This Taco Tuesday, switch things up and try Hibiscus Tacos! Otherwise known as Tacos de Jamaica, these tacos are made with the flowers from the hibiscus plant, making a unique (and delicious) vegan taco!
Even if you call yourself a true taco connoisseur, I bet I can guess one type of taco you haven’t tried — hibiscus tacos! Yep, we’re using the actual flowers to make these tropical tasty Tacos de Jamaica.
The best part? When cooked, hibiscus flowers lose their taste and take on a chewy, meaty texture. It’s an awesome vegan option and is the perfect way to repurpose leftover hibiscus (like after making tea!).
Ingredients in hibiscus flower tacos
Hibiscus flower tacos are made with typical taco fixings like onion, cilantro, and tortillas! To go the extra flavor mile, lather on garlic, chipotle sauce, and lots of lime juice for a creamy, zesty flavor party.
- Hibiscus Flowers: First, you’ll need 2 cups of dried hibiscus flowers. Aim for whole flowers, not cut pieces. I have the best luck finding these online.
- Onion: Next, grab a medium sized white onion. It will need to be diced into fine pieces and divided – half for sautéing with the hibiscus, and half for using in our Mexican cilantro relish.
- Cilantro: ½ cup of finely chopped, fresh cilantro will add a great herby flavor to the tacos.
- Lime: The juice of 1 lime will add a nice tangy touch!
- Garlic: Use 4 cloves of minced garlic to infuse the filling with loads of flavor.
- Chipotle Sauce: We’ll use the chipotle sauce from a jar of adobo peppers! This adds just enough heat and smokiness without overpowering the flavor.
- Salt & Pepper: Season with ½ tsp each of salt and pepper to help amp up the flavors in the tacos.
- Tortillas: Serve in 6 small tortillas. You can use corn tortillas if looking for a gluten-free option!
- Optional Toppings: Optionally serve with your favorite toppings like pineapple, jalapeños, avocado (or avocado lime crema), and sour cream.
How to make tacos de Jamaica
This hibiscus tacos recipe is made in five parts. We’ll start by boiling the hibiscus flowers, and then we’ll create a yummy onion lime relish. From there, we’ll sauté more onions and mix-ins, assemble, and serve!
Step 1: Cook the hibiscus
First, combine the hibiscus and 8 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a boil, partially cover, and then cook for 10 minutes. Strain out the hibiscus, saving the water for another use (like tea or popsicles!). Boiling the flowers like this removes their sour taste, so we’re left with the meaty texture of the fibrous flowers.
Step 2: Create the relish
While the hibiscus boils, finely dice the onion and set half aside. Combine the other half of the onion in a small bowl with the cilantro and lime juice. This is relish transforms these tacos – don’t skip it!
Step 3: Rinse the hibiscus
Next, rinse the hibiscus under hot water until the water runs clear. Drain it well, squeezing out as much moisture as possible.
Step 4: Sauté the hibiscus, onion, & garlic
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the hibiscus, reserved onion, and garlic, and cook until the onion is soft and translucent. It should take about 5 minutes. Add the chipotle sauce, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes until the hibiscus is slightly charred at the edges.
Step 5: Serve
To serve, heat the tortillas on the stove or microwave. Spoon the hibiscus filling into each, and top with the cilantro relish. Optionally top with chopped pineapple, sliced jalapeño, avocado, or sour cream.
Tea to tacos tip
Using the leftover hibiscus tea for another recipe? If so, keep in mind that tea is concentrated! You’ll need to add more water (to taste) to dilute the strong tea flavor and make it suitable for cooking.
More tacos for your cravings
Need more tacos? I know the feeling! Luckily, I have so many recipes for you to check out. Try my favorites below, and explore all of my taco recipes.
- Crispy Avocado Tacos
- Korean Eggplant Tacos
- Mushroom Carnitas Tacos
- Sweet Potato Black Bean Tacos
- Roasted Beet and Chickpea Tacos
- 2 cups dried hibiscus flowers aim for whole flowers, not cut, 165 g
- 1 medium white onion divided
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 Tbsp oil 15 mL
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp chipotle sauce from a jar of adobo peppers
- ½ tsp each salt and pepper
- 6 small tortillas use corn tortillas for gluten-free option
- Optional toppings: pineapple, jalapeno, avocado, sour cream
- Boil: Combine hibiscus and 8 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, partially cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Strain out the hibiscus, saving the water for another use (like tea or popsicles!)
- Relish: While hibiscus boils, finely dice the onion. Set half of the diced onion aside. Combine the other half of the onion in a small bowl with cilantro and lime juice.
- Rinse: Rinse the hibiscus under hot water until water runs clear. Drain well, squeezing out as much moisture as possible.
- Saute: Heat oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add hibiscus, reserved onion, and garlic. Cook until onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add chipotle sauce, salt, and pepper. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes, until hibiscus is slightly charred at the edges.
- Serve: Heat tortillas (on the stove or microwave) then spoon hibiscus filling into each, topping with cilantro relish. Optionally top with chopped pineapple, sliced jalapeno, avocado, or sour cream.