My husband has been making a lot of hibiscus tea lately. He brought home a huge bag of dried hibiscus leaves and, out of curiosity, I ate a few leaves straight up. They are delicious – taste just as delightful as they smell!
That got me thinking about using them in a recipe – should I sprinkle them on a salad or make ice cream? With Thanksgiving approaching, I set out to to make a side dish featuring hibiscus instead of the traditional cranberry sauce. What resulted was a beautiful, fragrant glaze that could be used either with the squash as a side dish or – better yet – as dessert!
There are only three ingredients, making this super simple to put together. If you can’t find hibiscus leaves at your market, try using the contents of a hibiscus tea bag. Even though many hibiscus teas are combined with other things, such as rose petals, it should work just as well.
Ingredients (serves about 8)
4 cups diced butternut squash (I cheated and used the pre-cut squash from Trader Joe!)
1 tablespoon dried hibiscus leaves
1/2 cup agave nectar (or honey)
1 tablespoon boiling water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Line one or two cookie sheets with tin foil (makes for easy clean up!).
- In a large mixing bowl, drizzle the oil over the squash cubes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Gently toss with your hands to make sure all cubes are evenly coated.
- Evenly spread the squash cubes over the baking tray(s) in a single layer. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes (depending on size of cubes). Turn the sheet(s) occasionally to ensure even cooking. Test with a fork to make sure they are fully cooked.
- To make the glaze, turn the dried hibiscus leaves into a powder by grinding it in a high-speed blender or coffee grinder. Then use a fine mesh tea strainer to sift out any stems and larger particles. You should end up with about 1/2 tablespoon of hibiscus powder.
- Bring a cup of water to a boil. Place the hibiscus powder and 1 tablespoon of boiling water in a small butter melter and stir until smooth. Add the agave nectar or honey. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a slow boil, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Reduce the heat to low and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, to slightly thicken the glaze.
- To serve, place a couple of spoonfuls of the glaze on the bottom of each serving dish. Arrange roasted squash on top. Serve hot immediately.