Photo: Sarah Ottino
Recipe for Hearts of Palm Calamari with Tartar Sauce by Sarah Ottino
Seafood was one of the hardest things for me to give up when going vegan. Even harder than cheese! Luckily there are a few great substitutes out there for fish and shrimp, but I haven't seen any for calamari yet. The best calamari substitute I've found has been using hearts of palm, the soft center core of a palm tree. It has a mild, almost umami flavor and is very tender. This vegan calamari will definitely not be chewy, which is one part I do not miss about eating seafood!
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
1 can (14 oz) hearts of palm
1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/3 cup water + more for thinning
3 tbsp nori flakes (see tips below if you can't find these at the store)
Oil for frying
Tarter Sauce Ingredients:
1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise (I use the Follow Your Heart brand)
1 tbsp relish
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp nori flakes
1/4 tsp black pepper
Heat 2 inches of oil in a frying pan or pot.
Heat your oven on the lowest temperature possible (mine goes down to 150°F) to keep the fried calamari warm.
Remove the hearts of palm from the can. If they are stored in brine, rinse them well.
Slice the hearts of palm about 1/2 inch wide.
Remove the soft inner parts of the slices to make hollow rings. It's okay if some of the rings break apart.
Mix the batter by combining the flour, baking powder, cornstarch, and garlic in a bowl.
Add 1/3 cup water and mix, then continue to add smaller splashes of water until it becomes similar to pancake batter (thick and smooth with no lumps).
Gently mix in the nori flakes.
Gently toss the hearts of palm rings in the batter, then drop them in the hot oil.
Fry for 3-5 minutes or until they're golden brown.
Remove and place them on a drying rack, then place the rack in the oven to keep the calamari warm.
Repeat with the rest of the rings.
Meanwhile, make the tartar sauce by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl.
Once all the calamari are fried, place them on a serving dish and enjoy immediately.