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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Gluten-free Tortilla-Shell Salads

Here in the Southwest, we observe Cinco de Mayo (May 5), a day of celebrating Mexican heritage and pride.

Gluten-free flour tortillas make crispy tortilla shell salads.

Gluten-free flour tortillas made crispy tortilla shell salads.

While it has some serious roots in the history of Mexico, this date is also a good excuse to indulge in Mexican food and drink and have a little fun.

In keeping with the Mexican theme, ever craved these crispy little tortilla shells filled with salads? I have, and then I discovered the fluted metal tortilla shell pans (4 to a box, around $10-$12 per box) in my local Kroger grocery store and I just absolutely had to make them.

TO MAKE TORTILLA SHELLS

[1] Place the fluted tortilla shell pans on a rimmed 9×13-inch baking sheet for easier handling and to prevent sliding.

[2] Gently press the flour tortillas into each pan with your hands, taking care not to tear the tortillas. (see photo, below left)  If the tortillas have been refrigerated or are stiff, steam each one on a splatter guard set over a skillet of simmering water, covered with a lid, until soft and pliable, about 5 to 10 seconds. Then press it into the pan while it is still bends easily.

[3] I tried all of the brands of gluten-free flour tortillas and the brand that is easiest to work with is Rudi’s and the flavor that best complements the Mexican salad is Fiesta flavor, although I used all 3 flavors (Spinach, Fiesta, and Regular) with great success.

[4] Bake, following the instructions on your package. The time varies depending on the size of the tortilla but will be under 10 minutes. Let the shells cool in the pan and then remove them and fill with your favorite salad. I used a simple oil-and-vinegar salad dressing but you can use whatever you like.

Gluten-free flour tortillas bake into crispy shells.

Crispy gluten-free tortillas bake into crispy shells.

FILLING

The salad in the photo (above left) contains lettuce, beans, tomatoes, black olives, cheddar cheese, avocado, and some cilantro and a dollop of sour cream but you could add chopped cooked chicken or cooked ground beef as well. Whatever makes a good Mexican filling is fine. Top with your favorite Mexican salsa and a wedge of lime and serve it with your favorite gluten-free beer. Here in Colorado, we’re partial to New Planet, brewed in Boulder, CO.

The best part of this dish? You get to eat the shell so enjoy!!!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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