Updated: Apr 14
Happy National Tortilla Chip Day!
February 24 celebrates a food industry that exploded in recent years. Here's a bit of history and health facts on tortilla chips:
History of Tortilla Chips
Although tortilla chips were invented before the 1940s, it was only after WWII that they made their way into modern food culture. Rebecca Webb Carranza was the president of El Zarpape Tortilla Factory in Los Angeles in the forties. After frying and serving misshapen tortilla pieces to her family, she was encouraged to sell them for 10 cents per bag. (1)
Today, tortilla chips are the third best-selling salty snack in the U.S. after crackers (#1) and potato chips (#2). (2) Kroger has over 80 search results for tortilla chips and Whole Foods offers over 200 tortilla chip products!
Health Facts About Tortilla Chips
Which are better- blue or white/yellow tortilla chips?
Blue tortilla chips, which are made from a specific maize variety (not traditional corn), have less starch and 20% more protein than white or yellow corn tortilla chips, according to a 2007 study.(3)
Are tortilla chips gluten-free?
Corn tortilla chips are naturally gluten-free, but those with celiac disease may want to double check that they don't have added wheat or white flour and weren't processed in a facility that handles products with gluten.
Are tortilla chips vegan and allergen-free?
Tortilla chips are also vegetarian, vegan, and generally free from the top 8 allergens. (Always double check the label if you have a food allergy.)
Are tortilla chips healthy?
Tortilla chips are a healthy snack if you eat chips made from whole grains (including whole corn or stone-ground corn). Paired with a bean or tomato-based salsa, you get a complete protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Enjoy tortilla chips in moderation- especially if they have added salt. They can be addicting and dangerous for those with high blood pressure due to the high sodium levels.
To celebrate National Tortilla Chip Day, enjoy your favorite whole grain tortilla chips with ZESTY Southwest Salsa. It has only 5 ingredients and takes 5 minutes to make. Eat it as a snack, lunch, or even dinner. It's a great go-to meal when you're short on ingredients, time, or cash, as you can rely on canned goods and a couple of fresh veggies.
ZESTY Southwest Salsa
ZESTY Southwest Salsa
1 can no-added-salt/low-sodium black beans (if available)
1 can no-added-salt corn (if available)
½ red onion
Juice of 1 lime
Pour black beans and corn into a colander and rinse well under cold running water. (This eliminates any added salt as well as the stuff that can make you gassy.)
While the beans and corn are being rinsed, dice the onion and tomato.
Combine the veggies into a bowl.
Squeeze the juice from 1 lime over the veggies and stir with a wooden spoon so everything in the bowl is exposed to the lime juice.
Optionally, let the salsa marinate overnight for a zestier flavor. If you like spice, you may opt to add a pinch of chili powder or cayenne.
(1) Nelson, V. (Feb. 7, 2006). Rebecca Webb Carranza, 98; Pioneered creation, manufacture of tortilla chip. Los Angeles Times. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2006-feb-07-me-carranza7-story.html
(2) Williams, E. (2016). 16 delicious facts for National Tortilla Chip Day. Mental Floss. https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/75219/16-delicious-facts-national-tortilla-chip-day
(3) Society of Chemical Industry. "Blue Tortillas May Help Dieters And Diabetics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070730092559.htm>.