Pesto Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Wraps

Brown rice tortillas wrap it all up.

Flour tortillas and sandwich wraps have always been a favorite around here. How simple can you get? Throw some deli, salad greens, tomatoes, avocado and dressing onto a soft flaky tortilla and boom. You've got a meal. A portable meal, in fact. Perfect for picnics. Customizable. Accommodating. And tasty as all get out. What could be easier? It's clear why America has gone wrap crazy.

You lovely and talented wheat-eaters out there get all kinds of choices- whole grain lavash, flax and spinach wraps, low carb, garlic herb, and classic flour tortillas. But a gluten-free wrap is tough to come by. Your intrepid goddess at large has been mourning her wraps and lime infused burritos for quite a few sad and wrapless years now. And I'm sorry- those teff wraps you can sometimes find in the health food store? Please don't e-mail me about them. They smell so funky- like a gym sock used yesterday in some unspeakable act- although they do roll around a tube of fresh ingredients with a flexibility akin to the flour tortillas I vaguely recall. I might even try them again- if I can just get past the smell. Perhaps I could pinch my nose while munching.

The best gluten-free wrap I've tried is Trader Joe's brown rice tortillas. If you nab a package when they are piping fresh and pliable, you're in for a treat. The problem is, they turn stale faster than Madonna's reinventions. And far too often you tear open (what you thought was) a fresh package from your local Whole Foods only to cry slow tears of salty frustration when your much anticipated wrap falls apart and splits into an unappetizing melange du jour you sullenly eat with a fork.

Right about now you might be wondering if I've feverishly been testing wrap recipes and come up with a fail proof wheat-free tortilla worthy of a blog premiere as snazzy and hyped as a deb's coming out party. Sorry, but no. Although wraps are on my list of recipes to conquer, my revelation today is much more modest. So scale back your expectations, Dear Hearts. I'm feisty and determined, but also very Zen when it comes to conquering the hurdles in my gluten-free quest for deliciousness. I bake a little. Toss a little. I walk away for awhile and come back. Throw out $18.00 worth of ingredients. Pour a vodka martini (very dry by the way, much, much drier than my distant Scott cousin who famously purred, Shaken, not stirred).

No, today's advice and recipe is simple and sweet. It originates not from moi, but from my fabulous son, Alexander. When he and his girlfriend visited us this spring we made these wraps for our trips to Santa Fe. Alex's instruction?

Fire up your panini grill or grill pan on medium heat. Assemble and roll your sandwiches. Brush the filled wraps on the outside with a little olive oil. Grill the wraps briefly with the edge side down. The rice wraps warm up and soften. The rolled edge fuses shut. They behave!

I love it when I learn from my kids. Is there anything on Earth more thrilling than learning from your children? I think not. And lucky you. 

You get the recipe.

Pesto Bacon Lettuce + Tomato Wraps with Smoked Turkey

I am experimenting with wrap and tortilla recipes, but in the meantime, consider Alex's solution to the brown rice tortilla problem. Because, well. These are damn tasty.

Note to my vegan readers- I love you! You know I do. Ignore the bacon and turkey part and use your favorite BBQ flavored baked tofu.

You'll need, per person::

1 gluten-free brown rice tortilla wrap
3 slices of organic smoked turkey- we like Applegate Farms (gluten and casein free)
Dab of your favorite pesto- we like it with this vegan Cilantro Pesto
3 slices of cooked and crispy organic nitrate-free bacon- we like Applegate Farms
A handful of crisp organic baby lettuce greens- or herb mix
5 organic grape tomatoes, halved
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Olive oil, as needed


Heat up the panini grill or grill pan on medium high.

Meanwhile, lay your tortilla flat. Add the smoked turkey slices.

Schmear some pesto on the turkey.

Add the cooked bacon strips, baby greens, tomatoes.

Season with sea salt and pepper.

Roll up and lightly brush with olive oil.

Place gently on the grill and lower the top, but don't press hard (unless you want a squashed sandwich).

After two to three minutes, open the grill and turn the roll-up on its side (to keep it rounder and less flat); lower the grill top again- gently- and heat through- maybe three minutes.

Slice in half and consume with gusto- or wrap in foil for picnics. These wraps travel well in a cooler.

Serve with my Snappy Crunchy Coleslaw (egg, soy and dairy free).


Kate over at Gluten-Free Gobsmacked sent me links to two wrappable flat breads she has been experimenting with- check out her thin whole grain gluten-free wrap recipe, and her thicker gluten-free rice wrap recipe.



Glutenfree Buddy said...

Dear Karina, I found your website a few weeks ago and I've been exploring every inch of it. It is fantastic: I am in my early twenties and I was diagnosed with celiac disease three years ago...AND I have juvenile diabetes. I was frustrated for very long but now appreciate cooking and experimenting with food..while having fun! Thanks for all the great recipes, they inspire me a lot. I have a question, I'm from Canada and was wondering: do you believe there are any stores with Food for Life Products like the Tortillas you mentionned? Thank you and keep it up; you're a great motivation.

Christopher And Tia said...

Now that I'm pregnant and can tolerate meat again (no matter how bad the heartburn gets), I'm all over this recipe. I use brown rice tortillas for everything. Thanks lady!

Jess said...

What a fantastic tip!!!
I too love wraps and have become a big fan of FFL's wraps, but also become frustrated when my sammich falls apart. Can't wait to lightly grill mine tomorrow.

Padawan K said...

That sounds so good right now! If only my tortilla could bend... do you really have to keep them in the fridge because i feel like that's causing the problem?

Jerry said...

This sounds great!

Anonymous said...

just what I have been craving... yummmmy!!

Anonymous said...

I have been craving this exact thing for days. Thank god for brown rice tortilla, and the george foreman tip!!

Simply...Gluten-free said...

YUM! Can I join you in a martini?

Tiffany said...

That's interesting that you mention those tough little rice tortillas...I was just talking about that with my dad today-wishing for a softer one! You always do that...I dont even need to ask, and you answer my questions!

k said...

these sound mucho tasty - I may not be GF but I enjoy so many of your recipes just the same!

My Sweet & Saucy said...

These look fantastic! I really can't wait to try them out for myself! Thanks for a great recipe!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Well clearly Alex has inherited his mother's ingeniousness when it comes to food. :) Terrific idea and terrific combination of flavors.

Lisa said...

Dear Glutenfree Buddy:

I too am from Canada (Toronto)and I find Food for Life at Loblaws and Fortinos - make sure you go to the larger locations. I can attest to these tortillas, they are really good but they do go stale very quickly - even in the freezer. I'm not sure if Whole Foods carries them but you could check.
Good luck.

Amy said...

This looks amazing. I, too, mourn the loss of a good, fresh flour tortilla. Thank you for sharing such amazing information with us (always!). You continue to inspire me, and your son Alex is clearly a chip off the old block. You must be really proud of him.

Not owning a George Foreman grill, I am curious - can this be done without one?

Jyesika said...

As you've mentioned my GF rice wraps always break when we try to fold them, so I've flat given up. I've also tried warming them in the microwave wrapped in a wet paper towel for a couple of seconds to get them pliable, but still no good. Any suggestions? I'm not sure they'll go in roll form enough to stick on the forman!

Root & Sprout said...

Oh, how my mouth is watering!

Jo said...

Karina, love your recipes and your attitude! I have been eating these tortillas the last few years and love them best when I make quesadillas in my $20 quesadilla maker (usually just refried beans and salsa - no cheese necessary!). However, used my panini maker today and made this. Recommendation: I used guacamole spread thin instead of pesto, then bacon, fresh lettuce, and organic tomato. Delicious! My husband and I loved it.

Kevin said...

This sounds really good!

Karina said...

GF Buddy- I honestly don't know about the availability of these in Canada. You might try googling Food For Life Tortillas and going to their website. Good luck- hope you find some! And thanks for your kind words. Be well!

Christopher & Tia- My pleasure, Babycakes.

Jess- Warming these- and grilling them- definitely helps soften them. And if you wrap them for later- they stay soft and chewy.

Once the older tortillas get stiff and fragile- I cut them into tortilla chips and bake them with olive oil, herbs and spices. It's a great way to use up stale rice tortillas.

Padawan K- I want to experiment and leave them out, too. Chilling them does dry them out, I think. But I imagine mold might be an issue sitting out at room temp.

Thanks, Jerry! :)

Thanks, Sugarmagnolia! Go for it.

Simply Gluten-Free- Please do! Vodka martinis at five. Casual dress. ;)

HI Tiffany- Finding the softest, freshest tortillas is the answer, but not always possible. Warming and grilling with olive oil does help!

K- That's music to my ears because so many of my recipes here originated in my kitchen pre-GF. And so many of my recipes are naturally gluten-free to begin with. Thanks so much! ;)

Dear Sweet and Saucy- Thanks & you are welcome.

Hi Susan! Alex makes so many delicious GF/CF things- including killer banana waffles. I wish he lived closer so he could cook for me once a week. ;)

Amy- Do you have a panini maker? That would work. If not, try using a heavy skillet and an oven proof plate for pressing on top (not too hard); rotate the wrap so it meets the hot skillet on all sides. Or- make it quesadilla style- flat- using two tortillas; cut into wedges.

Hi Jyesika- As mentioned above- finding fresh ones make all the difference. Ask your store when they receive the shipments- maybe you can catch them on the first day.

Brushing them with a little olive oil helps soften them. Then briefly heating. But if they're stale, they will crack. Instead I'd make flat quesadilla style melts, or cut them into wedges and bake them as tortilla chips (I mentioned this above). These are delicious!

Root & Sprout- Thanks! :)

Hey Jo- Sounds very yummy! I will try making some tortillas myself, one day soon.

Thanks, Kevin!

Have a great week, Everyone. Be well & be safe!


snow said...

Dear Karina
I am showing up a little later for the party, but the Food For Life tortilla wraps aren't the only ones out there any more.

There's another brand called Sonoma that is far superior to the FFL wraps. They bend, fold, stay folded and taste delicious! No crumbling in mid nosh, no drippies all over your shirt in the car. They are delicious.

Anonymous said...

Tortillas are the easiest thing to make from scratch. It is unlevened bread rolled and cooked on a griddle quickly at high heat. As kids we would take reg. bread dough roll it out really thinly and cook it on top of our wood cook stove. yes we had one of those and i am only 37. Anyways, corn tortillas are probably your best for gluten free and dairy free diets and the ingredients are very simple. Search the net and you will find it. Flatbreads have been made for centuries allover the world. Bannock is another flat bread you cook in the skillet and you could use flours other than wheat.

~M said...

First, and most importantly, I love how you write about your boys. You are always learning so much from one another. That's how my husband and I are.

Second, I finally got around to making some of these brown rice wraps! I'm still not sure how you get them to be pliable enough to make the wrap that you then put on the Foreman. But I did love the fold over half-quesadilla wraps that I made. I discovered that any mushy puree works to soften the inside (refried beans, mashed avocado, warmed smashed sweet potatoes). My first combo was deli chicken, homemade orange cranberry sauce, spinach, and the sweet potatoes and the second was a b-fast burrito with avocado, refried beans, scrambled eggs, and mango-peach salsa. Both were amazing. And filling without the heaviness.

Last, I have a suggestion that I think will work wonders if/when you try to make allergen-free wraps: chia! Tonight, I followed Mike of Gluten-free blog's directions for making a chia slurry in the vitamix (2 T chia seeds soaked for 20-30 minutes per cup of water, then vitamixed) instead of using "plain" water when making my buckwheat-Pamela's pancakes. I thought that the chia gel might improve the elasticity and bounce of the pancakes...the same way gluten does. And it works - I got a stack of pliable buckwheat pancakes that did not tear at all. I think it would definitely help you make wraps too. Thanks for your great tips and "technique" recipes!

Amy said...

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Our sandwich experience has improved trememendously thanks to your son's idea to grill the rice tortilla wraps. We have been experimenting with lots of new yummy GF sandwich wrap contents now!

Anonymous said...

I'm in Kelowna BC and have no problem with buying the gf brown rice wraps at the local health food store or my grocery store.

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