Friday, November 22, 2013

Recipe for Rich Salad with Hearts of Palm, Avocado, and Radicchio (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

hearts of palm salad
Maybe because of the pricey ingredients, this vegan salad with hearts of palm is called Rich Salad!

(For Phase One Fridays I highlight Phase One recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites, and all during November I've been spotlighting vegetables and salads that I'd love for Thanksgiving.  Now it has been brought to my attention that not everyone wants salad for Thanksgiving (you know who you are) but personally I'd love a salad like this to balance out the other higher-carb foods.  Check out the my Top Ten Thanksgiving Recipes or all the other Thanksgiving Recipes if you're still working on your menu!)

I love hearts of palm, a tasty and low-carb delicacy that I learned to like years ago when I worked at Le Parisien, a French Restaurant in Salt Lake that's no longer in business.  For years I would rarely buy them at grocery store prices, but that changed when Costco started selling them in two-packs of 25 oz. jars at a price that was a lot more affordable.  Now they're something I always have in my pantry.  Still this Rich Salad with Hearts of Palm, Avocado, and Radicchio includes avocado, radicchio, butter lettuce, and pine nuts, all things that aren't really everyday ingredients which may be why it's called Rich Salad!  But when you need something for a special dinner party, this is a delicious salad that's sure to impress, and if you can get those two-packs of hearts of palm from Costco, you can have it a little more often.

Hearts of Palm are are literally the heart of a palm tree, usually the Sabal Palmetto which is the State Tree of Florida.  In the U.S. they used to be called swamp cabbage, and were considered food for the poor during the depression, but now they're a luxury item all over the world.  They used to be somewhat controversial because harvesting the hearts killed the tree, but that has changed with modern growing methods.  They're grown throughout Central and South America, especially in Brazil. Hearts of palm are not only delicious, but they are low in fat, calories, and carbs, and very high in fiber.

I'm crazy about butter lettuce, and I'd splurge on it for a salad like this but you could use green leaf lettuce or romaine if you prefer.  Tear the lettuce apart and wash in a salad spinner or by hand.

Chop up half a head of radicchio (or skip this if you want a more budget-friendly version.) Toss together the lettuce and radicchio.

Whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, then whisk in the olive oil to make the dressing. (It's important to do this before you cut the avocado.)

Cut one cup of thickly-sliced hearts of palm.

Before adding the avocado, I broke the hearts of palm into rings (or pieces for the ones that didn't easily separate into rings.)

Combine the hearts of palm and diced avocado and toss with about 2 T of the dressing.

Toss together the lettuce and radicchio and put a handful in each salad bowl, then top with the hearts of palm and avocado mixture.  Drizzle over a little more dressing and sprinkle with pine nuts if using.  (I was out of pine nuts when I made this, but they are really good in the salad!)

And just for fun, here's the original photo of this salad from 2006 when I used pine nuts but didn't splurge for the radicchio.  There are endless variations of this tasty salad, but don't skip the avocado or hearts of palm!

Rich Salad with Hearts of Palm, Avocado, and Radicchio
(Makes 3-4 small servings, recipe adapted from The Silver Spoon.)

1 small head Boston lettuce (or use green leaf lettuce or romaine, but the Boston lettuce was great in this)
1/2 head radicchio, thinly sliced (optional but good)
1 cup sliced hearts of palm
1 avocado, peeled and diced
2 T pine nuts (optional, could use slivered almonds if you don't want to buy pine nuts)

Dressing Ingredients:
1/2 tsp. lemon zest (zest the lemon first before you squeeze the juice)
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Coarse ground black pepper to taste
Vege-Sal (vegetable seasoned salt) or salt to taste
2 T extra virgin olive oil (use your best olive oil for this)

Tear the lettuce into pieces and wash in salad spinner or by hand, then dry well.  Slice the radicchio into thin slices.  Toss the lettuce and radicchio together.  Stir together the lemon zest, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, and salt, then whisk in the olive oil to make the dressing.  (Make the dressing before you cut the avocado so it doesn't turn brown.)

Slice hearts of palm and put into bowl, separating into rings or breaking into pieces. Peel and dice the avocado and add to hearts of palm; pour over 2 T dressing and toss.

Arrange the lettuce (and radicchio if using) on individual plates or in salad bowls.  Layer the avocado/heart of palm mixture over lettuce.  Drizzle a little more dressing on each salad, sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.

South Beach Suggestions
This would be a perfect South Beach Diet or low-carb salad, suitable for all phases and perfect for a special occasion. For a phase one dinner party I might serve it with Sauteed Scallops with Garlic and Fresh Artichokes with Mom's Dipping Sauce.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

Ten More Tasty Ideas with Hearts of Palm:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Hearts of Palm Salad with Tomatoes, Olives, and Feta from Kalyn's Kitchen
Mango Salad with Hearts of Palm, Radishes, and Lime, and Cilantro from Kalyn's Kitchen
Green Bean Salad with Hearts of Palm, Olives, Red Pepper, and Feta from Kalyn's Kitchen
Arugula Salad with Hearts of Palm, Kalamata Olives and Gorgonzola from Kalyn's Kitchen
Hearts of Palm, Shrimp, and Cheese Pizza from The Perfect Pantry
Hearts of Palm Salad with Cucumber, Tomato, Parsley, and Lime from 5 Second Rule
Hearts of Palm Risotto from Technicolor Kitchen
Grilled Hearts of Palm from Desert Candy
Savory Hearts of Palm Pie with Yogurt Crust from Kitchen Space
Proscuitto-Wrapped Hearts of Palm from Revel and Feast
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. Thanks for the inspiration. I had a can of heart of palm that I bought on a lark and I didn't know what to do with it since I got it. This looks yummy so I just may try it out.

  2. I love hearts of palm. And I love The Silver Spoon, too.

  3. Oh, that looks fabulous Kalyn. I love hearts of palm and avocados, so I'm drooling.

  4. Hi K,

    You know I don't think I've ever had hearts of palm. This looks fab!

  5. I just found you via Farmgirl and its nice to find another Silver Spoon fan. I've been cooking my way through the book since xmas and I love it.

  6. Oh that looks absolutely delicious! What a wonderful combination of flavors and textures.

  7. I love hearts of palm. One of my favorite ways to serve them is with sliced tomatoes, some chopped fresh basil and all of it drizzled with a little olive oil and some rice wine vinegar.

  8. hearts of palm are one of my absolute favorite things. this salad looks to DIE for - i'll be making this SOON. thanks for the great post!

  9. Just purchased the hearts of palm & The Silver Spoon a few weeks ago at our beloved Costco. Thank you for putting the 2 together for me. Can't wait to try it.

  10. Oh I LOVE hearts of palm. And I love how they line up in perfect military fashion in their jar! That salad looks devine-- I usually make a HOP salad with beets, sprouts and feta, but avocado... oh that buttery goodness.

  11. I am an importer of fresh hearts of palm from my family farm in Costa Rica and it literally "breaks my heart" when I read statements referring to the killing of the palm tree. Since the mid 90's, the majority of the hearts of palm you find in cans comes from the self regenerating edible palm "pejebaya" grown predominantly in Costa Rica. The tree used prior to this are what are now being used for their fruit to make acai juice. I would like to invite your guest to my website for more information on Hearts of Palm. I love the Blog and the recipes are great thank you so much for what you do.

  12. We love hearts of palm, Kalyn. This salad looks like a delightful combination! :-)


  13. Well these may not be every day ingredients, but this would turn into an every day salad in my kitchen, I'm sure!

  14. I love the combination of hearts of palm and avocado - had it at a Brazilian restaurant a few years ago. Hearts of palm is really expensive, but worth it for a special salad like yours.

  15. Shirley, Joanne, and Jeanette, so glad you are liking this. I am nuts over hearts of palm, so I'm glad Costco started carrying them!

  16. I have never had hearts of palm before. I always pass them over at the store because I don't know what to do with them. Now I have a recipe to try! Thanks :)

  17. delicious and love the presentation (those cute round ones in the bottom)

    It is fun to revisit a recipe to see how much we can tweak (and see improved photos skills for bloggers)

  18. I don't eat hearts of palm enough. Thanks for the reminder.

  19. All of you must try hearts of palm! They are super tasty and also loaded with fiber and low in calories. I'm crazy over them!

  20. I always keep a bag of pine nuts in my freezer. They are a great addition to any salad - and a little goes a long way!

  21. I keep them in the freezer when I have them too; such a treat!

  22. Kalyn, I wish this recipe had been on the menu last night when we went to dinner at a nearby restaurant. The salad I ordered was such a disappointment. Then sure enough when I checked my email this morning, wowza! Your perfect salad here was waiting in my inbox. I love all of these ingredients:)

  23. Thanks for linking to my one and only hearts of palm recipe. I must admit, I never think of using them in salad, and I can't imagine why not.

  24. Katie, I do adore this salad. I know what you mean; I've had so many disappointing restaurant salads.

    Lydia, they are so amazing in salad. I love hearts of palm!

  25. This was a hit at a dinner party we had recently. I'll be making it more often for sure.


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