Annabelle Breakey Photo by: Annabelle Breakey

Yucatecan Tostadas (Salbutes)

Salbutes—crisp little handheld tortillas topped with shredded turkey, avocado, pickled onions, and cabbage or lettuce—are a popular street food in the Yucatán region of Mexico. Serve them for lunch or as a crisp and palate-refreshing snack after Thanksgiving. The sauce is quite hot, so use sparingly. (If you love heat, use 1 habanero chile, as is done in the Yucatán, instead of the 2 serranos.)

Sunset NOVEMBER 2006

  • Yield: Makes 4 servings
  • Total:45 Minutes


  • 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 8 corn tortillas (4 in. or 6 in.)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cups shredded cooked turkey
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 serrano chiles, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • About 1 1/2 cups shredded green and/or red cabbage


1. In a small pan over high heat, cover red onion with cold water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and drain. Put red onion in a small bowl with vinegar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and pepper. Set aside to marinate at least 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 1 week covered and refrigerated.

2. To a small frying pan over high heat, add 1 in. of vegetable oil and heat to 375°. Fry tortillas, one at a time, until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towels.

3. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add sliced white or yellow onion and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring, until onions are soft, about 4 minutes. Add oregano and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add turkey and broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a steady simmer, and cook, partially covered, for 10 minutes to let flavors blend.

4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine chiles, lime juice, orange juice, and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Set aside.

5. To assemble: Divide turkey-onion mixture among the 8 tortillas, then top each with avocado, cabbage, and drained pickled red onion (you will have extra onion; see Notes). Serve with serrano-citrus sauce.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.


Salbutes are best served on 4- to 6-in. tortillas, which make them much easier to pick up and eat. Look for the tortillas in large packs (they freeze well) at Latin American markets or in supermarkets with substantial Latin-food departments. Use leftover pickled red onion on sandwiches or salads.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 530
  • Calories from fat: 54%
  • Protein: 27g
  • Fat: 32g
  • Saturated fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrate: 38g
  • Fiber: 5.6g
  • Sodium: 470mg
  • Cholesterol: 54mg

Go to full version of

Yucatecan Tostadas (Salbutes) recipe