In this article, we're covering hearts of palm. You'll find out what they taste like, what sort of texture they have, what the best substitutes are and, best of all, how to make delish vegan bites with them.
Let's get to it...
What Do Hearts of Palm Taste Like?
Hearts of palm have a subtle flavor. They remind some people of artichokes while others feel that they taste more like water chestnuts, mild and slightly nutty.
Subtly grassy, these vegetables also have a flavor that brings to mind asparagus with a bit of sweetness instead of bitterness. More than anything else, the nutty and slightly vegetal flavors stand out.
Hearts of Palm Texture
Hearts of palm have such a hearty texture that they're used in tons of traditionally non-vegan recipes to replace meats and seafood. They're crunchy yet creamy, taking on a "meaty" look when shredded.
If you toss a jar of hearts of palm in the food processor, you'll see it develop a texture similar to tuna salad, and it'll remain firm, tender and creamy.
Are Artichoke Hearts and Hearts of Palm the Same Thing?
Artichoke hearts and hearts of palm share characteristics in both name and flavor, but they're different vegetables altogether—they come from totally separate sources.
Artichoke hearts are the dense cores of the artichoke, which is actually a cultivated type of thistle. Hearts of palm, on the other hand, are the tender, innermost parts of specific varieties of palm trees.
How Long Do Hearts of Palm Last?
Most often, you'll find hearts of palm in liquid-filled jars or tins on the supermarket shelves. If you open them up, you might expect no more than a few days of freshness, so use them quickly.
Unopened, a can of hearts of palm can last for months. But did you know you can get fresh hearts of palm? Put these in the fridge and they can last for weeks.
What Is a Good Substitute for Hearts of Palm?
You may already suspect that artichoke hearts can replace hearts of palm in a recipe, and you'd be right. Both have a denseness and vegetal flavor that make them similar.
If the shredded texture is what you're going for, jackfruit can be a winning substitute. The flavor is completely different, but if you douse it in spices and sauce, you'll get a texture that's like pulled pork. They can be found in the grocery stores. You just gotta know where to look or read our article on Where to Buy Jackfruit.
Hearts of Palm Recipe Tips
We've already hinted at some things you can do with hearts of palm, but now it's time to see them in action. Have you ever seen a recipe for vegan calamari?
Yup, it's vegan calamari with hearts of palm. Pretty inventive, huh? (Tip: If you don't want to deep-fry, try oven-baking them.)
Here's what you need for this recipe:
- Canned hearts of palm
- Tempura flour
- Nori seaweed flakes
- Any spices you like (garlic powder might be nice)
- Cooking oil
Veganized crab cakes are popular ways of eating hearts of palm. You can bake these, too, and then add them to a sandwich piled high with lettuce, tomato, onion and dipping sauce.
Grab these ingredients:
- Canned hearts of palm
- Artichoke hearts
- Vegan mayo
- Dijon mustard
- Lemon juice
- Old Bay seasoning
- Frying oil
- Sweet pickle relish
- Fresh dill
Hearts of palm come from certain palm tree varieties. Their flavor is very mild, nutty and something like artichoke hearts. If you want to make your own vegan mock seafoods, use hearts of palm. The texture is perfect for faux crab cakes, mock tuna salad and even "shrimp."