Now that Greek yogurt is available darned near everywhere, I’ve been experimenting with its savory side. I’ve used it instead of sour cream in ranch dressing. I’ve whisked it with a touch of mayo and a spoonful of dijon mustard to mix into tuna.
Cooking with it is daunting, though. I didn’t want to ruin dinner by having it curdle. But the potential pluses outweighed the risk: added protein, calcium and probiotics with fewer calories and fat than other creamy alternatives.
The perfect recipe appeared (where else?) on Pinterest. Wendy at Weekend Gourmet posted Crispy Chicken Tortilla Rollups with Avocado Crema and made my day. I created a vegetarian version, and tweaked the process here and there.
The Greek yogurt does just what I wanted it to — it melds into a creamy, rich, tangy mouthful. With that intensity of flavor, vast quantities of cheese simply aren’t necessary; one measly cup of grated cheddar is plenty. White kidney beans (cannellini beans) are soft and buttery. They’re balanced with the hot chiles and sweet bell pepper.
When the tortillas are brushed with seasoned oil and quickly toasted in a searingly hot oven, they become crisp (hence the recipe name) and flaky, like pastry. They need very little oil to attain that texture.
This dish can come together in about half an hour, and uses pantry and freezer staples. I stuffed the heck out of the tortillas (we love our filling), but you could less if you prefer. Try them with other types of beans, or with shredded cooked chicken or pork. Serve them with salsa, plain Greek yogurt whisked with hot sauce and a squirt of lemon juice, or the avocado sauce from Weekend Gourmet (below).
Crisp and Creamy White Bean Tortilla Rolls
makes six 8-inch rolls
2 tbs. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red (or orange or yellow) bell pepper, finely chopped
1 fresno or jalapeño chile, minced
salt and pepper
1 can (15 oz.) white beans, rinsed and drained
1 small can green chiles, chopped
8 oz. plain Greek yogurt
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
hot sauce, optional
6 flour tortillas, 8-inch size
Creamy Avocado Sauce
1 small avocado
juice of half a lime
plain Greek yogurt, left over from tortillas
salt and pepper
Heat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
Pour 1 tbs. of the oil into a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; sauté for a few minutes until the onion is softened. Add the bell pepper and fresno (or jalapeño) and season lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring frequently, for another 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are softened and have a few browned spots.
Pour the drained beans into a bowl. Scrape the vegetables over the beans. Don’t rinse the skillet; just place it as is, back on the burner. Shut the burner off and swirl in the second tbs. oil. We’ll use this oil in a minute.
Mash some of the beans with the back of a fork. Stir in a mounded half-cup of the yogurt along with the green chilies and the cheddar. Mix well and taste. Both the yogurt and the beans will go far to mellow the chiles. Add salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste.
Spread the tortillas on a flat surface. Divide the filling among them, mounding it in a log down the center of each tortilla. Fold edges to cover the filling. Brush lightly with the reserved oil in the skillet. Place tortillas folded sides down on the prepared cookie sheet. Brush the tops lightly with more oil. Sprinkle very lightly with coarse salt, and with a dusting of chili powder if desired.
Bake for 8 minutes. Pull the sheet out and check; are they browning better on one side? Flip them if they are, brushing them with a little more oil if they look dry. Return them to the oven for another 8-10 minutes until they’re golden and crisp.
While the tortilla rolls toast, make the sauce: Mash the avocado into a small bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over. Stir in the yogurt left over from the filling, above. Season with salt and pepper; taste and adjust seasoning. Add a few dashes of hot sauce if you wish.