Heart of Palm salad is a simple side that's quick and easy to whip up. It's great with meat or fish, or beans and rice for a healthy vegetarian meal.
One of my very favorite parts of traveling is getting to experience the local food. I love it! I'm not afraid to try mystery meat at a street vendor or just point to whatever looks good in a little bakery, even if I have no idea what it is.
I love trying new things that I would never get the chance to try otherwise. Even better than eating exotic food while on vacation is getting the chance to recreate it after I get home.
This Heart of Palm Salad is a recipe that I brought home with me from one of my trips to Costa Rica. It is one of my favorite salads ever, and I especially love it with beans and rice or grilled meat or fish.
After doing a little bit of chopping, this salad is super easy to make and just involves some simple whisking and tossing.
What are palm hearts?
Before I went to Costa Rica the first time, I had never even heard of palm hearts, let alone tried them. Palm hearts are the core of a bud of certain palm trees.
Palm hearts have a mild briny flavor and softer (ie, not crunchy) texture. They remind me a little bit of canned artichoke hearts.
Where can you buy palm hearts?
Although not commonly used in North American cooking, they're reasonably easy to find. Look for them with the canned vegetables, usually in a jar or can.
I have found them even in my smaller, not all that well-stocked neighborhood grocery store. And recently, Costco has been carrying them. They're not cheap though.
They pair perfectly with the crunchy texture and stronger flavors of the bell pepper, celery, and cilantro that make up the rest of this salad.
A simple lemon and mustard-based dressing tops it all off. I like to serve the salad on top of some mild flavored lettuce, like leaf lettuce, Boston bibb, or butter lettuce.
Do you have any favorite vacation-inspired recipes?
Want more vegan salad recipes?
Heart of Palm Salad Nutrition Notes:
Heart of Palm Salad is naturally vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free. It's also relatively low in fat and calories. Serve it with grilled meat or fish, and rice or other grains to make a complete meal.
Costa Rican Heart of Palm Salad
- 25 oz jar Hearts of Palm halved lengthwise and cut into ½" pieces, or 2 smaller jars
- 1 red, orange, or yellow bell bepper cut into ½" pieces
- 3 medium stalks celery cut into ½" pieces
- ¼ cup minced cilantro
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Lettuce eg. romaine or leaf lettuce
- Place hearts of palm, bell pepper, celery and cilantro into a large bowl.
- Whisk lemon juice, water, mustard, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Continue whisking while slowly drizzling in olive oil.
- Toss salad with dressing. Serve over a bed of lettuce.