purchased at Target)
Serving size: 1 tortilla (45 g)
- Calories 50
- Total carbs: 16 g
- Net carbs: 5 g
- Protein: 4 g
- Fat: 1.5 g
- Sugar: 0 g
- Serving size of 1 tortilla: 39 g
- Calories: 80
- Total carbs: 16
- Protein: 4 g
- Fat: 2 g
- Sugar 1 g
- Serving size of 1 tortilla: 36 g
- Calories: 60
- Total carbs: 7 g
- Protein: 5 g
- Fat: 3 g
- sugar: 0 g
- Calories: 124
- Carbs: trace amt to 1 g
- Protein: 10 g
- Total Fat: 9 g
- Sugar: 0 g
Recipe using Almond Flour and Coconut Flour (recipe below)
- Serving size: 6″, about 35 grams
- Calories: 89
- Carbs: 4 g
- Total Fat: 6 g
- Protein: 3 g
- Sugar: 0 g
Recipe for Home-made Low Carb Tortillas
(modified from glutenfreeonashoestring.com)
- 3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp almond flour
- 4 Tbsp coconut flour
- 2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 egg
- 3-4 tsp water
- 1 tsp lard
- Add all dry ingredients (almond flour through salt) to a bowl and stir together thoroughly. I like to use a slotted spoon to do this.
- Pour dry ingredients into a food processor bowl and turn processor on to low. Be careful that ingredients don’t fly out of processor and make a mess. While the processor is running, add the vinegar, then the beaten egg, and then the water. Mix until everything is combined and the dough sticks together
- Remove dough from processor and roll into a ball and cover the ball with saran wrap. While still in the wrap knead it for a couple of minutes through the plastic. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes before using or store it in the fridge for up to two days. Alternatively, place the wrapped dough in a freezer bag and freeze it until you are ready to use it.
- Heat a skillet over medium high heat. It should be hot but not smoking hot. I put a little lard in the skillet but you could use oil. It doesn’t take much, just a light coat.
- Break dough into 8 1-inch balls for small tortillas (this is what nutritional analysis is based on). I liked them more at a 2-inch size but I don’t have the analysis for that.
- Place a ball between 2 sheets of waxed paper and roll out with a rolling pin to the approximate size you want. Place a small bowl the size of desired tortilla over the dough and use a knife to cut around the perimeter of the bowl. Gather cut pieces together to form additional dough balls at the end. Lift the bowl up and gently pull the tortilla off and place on a smooth counter or another piece of waxed paper for easy transfer to the skillet.
- Using a thin metal spatula, transfer the tortilla from the waxed paper or countertop to the skillet and cook for only about 5-6 seconds. Flip it over with the thin spatula and cook for another 20-30 seconds. If you want them to be pliable it is important not to overcook them. If you are using them for tostadas or open-faced tacos you can cook a tiny bit longer.
- **Note: The temperature of the skillet and cooking the tortillas quickly is the key. If the skillet is not hot enough the tortilla will harden and crack. If the skillet is too hot the coconut flour burns rapidly. Test it out with a small one first to get the hang of it.