Very recently my husband and I returned home from a whirlwind of a trip to Florida, while we were there we were served a salad that featured hearts of palm as a main ingredient. Being a native Californian I didn’t have much experience with this crunchy and tasty little plant, but I mentioned to my husband that we would have to find some of these little beauties when we got home to add to our salad ingredient selections. Upon further research I have come to find out that hearts of palm are native to Florida, and in fact come from Florida’s state tree, the cabbage palm, and are taken from the inner edible portion of the stem. Hearts of palm add a nice flavor variety and crunchy texture to your salad and are low in calories but high in vitamin A and folate. The vitamin A in palm hearts helps aid in cellular reproduction and maintains your vision, while folate or Vitamin B-9 promotes brain function, and aids in cell growth. Also high in minerals, consuming palm hearts contributes to your daily mineral intake, the vegetable contains moderate amounts of iron, phosphorus and zinc. Palm hearts provide a rich source of potassium, providing 1,806 mg of the mineral! So enjoy this tasty and tropical addition to your salads, try it paired with spinach and strawberries! who said salads had to be boring or covered in artificial commercial dressings to cover up the taste of the vegetables to be enjoyed? Try this one out with your family tonight!
Hearts of Palm , Spinach and Strawberry Salad….
For the salad you will need:
1 14.5 oz jar hearts of palm drained, rinsed and chopped
8 cups fresh raw spinach leaves cleaned and ready to go
2 cups strawberries stemmed and sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red or green onion
1/2 cup crumbled raw walnuts or pecans (as a treat we used rosemary flavored pecans)
For the dressing you will need:
1/3 cup flavored vinegar of your choice (I used orange champagne vinegar, which has a small amount of sugar in it)
1/4 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. raw agave nectar
2 garlic cloves pressed
1 Tsp. ground ginger
1 Tsp. Braggs liquid aminos
1/4 Tsp. black pepper
Mix all dressing ingredients together and chill for at least 30 min. Toss all salad ingredients together and toss with dressing just before serving!