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!


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Cilantro haters better quit reading right away!  This is a salad for those of us who can take this gorgeous herb in all its green glory…   Very tropical, very Brazilian with the addition of hearts of palm and oranges.


(adapted from Food and Wine magazine)

for the vinaigrette
2/3 cup cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

for the salad
baby romaine lettuce leaves
campari tomatoes, quartered
orange segments
hearts of palm, sliced

Add the cilantro leaves, shallots, lemon juice, vinegar, and honey into a blender. Process until very smooth.  With the blender running, slowly add the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve.

Assemble the salad on individual plates, making a bed of lettuce leaves, adding tomatoes and orange segments on top. Place the hearts of palm slices in the center, drizzle the vinaigrette all over. You should have vinaigrette leftover; it keeps well in the fridge for a few days.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  When we have friends over for dinner, we normally bring the food to the table and let the guests serve themselves. I like informal. But, for this salad I opened an exception, and pre-assembled four individual servings. I wanted to highlight the hearts of palm, and make sure they would shine at the center, lightly covered by the bright green vinaigrette.  I loved the way the plates stood up waiting over the black granite, colorful, bright, as if calling for an early spring…  What am I saying? Spring can never be too early! 😉


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