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Have you ever thought of using hibiscus flowers as a meat substitute? Not me! My pal Steve turned me onto the idea recently, and I’ve been running with it ever since.
I have always been a fan of hibiscus tea, and the good news is that you end up making tea in the process of making the hibiscus “meat.” Hibiscus tea has many health benefits including relief from high blood pressure, digestive and immune support, and helps reduce inflammation.
I was first introduced to hibiscus and hibiscus tea via the passion tea at Starbucks. I’m obsessed with that drink, but it’s so pricey! I found that making it at home is way more affordable and you can achieve the passion flavor by adding a few orange peels while you steep! You can even make it an Arnold Palmer of sorts by adding some lemonade. Passion tea lemonades give me life!
Hibiscus flowers as meat poses a great opportunity for all sorts of cool creations. I chose hibiscus quesadillas as my intro dish to hibiscus meat because of how fast and easy they are to make. If you’re interested in trying hibiscus in other meals, I’d recommend using it as an accessory to a dish and not as a main because texturally it can be a little bizarre.
My boyfriend Kyle and I pounded through so many of these hibiscus quesadillas over the past few weeks! They’re delicious, flavorful, ooey, gooey, and have a small spice kick from the jalapeños. We’ve been pairing them with elote, a recipe I plan on posting sometime closer to summertime, but spoiler: I do have one on the horizon for elote popcorn, and it’s so tasty!
Making hibiscus meat is super easy. All you need to do is bring a pot of water to a boil, toss in some flowers, and let them hydrate. Then drain (save the liquid for hibiscus tea!), add some spices, and yay! You did it!
I’m obsessed with hibiscus quesadillas!
If you’re looking for a solid vegan cheese option for these bad boys, I recommend mixing the cheddar and mozzarella shreds made by So Delicious. These stringy cheesy flavorful shreds are one of my new favorite cheeses! They’re even great *gasp* unmelted.
Once you have the hibiscus meat made and your cheese on hand, assemble the hibiscus quesadillas with a tortilla and add some sautéed jalapeños and shallots while you’re at it! Cook for a few minutes on each side until the tortillas are crisp and brown.
They’re the best, right?
Once you master the hibiscus quesadilla you can move onto other hibiscusy things! What about making hibiscus nachos? Or hibiscus tacos! Tortas! I’ll stop.
And now it’s time for some jams! Still working on a title for this segment so “stay tuned” for that, but I’m getting close! With each recipe, I post a song for you to listen to while you prepare your food.
Today’s track comes from one of my favorite bands from the 80s, Orange Juice. And yes to be ultra “cheesy,” I Can’t Help Myself when it comes to hibiscus quesadillas.
And now, the recipe!
- 8 medium-sized tortillas
- 1 bag vegan shredded cheese, (I used a mixture of So Delicious cheddar and mozzarella)
- 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
- 1 1/2 Tbsp taco seasoning
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil , divided
- 2 Tbsp water
- 3 shallots, sliced
- 3 jalapeños, seeds removed, sliced
- salt, to taste
- fresh cilantro, (optional)
- fresh salsa, (optional)
- Boil water in a medium sized pot. Add the hibiscus and simmer for 5-8 minutes.
- Drain hibiscus (Save the tea if you want it!) and add back into the pot. Reduce heat to medium low, and add the taco seasoning, maple syrup, 1 tsp olive oil, and 2 Tbsp water. Let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if needed to keep from sticking to the bottom.
- In a small skillet add 1 Tbsp olive oil, shallots and jalapeños. Sauté on medium-high until browning occurs. Reduce heat, and stir occasionally until fully cooked for about 5 minutes.
- Prepare the quesadillas! Heat a skillet on medium. Layer half of each tortilla with a small handful of vegan cheese, 2 tablespoons of hibiscus, and 2 tablespoons of peppers and onions. Fold in half and carefully place on the skillet. Cover and cook on each side for 2 minutes until golden brown. Serve with fresh salsa and cilantro (optional).