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Tortilla Tower

Courtesy of Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten Free Cooking with Oonagh

Chef Oonagh Tortilla Tower RecipeThe Tortilla Tower (a.k.a. lazy quesadilla) is great for a quick back-to-school dinner because it requires almost no cooking. Standing making quesadillas for a family is a pain, so I make a tortilla tower instead. Use your favorite corn or gluten-free flour tortillas for this recipe. I use Mission or Ole corn tortillas that are labeled gluten-free. Add as many vegetables as you like. Zucchini and summer squash cut into small pieces are tasty additions. You can easily leave out meat to make it vegetarian. This tortilla filling is also excellent served warm as a dip with tortilla chips or served over rice with cilantro, avocado, sour cream, cheese and salsa

There are quite a few varieties of pepper jelly on the market. Remember that a spoonful of pepper jelly will taste far hotter than once it is mixed with other ingredients. Adjust the amount of pepper jelly you add according to your taste. If you want more heat, you can also add Tabasco or another hot sauce. I use Trappist brand pepper jelly, which is made by monks in MA.

Watch Chef Oonagh make this on ABC’s Cook’s Corner.


  • 10 crêpes or 5” (12 cm) corn tortillas
  • 1 lb. (500 g) Ricotta cheese, whole milk or skimmed. I use Galbani, which is very firm.
  • 6 Tbsp. (90 ml) hot pepper jelly
  • 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) butter or oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into small pieces
  • 11 oz. (300 g) can of corn, drained, or fresh corn sliced from 1 cob
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) fresh parsley, chopped
  • Cilantro to taste, optional
  • ½ lb. (250 g) finely chopped ham. Do not use thin deli slices. I use a 7 oz. Jones pre-cooked ham steak, and you could also try with leftover cooked chicken, pork, shrimp, etc.
  • 1 cup (4 oz., 125 g) of Mexican cheese blend for filling and to sprinkle on top, optional


  1. Use a 8-cup microwave safe bowl to cook the onion and bell pepper in 1 Tbsp. butter or oil in the microwave for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add corn. If you use fresh corn, then cook for a few more minutes. Add pepper jelly and let melt.
  3. Add ricotta cheese, parsley and ham. Taste and see if you want any salt and pepper or additional heat added.
  4. Get two microwave safe or oven safe dinner plates, depending on whether you want to use the microwave or oven.
  5. Put one tortilla on each plate, scoop some filling on top and spread out. Repeat with 4 more tortillas and filling on each plate, dividing the filling up as evenly as you can, and topping off the stack with a tortilla.
  6. Sprinkle with Mexican cheese. Cover dish. Bake in 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes until filling is heated through. There is nothing in the filling that actually needs cooking, so don’t overcook. OR to make it simpler, just zap the tortilla stack in microwave. If the filling oozes out of the sides, you can just scoop it up.

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