The Best Ways to Cook Heart of Palm

Have you tried heart of palm before? The crunchy white root vegetable is delicious, versatile, and increasing in popularity. But what actually is heart of palm? Is it healthy? And how do you cook it?

What Is Heart of Palm?

The clue is actually in the name. Heart of palm literally comes from the heart (well, the center) of the cabbage palm tree. The vegetable can also be referred to as palm hearts.

According to registered dietician Daniel Preiato, heart of palm is “prized for its culinary versatility.” He notes: “when harvested, young trees are felled and debarked to expose their edible, white inner core, which is then cut into lengths for further processing.”

Similar to white asparagus and artichoke, heart of palm can be used in a number of recipes, including salads, dips, sandwiches, and taco bowls. It’s often used in vegan shellfish recipes, in dishes like plant-based crabcakes and calamari. This is because when cooked, the vegetable can have a tender and flaky texture.

It also absorbs flavor, so when cooked together with sea-based ingredients, like seaweed, it has a fishy taste.

Is Heart of Palm Healthy?

Heart of palm is a low-fat vegetable and it’s a good source of minerals, including potassium, copper, and zinc. One 100-gram serving provides four grams of fiber, as well as four grams of protein, and four grams of carbohydrates.

It’s also high in polyphenol antioxidants. These are compounds that “neutralize free radicals,” notes Preiato.

“[Free radicals] are unstable molecules that can trigger oxidative damage when levels become too high in your body. Oxidative damage is linked to numerous diseases,” he explains. “In turn, antioxidants may reduce your risk of certain conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.”

So, heart of palm is a nutritious addition to your diet. But how do you cook it at home? These 9 vegan recipes will show you the best and simplest ways to cook with heart of palm.

The 9 Best Ways to Cook Heart of Palm


Use heart of palm as the key ingredient in vegan crab cakes. | Vegan Huggs

1. Vegan Crab Cakes

Crispy on the outside, with a deliciously moist, flaky inside, these vegan crab cakes will keep you coming back for more. You won’t miss shellfish at all, because heart of palm provides all the right texture. Old Bay Seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and garlic powder provide all the flavor.

Melissa Huggins, the founder of Vegan Huggs and the creator of this particular dish, grew up in Long Island eating seafood, so she knows her stuff when it comes to fishy recipes. She writes on her blog: “Being vegan, I don’t see any reason to miss out on those wonderful flavors, textures, and seasonings, since I can enjoy them in a cruelty-free way now.”

Check it out here.

Make vegan deep-fried calamari using heart of palm.| Organic Gypsy

2. Vegan Calamari

Do you miss indulging in calamari? The Organic Gypsy has you covered with this vegan deep-fried calamari recipe. All you need to make this tasty treat is heart of palm (of course), tempura flour, all-purpose flour, and oil.

Founder of the blog Carolyn Cooper writes: “This is more of a treat than a staple. As obviously, deep-frying is not the healthiest of things to do. But when the craving hits! This is just such an amazing dish to prepare.”

Check it out here.

These vegan fish sticks are “unbelievably divine.” | Jessica in the Kitchen

3. Vegan Fish Sticks

According to recipe blogger Jessica Hylton Leckie of Jessica in the Kitchen, these vegan beer-battered fish sticks are “unbelievably divine.” The secret ingredient? You guessed it, heart of palm.

According to Leckie, the root vegetable is the most “magical” food. When pulsed and combined with nori and old bay seasoning, you won’t miss fish. She writes: “[heart of palm works] so well here because of its color, its texture, and its flakiness.”

Check it out here.

Swap shredded meat for shredded heart of palm. | Vegan Richa

4. Vegan Tinga Bowl

To make this tinga bowl vegan, Richa Hingle of Vegan Richa replaced the shredded meat with shredded heart of palm. She then added spicy roasted chickpeas, Spanish rice, salt and pepper corn, with a dash of salsa and vegan sour cream. Delicious.

Check it out here.

Replace salted cod with heart of palm. | Jessica in the Kitchen

5. Vegan Ackee and Saltfish

This vegan ackee and saltfish recipe is a twist on Jamaica’s national dish. The latter part, which is salted cod, is replaced by heart of palm and then seasoned with kelp and nori flakes.

Leckie grew up in the Caribbean, and she says this recipe tastes just like home. “The vegan ackee and saltfish you see tastes exactly like the ackee and saltfish from my childhood that my mom would make for us in the British Virgin Islands where I grew up,” she recalls on her blog. “Every bite brought me back to those fond childhood memories. Needless to say I will definitely be making this over and over and I wanted to share it with you today.”

Check it out here.

Enjoy these vegan lobster roll for lunch. | The Edgy Veg

6. Vegan Lobster Roll

Craving a big, juicy lobster roll for lunch? To make this vegan version, you need 10 ingredients, including heart of palm (obv), old bay seasoning, and a sprinkle of paprika. It’s perfect for a warm day outside; serve with salad and fries.

Check it out here.

Serve this vegan ceviche at your next dinner party. | Carrots and Flowers

7. Vegan Ceviche

If you’re after something quick, easy, and delicious, this vegan ceviche ticks all the boxes. If you’re hosting a dinner party with friends, it makes an impressive starter. Megan Sadd, the recipe blogger behind Carrots and Flowers, says: “it tastes so close to the real thing, but no little fishies were harmed in the making.”

Check it out here.

Make your own BBQ sauce to go with this lunchtime recipe.| Eating Bird Food

8. BBQ Sandwich

Who doesn’t enjoy a big juicy BBQ sandwich? To make this vegan version of the classic comfort food, you’ll need shredded heart of palm, homemade BBQ sauce, and some apple cider vinegar coleslaw. Get cracking.

Check it out here.

This vegan taco bowl is fishy and delicious. | Healthy Slow Cooking

9. Vegan Fish Taco Bowl

It doesn’t have to be Tuesday to enjoy a delicious taco. If you’re a seafood lover who doesn’t like to eat animals (or get their hands dirty with regular tacos) this vegan fishy taco bowl is for you.

Check it out here.