Heart of palm (palmito) is perhaps not appreciated enough outside Brazil, but back home people love it in many types of preparations: pies, pastéis, filling for pasta, and in its purest form: “salada de palmito“.  Let’s practice those words now, by repeating after me four or five times. Ready?  😉

I’ve always been quite fond of a simple salad along the lines of this one pairing fresh, juicy tomatoes with slices of heart of palm, often adding black olives for color contrast and that boost of brine flavor.  But, a few weeks ago Denise, a Brazilian blogger who lives in the US shared her take on salada de palmito, and I knew I had to make it right away.  Denise blogs exclusively on Brazilian recipes, so if you want to learn more about my home country cooking, stop by her blog, and enjoy the tropical ride!



(adapted from Denise’s blog, From Brazil to You)

for the skewers:
6 heart of palm stalks, cut each stalk in half or thirds
8 grape tomatoes
Arugula or spring mix leaves, or any green of your choice
fresh parsley leaves for decoration

for the Lemon-Za’tar Dressing:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon agave nectar
a good pinch of za’tar
salt and pepper to taste

To prepare the salad, assemble 4 salad skewers by inserting and alternating heart of palm chunks, grape tomatoes, salad greens of your choice.

Once skewers are assembled, chill in refrigerator for about 30 minutes, covered with a wet paper towel. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk all the ingredients together well until obtaining a thick and homogeneous dressing.

Drizzle the heart of palm salad skewers with the dressing, and serve sprinkling parsley leaves on top.


to print the recipe, click here

A little trivia about this post: recipe found on May 14th; enjoyed on May 17th; blogged on July 17th. 

Comments:  This was such a fun way to serve heart of palm! You can change it around in many ways, adding red onion chunks (like Denise recommends in her post), or black olives, maybe roasted zucchini slices. I can even envision some grilled halloumi cheese, making it a “Brazil meets Greece” version.

The lemony, acidic flavor of za’tar makes it a great addition to salad dressings. I added a touch of agave nectar to mellow things a little, but you should play with this basic vinaigrette idea and change it to suit your taste.

Denise, thanks for keeping Brazilian food always in my mind, every new post brings a smile to my face, and a sense of nostalgia for foods of my childhood.


 This post had been scheduled for a while, but just a couple of days before going live, I learned that Denise got a very well-deserved prize: her blog was chosen as one of 50 of the best Mom-blogs!  You can read all about it here.  Denise, you deserve all the recognition, I am thrilled for you!


ONE YEAR AGO: Potluck Frittata and Lavoisier

TWO YEARS AGO: Home-made Corn Tortillas

THREE YEARS AGO: Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Peanut Sauce

FOUR YEARS AGO: Brigadeiros: A Brazilian Party!

FIVE YEARS AGO: Lemony Asparagus



  1. I heard Denise’s news yesterday and couldn’t be happier for her. She’s a great blogger but she’s an even nicer person. What a clever salad this is and the dressing is perfect. All we need to do is tweak for our personal preference.


  2. Your friend’s blog must be extra special to win her award. Although I’m unlikely to try a heart of palm salad in then near future, I can see trying it as a pasta filling or in a dessert. Interesting new ingredient to try … thank you for the introduction.🙂


  3. At the risk of sounding provincial, I’m gonna say it…I don’t like heart of palm. I tried it and tried it and tried it, but the outcome was always the same.
    There’s something in the texture that I find off-putting. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.
    Nonetheless, since YOU are recommend it, I’m willing to give heart of palm one last chance. I’ll report back.🙂


    • Oh, if you’ve tried it several times, I will let you off the hook on this. It is true that the texture is “odd” (for lack of a better word).. Maybe you would prefer it in cooked form. there is a recipe I’ve been meaning to make forever, but it’s a bit convoluted and super caloric, but a real delicacy. It is called “empadinhas de palmito”

      take a look at them here

      You would have to reserve those for a carbo-loaded meal before a triathlon 😉

      anyway, I intend to make a recipe using heart of palm in a crustless quiche – shall let you know if it works, it could be a good one for you to try


  4. I love Hearts of palm and made a good salad a while back, Hearts of Palm Salad with Roasted Lemon & Orange Marmalade Dressing…I must go see Denise’s blog. I was scoping out black rice recipes and found one that sounded really good with shrimp a squid a Brazilian recipe.


    • My experience with black rice was not that great, I should re-visit the issue. Mine turned out mushy when I made it several years ago – long before my blogging days. Amazing how time passes, and some ingredient can be totally neglected…


  5. Thanks a lot for your kind, Sally!
    What a great post…I am glad that you enjoyed my simple salad which is quite traditional in our home country although I served it in a different way: In skewers (just like our ‘churrasco’ or barbecue)!!! Yes, there are many possibilities…
    I am such a fan of heart of palms that I can eat both fresh or cooked, by itself or incorporated in many, many dishes.
    Congrats on your well-deserved research recognition. I am happy for you!
    Wishing you a great day!


    • Oh, they are perfect together with steaks, in fact all the barbecue places in Brazil have palmito in their salad bars, but back home you can find excellent quality heart of palm, they are big, meaty, pretty amazing


  6. I’m not incredibly familiar with Brazilian food (except for the meaty restaurants like Fogo de Chao), but this sounds delicious, light, and perfect for the summertime. Will definitely be trying my hand at this.


    • I used to love rodizio type places like Fogo de Chao, but it is soooo much food and meat in one sitting…. hard to face it now that I am older. Oh, well – this is indeed a perfect salad for hot months, I hope you can give it a try


  7. Looks tremendous . . . I have hearts of palm only a handful of times in my life and, I am afraid, it has come out of a tin!! More homework required as is ‘trip’ to Denise’s blog🙂 !


    • Some canned products are not bad, I l ike Roland’s brand. If you ever have a chance to go to Brazil, though, you will be shocked by how incredibly better they are.


  8. It’s true, heart of palm is not super big in American cooking! Though neither are vegetables in general. Hmm. Can you believe I’ve actually never had them? You’ve convinced me that I need to get these skewers in my life.


    • Amazing, you’ve never tried them! Well, as I mentioned, they can be a bit of an acquired taste, both for texture and flavor – Phil loved them from the first time he’d tried… but some people never quite warm to them…


  9. I didn’t realize that Brazil was the highest producer of uncultivated hearts of palm – how cool! I grew up with an appreciation of hearts of palm thanks to my mom who frequently added them to salads. Even today, when I visit her, I will find chopped hearts of palm in her preparations (canned at this stage – she’s in her late 80s afterall😉 ). What a fun presentation on the skewers and that lemon za’atar dressings sounds gorgeous! Screams of summer🙂.


  10. These are very good. I had them at a party a few months ago. I ate several of them not knowing what they were until I finally asked. So good! I should remember them for when we have a summer party here again. They will be perfect!


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