I always saw cans of them, sitting there on the shelves in the grocery store, staring back at me blankly. I never knew what people did with them. Pale and white, thick little batons. Let's be real: They don't look too appetizing or appealing. I'd managed to avoid them for much of my life, until I learned of a friend's love of them and request for them at my house.
I'm talking about hearts of palm—the inner core of palm trees. I had no idea what to do with them, but I was willing to give it a whirl. A quick search on our site pulled up some deep-fried goodies, which I'd have to try sometime. But what I found them used for quite often was in salads, and I liked that sound of that. Light, healthy, a bit of mild flavor with a slight crunch, good for combining with all kinds of vegetables.
I was told hearts of palm taste similar to artichokes, and that wasn't far off. They're vegetal and nutty with a slightly creamy center. I sliced them up and tossed them with butterhead lettuce, avocado, and nuts, while a lemon vinaigrette brightened the entire dish.
With a simple grilled chicken, this salad becomes a full meal, and one of my new favorites. Though, to be perfectly honest, I'm also completely content eating them straight out of the can with nothing at all.
Get the recipe for Heart of Palm Salad with Avocado »