Me and hearts of palm, we have a thing. I always loved them (more on why you should love them too in two tics). And then, when I was pregnant with Charlie, they were my top craving. I ate at least a half jar a day. Look, I wasn’t eating a half a cheesecake, so I felt good about that. (Note: I’m not saying there was NO cheesecake, just no DAILY cheesecake.)
Hearts of palm can be used right from the jar or can, sliced or diced and added in vegetable or grain salads, or wrapped with a piece of prosciutto or ham and eaten as a snack or appetizer. They can also be used in cooked dishes, like stir-fries, or this Brazilian Casserole of Shrimp and Hearts of Palm (Camarões com Palmito).
Hearts of palm also have similarity to the texture of crab or lobster meat, and I have used them chopped in place of those shellfish in different recipes, like crab cakes or hot dips. You could use hearts of palm instead of artichokes in this hot cheesy dip as well (vegetarian, but not vegan!).
Table of Contents
What Are Hearts of Palm?
The most obvious question here is….are these really the hearts of palm trees? And the answer is yes, they are! They come from the center of palm trees, most often the cabbage palm.
What Do Hearts of Palm Look Like?
Hearts of palm look like long thick white asparagus, minus the tips. They have thick concentric layers within their column-like shape.
What Do Hearts of Palm Taste Like?
Texturally a good heart of palm is a lovely balance between tender and crunch. The taste is slightly reminiscent of artichoke hearts, but more delicate. The flavor similarity is underscored especially when they are jarred or canned, as they are packaged with a liquid that is similar to the liquid used with artichoke hearts.
How to Store Hearts of Palm
Hearts of palm are usually sold jarred or canned. Before they are opened, they can be stored at room temperature. Once opened, they can be resealed and stored in the fridge for about a week before they start to get a bit mushy and past their prime. Check the expiration date on the can or jar.
How to Eat Hearts of Palm: Here’s everything you need to know about how to buy, store, prepare, and cook hearts of palm, plus recipes!
Hearts of palm are good to eat straight from the can — I’m definitely guilty of this — but they’re also a fabulous addition to salads, grain bowls, and stir-fries. Just open the can, rinse and drain them out, and chop into bite-size pieces. They can also be a fun vegetarian substitute for crab!
It depends. There are some harvesting techniques that will not kill the tree, and if you are a regular hearts of palm consumer, you may want to look into the harvesting practices of your favorite brand. There are some new growing and harvesting methods that produce more hearts of palm from one plant without doing harm to the plant itself.
Fresh hearts of palm are very hard to find. If you do find them, wow, please give me a call?
Hearts of palm are a good source of many nutrients. They contain protein and fiber, and are high in vitamin C and vitamin B6, calcium, niacin, phosphorous and zinc. Not many vegetables are high in protein, so this is good to know, especially for vegetarians. They are also low in calories, with only about 40 calories in a cup.
Hearts of Palm Recipes
Hearts of palm can be used in all sorts of dishes. Here’s a few recipes to try:
Modern Three Bean Salad with Hearts of Palm
In certain parts of the country, a good 3-bean salad is almost always the anchor to a potluck or picnic, or any kind of gathering where sturdy, crowd-pleasing, portable, and frankly inexpensive food is wanted. You’ll be so please at how the simple addition of hearts of palm turns a bean salad (which can feel a bit heavy and monotonous) into something fresh and new.
- Hearts of palm – Make sure to drain your star ingredient before beginning to cook with it!
- Beans – The three beans in this recipe are kidney beans, chickpeas, and black beans. Rinse and drain all of them before adding them to the salad.
- Spelt or farro – Both spelt and farro are lesser-used ancient grains that deserve some extra love. Take your pick for this recipe.
- Herbs – Parsley, basil, and thyme work together here as an herb mix.
- Rice vinegar – The base of your salad dressing is rice vinegar, which is a less-acidic vinegar with a nice sweetness that comes out in this recipe.
- Olive oil – My golden rule is that the better the oil you use, the better your salad will taste.
- Red onion – Red onion adds a much-needed crunch and some sharpness to the mixture.
How to Cook Modern Three Bean Salad with Hearts of Palm
- Combine beans, grain, and hearts: In a large serving bowl mix together the sliced hearts of palm with the three beans and cooked grains.
- Make the dressing: In a small bowl or container mix together the parsley, basil, thyme, vinegar, olive oil, onion and salt and pepper.
- Finish the salad. Pour the dressing over the bean salad and toss to coat everything well. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
Modern Three Bean Salad with Hearts of Palm
- 1 14-ounce can hearts of palm drained
- 1 15.5-ounce can kidney beans rinsed and drained
- 1 15.5-ounce can chickpeas beans rinsed and drained
- 1 15.5-ounce can black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 cup cooked, cooled spelt or farro (see above or package directions)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup finely chopped red onion
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Rinse the hearts of palm and cut them into ½–inch slices. In a large serving bowl mix together the hearts of palm, kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, and cooked spelt.
- In a small bowl or container, mix together the parsley, basil, thyme, vinegar, olive oil, onion, and salt and pepper. Stir or shake to combine well, then pour the dressing over the bean salad and toss to coat everything well. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.