A tortilla pizza is dish made by baking pizza-style toppings on top of a tortilla. Pizzas are traditionally a facet of Italian cuisine, and are almost always made with a yeasted bread base. Tortillas, which are flat rounds made of little more than flour and water, are a far cry from a traditional pizza crust, but make for an interesting variation. Most of the time, a tortilla pizza resembles regular Italian pizzas in most respects besides crust, especially when it comes to toppings. Tortilla versions tend to be smaller, however, and as such are often served as an appetizer or finger food.
The basic idea of a pizza is simple: some form of bread, usually shaped into a round, is topped with sauce, cheese, and various meats and vegetables. Once decorated, the pizza must be baked, then cut into wedges and served. With pizza on a tortilla, the tortilla takes the place of the bread. There are many different varieties of tortillas from which to choose, and some make better pizzas than others.
Tortillas are almost always round, which makes them well suited for making easy pizzas. Flour tortillas are often the easiest to find in commercial marketplaces, but are among the most fragile and susceptible to sogginess. Corn tortillas or thicker, homemade or home-style tortillas often work best for those looking for a lot of flavor options. Even on the thickest rounds, however, sauces and heavy toppings like cheese must be used sparingly to prevent the tortilla from growing saturated or losing its shape once cut.
There is no right or wrong way to make a tortilla pizza. A traditional Italian-style tortilla dish will often incorporate marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, olives, and cured meats like pepperoni. Pizza toppings are in no way limited to standard choices, though. A simple olive oil or pesto may act as the sauce, and elements like mushrooms, bell peppers, and goat cheese can be added on to taste. For many cooks, the tortilla pizza is an excellent vehicle for repurposing leftovers and stray ingredients from other meals.
Tortilla pizza is also very popular amongst dieters, particularly those looking to embrace a low-carb lifestyle. Regular pizza crusts usually rank very highly in total carbohydrate count. Carbohydrates are not inherently bad, but do have a tendency to convert very quickly to glucose, a sugar, once digested. They are an important source of energy, but if they are not burned off they can lead to weight gain and other health concerns. Tortillas usually have a far lower carb count than most breads, which makes them theoretically more healthful.
The only way to ensure that a tortilla pizza is a healthy meal is to regulate the toppings. Most of the time, the very nature of the thin bread makes sparse additions almost compulsory. Just the same, a pizza loaded with cheeses and processed meats is not likely to be a health food simply because the tortilla is a more health-conscious choice than deep-dish bread.