Food On The Hill: ‘Tree Slice’ Veggie Roll-ups

‘Tree slices’ served on a real tree slice. Photo by Felicia Orth
Food On The Hill
By Felicia Orth

“Tree Slice” Veggie Roll-ups

Los Alamos has a new Nature Center opening this week on Earth Day at 2 p.m., and there’ve been recent opportunities to make special snacks for those who contributed substantially to its completion. 

Themes are a large part of what makes cooking fun for me. I had a lot of fun preparing snacks that tied in to those outdoor activities supported by PEEC at the old Nature Center, including hiking (granola), birds and butterflies (the carrot cake below has edible butterflies flying over it), astronomy (the planetary snacks below are simply cherry tomatoes pushed through a cucumber slice), and native plants and trees (veggie tree slices).

I’ll provide the granola recipe next week; this week it’s “tree slices” –a variation on tortilla roll-ups.

What made this project especially fun was working with Marilyn Yeamans, lovely and tireless in her assistance. We decided on the ingredients and worked on the slices together, but she did all of the rolling, and was responsible for the striking visual image the slices presented. We wrapped real tree slices from the old Nature Center in plastic wrap and used them as serving platters.

The veggie tree slices turned out to be our most popular snack. Many were eaten plain; some were eaten with a dollop of the guacamole served nearby. At home, my taster/husband splashed a bit of hot sauce on them. I will definitely make these again, and am happy to report that rolling them the day before cutting and serving presented no problems. Although many roll-ups involve a lot of cream cheese, this recipe calls for vegetables only; it’s the mashed beans that provide the body.

Carrot Cake with entirely edible butterflies. Photo by Felicia Orth

Saturns of cherry tomatoes and cucumber. Photo by Felicia Orth

“Tree Slice” Veggie Roll-ups


Four large tortillas

3 cups cooked, mashed red kidney beans

1 lb cooked, drained, chopped spinach

1 jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil or water, drained and sliced thinly

Asparagus spears, steamed, approximately 25

Salt and pepper


Lay the tortillas on a cutting mat or wax paper, orienting them to trim an inch from each of the shorter sides. Spread the mashed beans nearly to the cut edges and within an inch of the longer edges. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the beans to taste. Spread the spinach lightly along one side and the tomatoes along the other.

Two tortillas trimmed with beans, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. Photo by Felicia Orth

Fill the middle space with 5 asparagus spears. If the spears are not long enough to stretch from one side to the other, piece them together in order to cover all of the middle space.

A tortilla with the asparagus added. Photo by Felicia Orth

Starting from one side, roll the tortilla tightly, patting as you go, to create a solid log. With a sharp knife, cut off each end and nibble, use elsewhere or discard (it will be just tortilla). Slice the log into half-inch pieces and serve. (We got eight slices from each of our logs, using the largest tortillas we could find.)

To make a day ahead, wrap the rolled logs in foil and refrigerate; then slice shortly before serving. Makes 32 slices.

Editor’s note: Felicia Orth is a local home cook; she can be reached at

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