Are Palm Hearts The Secret To Making Vegan Seafood?

If you’ve quit eating meat and are on the hunt for a decent substitute, you’re sure to find many options on the market. But just like any meal, it’s important to have options and eating soya or paneer every day can get a little tiring. But luckily, we live in a world where innovations are being made every minute in this space and there is no end of new dishes and ideas pouring forth for delicious meat-free meals.

Heart of Palm is a new contender in the mock meat space. They are the core of a palm tree, native to South America and have been compared to jackfruit in texture and artichokes in taste. Recently their thick and hardy feel has garnered interest as a meat substitute. 

They can usually be found in cans rather than fresh, brined or pickled for a longer shelf life. They can be eaten raw in salads but can be braised, boiled or fried into almost any dish that would usually call for meat. These unassuming veggies are a gluten-free meat substitute and are the perfect consistency to withstand long cooking times – just like meat. 

Heart of palm has one distinct advantage over jackfruit because although the latter has a pull-apart texture that can rival meat, palm hearts are more adept at passing off as seafood. Because they’re dense they hold together better as ‘filets’ and have a smoother feeling, similar to fish or shellfish. 

Try this Heart Of Palm Calamari and see if you’re convinced.


  • 1 can heart of palm
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt (plus more for garnish)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Oil for frying

Optional garnishes:

  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 handful parsley, chopped


  • In a bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and garlic powder. 
  • Over medium heat, place a thick-bottomed skillet and fill with about 2 inches of oil.
  • When the oil is hot, take a handful of heart of palm rings
  • Drain and cut the palm hearts into rings.
  • Dredge the rings in the flour mixture shaking off the excess, and carefully drop them into the hot oil. 
  • Fry,  turning the pieces until they are lightly golden all over. 
  • Drain on paper towel. Serve hot with parsley, lime and a dip of your choice.