Heart of Palm Cakes with Jicama Slaw

I love heart of palm, and I recently learned that it is commonly used as a substitution for crab in vegetarian and vegan restaurants. So I decided to try make these cakes, substituting the heart of palm for the crab that I would usually use. When buying your hearts of palm, be sure to choose a brand that is certified sustainable heart of palm. Heart of palm is the inner core or heart, of a palm tree. Unfortunately, poor harvesting practices can result in palm tree death, and depletion of the rain forests.  There’s no point in choosing a vegetarian, but environmentally irresponsible option, so spending a little more for product from a distributor that uses best practices is important (and it’s still much more affordable than crab).

I wanted to serve the heart of palm cakes over a slaw. Usually, I include some mayo and some sugar or orange juice in slaw, but I had jicama leftover from another meal, so I decided to use that for sweetness. I also added a green apple, which was both sweet and tart, and used the traditional chopped cabbage. Instead of mayo, I created a creamy egg free, dairy-free dressing using chickpeas, chipotle, olive oil and some lime juice for acid. This would also work well as a sauce on top of the cakes, so consider making extra.

Heart of Palm Cakes

You can adjust this recipe based on your pantry and needs– changing the amounts of spices, replacing them with your favorite crab boil mix, adding dill, or subbing bread crumbs for crackers, for example. 


  • 2 jars hearts of palm, drained
  • 1 egg or equivalent egg replacer if vegan (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 2tbsp boiling water works well)
  • 1 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup ground crackers (I used gluten free rice crackers)
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
  • Canola oil

Use a food processor to shred the drained hearts of palm (or alternatively, chop finely by hand.) In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients, except for the canola oil. Place a skillet over medium-high heat and lightly coat with canola oil. Form the hearts of palm mixture into small, round cakes. It should make eight cakes total. When the oil has heated, place a batch of cakes in the skillet. Cook until the first side has browned and then flip. Cook until brown on both sides and warmed through. Continue until all cakes are cooked. Serve with jicama slaw.

Jicama Slaw

The jicama and apple add sweetness to this slaw. I used a mandoline to chop the jicama and apple into matchsticks, but you could easily chop all ingredients by hand.


  • 1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2 jicama, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 green apple, sliced into matchsticks
  • 1/3 cup of cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobe
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, finely chopped (optional)
  • Salt to taste

In a large bowl, combine the chopped cabbage, jicama and apple.

In a food processor, or in a blender, combine the chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, chipotle and lime juice. Combine until smooth and the consistency of a creamy dressing. Add additional lime juice or olive oil if necessary.

Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture. Add the chopped cilantro and distribute evenly. Taste, and add additional chopped jalapeño if more spice is desired. Salt to taste.

Serve the heart of palm cakes over the slaw, with additional salsa if desired. Enjoy!