Prep time: 10- 15 min
Cook time: 30-40 min
Serves: 10-12 Tacos
Have you heard of Quesabirria?
It is the ultimate Mexican comfort food! Quesadilla and Birria had a baby and well I don’t think I have to say much more than that. For those that don’t know what birria is .. It is an exquisite savory dish, made with beef/goat and a very mild chili broth full of culture and tradition. It is served at most Mexican weddings, quinceanera and.. well basically any large celebration.
Yes I did make a vegan version and YES it is way better than the non-vegan version. Why? Well you have to try it for yourself and let me know.
Tips and Substitutes:
I highly recommend using Miyoko’s shredded pepper jack cheese mixed with vegan Whole Foods 365 shredded mozzarella. However if you have a favorite vegan cheese brand, feel free to use it! I do not recommend using cheddar cheese or anything other than mozzarella, pepper jack or Monterey. As for vegan cheese brands I don’t recommend to help save you the money and experience: Daiya and trader Joe’s brands.
I know what some of your might be thinking..hibiscus flower?! Anna, are you crazy?? No, well I may be a bit crazy in other ways but you have to trust me on this one! It is not tart one bit. The apple cider vinegar reduces the tanginess by 99%, it’s science. The hibiscus flower is chewy just like beef but if you want a much tender texture I suggest you use jackfruit or King Oyster Mushroom (very close to beed texture too1).
Vegan bouillon may be hard to find but if you have a Whole Foods near by make sure to get the vegan no-beef Better than Bouillon. I have also made it with the no-chicken Better than Bouillon and it was also very tasty and not a big difference overall. If you don’t like this option you can also use vegetable broth instead of water. It is less flavorful but still really good!
I would not opt out of adding the carrots here because they provide flavor and you get to add veggies to a delicious meal (yay!). I highy recommend to not use substitutes for anything else in the recipe especially the dried chilis. They are hard to find in typical American grocery stores but can easily be found in most Mexican stores or online.
Makes 10-12 Quesabirrias:
10-12 Corn Tortillas
1 pack Vegan Cheese*
1 1/2 cup Hibiscus flower, dried OR Shredded King Oyster Mushroom
2 1/2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
10 cups of Water
3 Tbsp Beefless Better Than Bouillon
4 Garlic Cloves
1 Pasilla Chili Pepper, dry
5 Guajillo Chili Peppers, dry
1/2 White Onion
2 Carrots, Medium
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 Bay Leaves
1 Arbol Chili Pepper
1 Guajillo Chili Pepper
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 Tsp Black Pepper
1 Tsp Brown Sugar
4 Tbsp Hot Water
1/4 cup Avocado Oil
Add 10 cups of water to a large pot and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce to a low simmer and take about 3 cups of hot water to soak the hibiscus flower in a large bowl.
Soak hibiscus in hot water and apple cider vinegar for minimum of 15 minutes.
Add Bouillon to the simmering water in the pot along with whole cloves of garlic, dry chili peppers, onion and carrots. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until chili peppers have softtened.
Once chilis have softened, add chilis, garlic cloves, onion and about 1/2 cup broth to a blender and blend until extra smooth. At this point you can also take carrots out and chop them into smaller pieces.
Add chili sauce and carrots back into pot along with bay leaves and simmer for another 10-15 minutes or longer if you have the time. The longer you simmer it for, the better the flavors will get.
Hibiscus should be ready to drain and rinse at this point. Rinse it until water runs clear instead of red. With your hands, shred the hibiscus into smaller pieces to represent “shredded beef”. Add hibiscus flowers to the pot.
Make sure hibiscus simmers with birria sauce for at least 15 minutes to absorb the flavor well. At this point taste your birria and add salt/pepper as needed.
While birria is simmering make your chili oil. Add all dry ingredients to blender and blend well until chili powder forms. Add to a small bowl and add hot water, let sit for 5 minutes and then mix in the oil.
Turn griddle (comal) on medium/high heat. Once it is hot enough, add your tortilla. Flip it after about 30 seconds and add cheese and some birria (hibiscus in light birria sauce) to the hot side. Fold it to create your quesadilla and then bush on some chili oil to each side. This helps it get crispy and get that golden/reddish color.
Repeat step 9 until all tortillas are turned into quesabirrias. Each side takes about 3-4 minutes to get crispy and for cheese to get melty! Once done serve with cilantro and dip in birria sauce for extra yum!