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Insider's Viewpoint: Expert Supermarket Advice: Have a Heart. Rosanne Toroian, Food Editor & Information Specialist, Schnuck Markets. Fruits And Veggies More Matters.org

If one of your true loves is hearts of palm, then you know why they are worth the splurge for Valentine’s Day and beyond. They not only add a distinctive color and flavor to foods, they also contain some important nutrients.

Hearts of palm are the smooth and tender interior stalks of a palm tree’s stem. The stalks are approximately 4 inches long with a diameter up to 1½ inches. Most hearts of palm available in the United States are canned, though in many parts of the world, they’re served raw. Because harvesting doesn’t harm the mother plant, heart of palm is a renewable and sustainable food source.

Very low in calories and fat- and cholesterol-free, hearts of palm provide a good source for fiber and vitamin C. Only one cup contains a full 25% of your daily requirement for iron and a full day’s dose of manganese, which is crucial for many bodily functions including the regulation of blood sugar and bone formation.

This ivory-colored vegetable’s delicate flavor resembles a cross between white asparagus and artichoke hearts. Enjoy hearts of palm sliced in salads or marinated whole. Toss them in cold antipasti or tortellini salad, seafood salad, or tomato salad. Hearts of palm can also be sautéed in olive oil with garlic and fresh herbs for a light side dish.

Recipe

Marinated Hearts of Palm Salad

Total Time: 20 minutes plus marinating
Serves: 8

  • 2 limes
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) hearts of palm (drained), each cut crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices
  • 2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, each cut in half
  • 1 small red onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 yellow or red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

From limes, grate 1 teaspoon peel and squeeze ¼ cup juice into large bowl. With whisk, stir in oil, mustard, cumin, salt and black pepper. Gently fold in remaining ingredients until well combined. Refrigerate 2 to 6 hours to marinate.

Rosanne Toroian
Food Editor & Information Specialist
Schnuck Markets, Inc.

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