Ceviche is the perfect warm weather food, and this vegan versions is so light that your belly won’t feel weighed down. It’s tender and crispy, tart and zesty and fresh, and oh so perfect served with a crunchy tostada or corn chips. Serve as a light main meal for 2 or as an appetiser for 4!
Have you ever eaten or heard of hearts of palm?
Hearts of palm are the tender, crisp inner core of palm stems. The process of harvesting them is rather intensive and so they are considered a delicacy. Most commonly you’ll find hearts of palms canned or jarred in a salty brine. You can purchase them online, at your local grocery store, or definitely in any Hispanic food store where they are called palmitos. They resemble thick pieces of white asparagus and have a very mild flavour — some say it’s similar to artichokes, but I think the palms are even more bland.
If you’re concerned about the enviroment and the destruction of palm trees, just make sure that you purchase ones grown in countries like Ecuador and Costa Rica where they are specially farmed and areas aren’t being deforested to harvest the palms. These varieties are known as peach palms and are grow specifically for canning because they grow quickly and produce multiple stems, which means that the whole palm isn’t cut down and destroyed*. As the plant grows one large or main stem is selected for cutting, then the plant is left alone until another stem grows large enough for harvesting. This process is repeated again and again and the palm plant can continue to grow and be harvested for up to one decade. (Watch this video where the process is explained in further detail.)
Many people toss hearts of palms into salads or dips. In the meatless community they are quite popular as a seafood substitute in recipes like crab cakes, ceviche (of course), vegan scallops, fish sticks and so much more. I also love to shred them and make countless veganized versions of recipes that I would have used shredded chicken or pork before becoming Pescetarian. Hearts of palms are perfect for all of these recipes because they have a very mild flavour and can absorb spices well.
So as you can see I’m sharing a recipe for a vegan hearts of palm ceviche today. Ceviche is a popular dish in Mexico and many parts of Latin America. All it is, basically, is very fresh raw seafood (like fish, or shrimp, or octopus, crab…) that marinaded in a citrus juice to “cook” it. There are many varieties in the additional ingredients that are mixed with the seafood, but often times it’s onion, tomato, cilantro and lime juice. In Mexico we most commonly use the aforementioned as well as chopped fresh chile — of course, because we love a little heat in our foods.
The recipe I’m sharing with you today is a mixture of Ecuadorian-style ceviche with some Mexican touches. In Mexico we don’t typically use orange juice, brown sugar, bell peppers or olives for our ceviche, but in Ecuador they do. So enjoy this Latin fusion veganized ceviche recipe that shouldn’t take you more than 20 minutes to put together — it depends how fast you can chop all of the ingredients.
Do watch the video below for a perfect visual explanation and you can get the printable recipe right below the video.
(If you don’t see the video right below this text, view it on our YouTube channel by clicking here.)
- One can of whole hearts of palm*
- half a small purple onion, cut into small pieces
- one extra small red bell pepper, cut into small pieces
- one large tomato, cut into small pieces
- one to two Serrano chilies, cut into small pieces & deseeded for milder heat
- 70 grams or 2.5 oz green pitted olives, cut into small pieces & to taste
- one bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped including the stems
- 80 ml or ⅓ cup orange juice
- 3 large limes or ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lime juice
- 4 Tablespoons of olive oil
- salt, to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon)
- half a Tablespoon of brown sugar
- half an avocado, sliced into small pieces
- Drain the hearts of palm and rinse them under cold water. Chop all of the ingredients and measure out the juices. In a large bowl combine the hearts of palm, onion, bell pepper, tomato, chilies, olives and cilantro until well combined. Next drizzle in the orange juice and stir to combine, then add the lime juice and stir again. Then add the olive oil and mix, then the salt and the brown sugar and give it a good mixing. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- After marinating in the fridge give the ceviche a taste, and if needed add more salt or lime juice if needed or desired. Lastly, right before serving, carefully mix in the chopped avocado. (Please notice that I forgot to add the avocado before filming the video and shooting the photos. But I did do so afterwards and it was amazing.)
- Serve in small bowls with either corn chips or tostadas or saltine crackers. To eat with the corn chips or crackers just scoop some of the ceviche onto either of them and enjoy. For tostadas cover the tostada in the ceviche and eat. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to a couple of days -- though it's best to eat straight away as the tomatoes don't keep well.
**If you'd like a more "fishier" taste to your ceviche then I would highly suggest mixing in some seaweed flakes. If so do keep in mind the saltiness and don't add the salt until after you've marinated the ceviche with the seaweed first.