Plantain Tortillas (AIP, Grain-free, Gluten-free, Paleo, Vegan, Delicious)
Hi! I’m still here! I’m still working on Twin Cities Chef’s Table, which has meant no blogging for me. Because I didn’t have enough going on – writing a book, getting a divorce, dealing with this seriously fucked up winter – I also decided to spend the next 60 days on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) which is in effect an elimination diet to weed out food sensitivities. Long story short: It’s not just gluten, baby. With the stress of above, other food sensitivities that I’ve suspected all along but kind of gotten away with are no longer cooperating with me. Also, I took the opportunity of seclusion and cooking only for myself to undertake an experiment, adding a few things back into my diet that I had avoided when I gave up gluten almost 4 years ago – time flies! – namely corn, rice, potatoes, dairy, some starches like tapioca and arrowroot starch. My body said: HELL NO, STEPHANIE. Bloating, abdominal pain, joint pain, puffy eyes, fatigue, hair loss, low body temperature, basically all the inflammation/hypothyroid symptoms I had before I gave up gluten.
Scary and disappointing.And so, back to the drawing board. I’d been meaning to do it eventually anyhow. I really, really want to know the foods that cause damage to my gut and my immune system to attack my thyroid. Rebirth is the order of the day. Spring will be upon us soon enough and I’m ready to be my rock-n-roll self again, even if it means eliminating for the next several weeks:
All grains & grain-like substances (including chia, hemp, millet, oats, etc.)
All nuts, seeds, and their oils
Nightshade plants (potatoes, tomatoes, chiles/peppers, eggplants)
Yup. I made the commitment to myself last week, cried for about 20 minutes, made a grocery list, and hit the store. I can totally do this. It’s not even that far off from how I already eat. And in fact, it’s totally spurred my creativity – helped by the fact that I feel so much better already, now that I’ve gotten past two days of coffee fog. Also: immediately glowing skin. It really is so powerful what eating a nutrient-dense (and inflammation-free, because I’ve eaten a nutrient-dense diet for years) diet does for skin. I also credit adding bone broths to my routine a few months ago – eat collagen to make collagen. I definitely see the difference.
I’m not going to over-exaggerate, eating this way is not simple. First of all, it requires a lot of prep and cooking, which I enjoy thoroughly, but I know many don’t. Also, I’m feeding one or two people, none of whom are picky and small. The biggest loss for me, given my lifestyle and career, is eating out. All restaurants cook with canola oil, which I wish they didn’t because it’s terrible for everyone, but it’s cheap and vegetarian, so there it is. Also, if you think about it for a minute, almost all seasoning involves nightshades or seeds: chiles, cumin, caraway, coriander, on and on.
Please follow me on Instagram or follow Fresh Tart’s Facebook page (links on the right) for the daily meals I’ve been rather merrily preparing for myself. At the end of the 60 days, I’ll reintroduce the eliminated foods one by one, one week at a time, and gauge my reaction to them. And then I’ll know. Once and for all. I might be sad to know, but it’s better than suffering ill health.
If you’re interested in the protocol yourself, please read everything on The Paleo Mom’s amazing website and buy her new book, The Paleo Approach, which will explain the scientific, food-related causes of autoimmune disease and how to address it. And in the interim, Paleo Tortillas! I first made The Paleo Mom’s plantain crackers, because having something salty/crunchy to snack on was the first loss I really felt. They are fantastic. Then I started poking around for plantain “bread” of some sort and came upon a modified version of the crackers, turned into a pizza crust. I thought, I’d bet this process would make killer tortilla/wraps so I played around with the recipe I found on the blog Simple & Merry and tada! Absolutely delicious. Soft, chewy, mildly sweet, wonderful stuffed with beef, avocado, and a zippy garnish of lime and cabbage. I’m totally making fish tacos with these – plantains and fish are marvelous together. And as I mention below, I can imagine leaving out the garlic and serving these filled with berries and a drizzle of coconut cream, mmm. Plantains…who knew? (I know, millions of people, just not native Midwesterners, ha.) See what you think.
(AIP, Grain-free, Gluten-free, Paleo, Vegan)
Adapted from a pizza crust recipe on Simple & Merry
Makes 12 tortillas
Note: the color of the tortillas varies by ripeness of the plantains. I have been unable to predict, by looking at a plantain, what color the finished tortilla will be, so be prepared for them to perhaps be brown, or perhaps yellow, or perhaps somewhere in between. Also, if the batter isn’t completely buttery smooth, they will likely not puff.
1 pound peeled, cubed large green plantains (I’ve found they can be at various stages of ripeness, anywhere from bright green to yellow-ish; ripe plantain tortillas are delicious eaten as crepes with warm fruit for breakfast or dessert; plantains are most easily peeled with a paring knife)
1/3 cup avocado oil (or extra-virgin olive oil; avocado oil is more neutral tasting and takes high heat better)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange racks in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Add ingredients to the bowl of a blender (a Vitamix is wonderful for making these). Add 1/3 cup of water to the blender, cover, and puree on lowest setting for a minute or two. Gradually turn speed up, using a tamper if needed to keep the puree moving around, adding a bit more water if absolutely needed, to form a thick, very (very) smooth puree, similar to smooth hummus.
With a spoon or off-set spatula, smooth batter into 12 equal tortillas onto the two baking sheets, approximately 1/4-inch thick and 6 inches across. Bake for 10 minutes, switch racks, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until just browning in spots.
Cool for 5 minutes before serving. Or, cool to room temperature and store in airtight container for up to 3 days. These freeze really well: separate tortillas with pieces of parchment paper so they don’t freeze stuck together. Can be gently reheated in a skillet or toaster oven before serving.