Hearts of Palm: What is It and How to Eat Palmitos?

You may have come across hearts of palm or palmitos in a recipe, ingredient list, or simply while strolling the isles of your grocery store. 

While this tropical vegetable may seem exotic, it’s actually quite versatile and can be added to a number of your favorite dishes. 

What’s more, this delicious vegetable is generally readily available in most places either fresh or preserved in tins, so why not give it a try? 

What is Heart of Palm?

As you might imagine from the name, hearts of palm are harvested from the inner core of select palm trees species like Bactris Gasipaes and Euterpe Edulis.

This edible part of the tree looks ivory in color, cylindrical in shape, and has a slightly crunchy texture. 

It generally comes from tropical regions of the world such as Central and South America where it is known as “Palmitos”


What Does Heart of Palm Taste Like?

The heart of palm has a mild, slightly sweet yet nutty taste similar to artichoke hearts but with a more crunchy texture like water chestnuts. 

How to Use Palmitos?

Thanks to its mild taste, the heart of palm lends itself to an array of culinary creations, especially in Mexican cuisine.

You can slice it raw into salads for a crisp, refreshing texture, or incorporate it into wraps and sandwiches for an extra layer of sophistication. Adding palmitos to pizza as a unique topping, or blending them into creamy dips for a delightful twist are also popular options. 

With its adaptability, high protein content, and tender texture, palmitos can also be used as a great meat substitute for vegetarians or vegans. 

Note that if you are using fresh palmitos they will usually leave the outer layer intact to keep it fresh, but this needs to be removed before you can eat the inner-most part. 

Heats of Palm Recipe Ideas:

I gave you a few ideas already but if you’re looking for some more recipe ideas, check out his list of meals to try with hearts of palm:

  • Hearts of Palm Salad:
    Combine hearts of palm with cherry tomatoes, avocado, and arugula. Drizzle with a lemon vinaigrette for a refreshing salad.
  • Stuffed Chicken with Palmitos:
    Create a flavorful stuffing by mixing chopped hearts of palm with breadcrumbs, herbs, and Parmesan. Stuff chicken breasts and bake for a delicious main course.
  • Hearts of Palm and Avocado Wraps:
    Roll hearts of palm, avocado, lettuce, and a zesty dressing in a tortilla for a quick and healthy wrap.
  • Grilled Skewers:
    Skewer hearts of palm and cherry tomatoes, then grill for a smoky flavor. Serve with a balsamic glaze for a delightful appetizer.
  • Hearts of Palm Dip:
    Blend hearts of palm with Greek yogurt, garlic, and dill for a creamy dip. Perfect for pairing with pita or veggie sticks.
  • Pasta with Hearts of Palm and Pesto:
    Toss cooked pasta with hearts of palm, cherry tomatoes, and homemade pesto for a vibrant and flavorful pasta dish.
  • Hearts of Palm and Corn Salsa:
    Mix hearts of palm with corn, black beans, red onion, and cilantro to create a refreshing salsa. Perfect as a topping for grilled fish or chicken.
  • Vegetarian Hearts of Palm Tacos:
    Fill taco shells with seasoned hearts of palm, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese for a delicious meatless taco.
  • Palmitos Soup:
    Blend palmitos with vegetable broth, onions, and garlic to create a velvety soup. Garnish with fresh herbs for a delightful starter.
  • Hearts of Palm and Quinoa Bowl:
    Combine cooked quinoa with hearts of palm, cucumber, feta cheese, and lemon dressing for a nutritious and satisfying bowl.

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