Fresh, clean and cold, this Brazilian Cobb Salad features a heart of palm and a Citrus Cashew blended vinaigrette that balances combined flavours. A huge hit at our table with family and friends, this Brazilian Cobb Salad has become my go-to barbecue salad of the summer.
Searching for a salad that would counter strong Caribbean (Jerk Pork) and Argentine (Chimichurri Chicken) flavour, I stumbled across a version of this interesting take on a cobb salad and made it my own to highlight the brightness of ingredients. Fast and easy, it’s a side for your next barbecue, or an amazing meal on its own that’s ready in under 30 minutes.
Brazil’s Deep Food Culture
What better place to look for cold accompaniments to barbecue than the rich food culture of Brazil! A large, diverse county whose mainstays were founded on jungle foraging, are now complemented by the varied influence of colonization and assimilation in a melting pot of striking flavour.
Beans, rice and manioc (a root vegetable used to make farinha, a fine, yellowish flour) make up the base of the Brazilian diet along with fish, seafood and, of course, barbecued meats. Brazil and Argentina both claim the title of barbecue champion of South America. A well-deserved designation for both.
If you’re looking for a deeper read on Brazillian barbecue, hop over to the blog ‘Maria-Brazil’ for a culturally authentic take on what makes Churrasco so special.
What the heck is Heart of Palm?
Heart of palm is a vegetable harvested from the inner centre of coconut, juçara, açaí palm, palmetto, and peach palm tree buds.
Popular throughout South America, parts of Asia and the tropics, heart of palm has a mild, nutty flavour similar to artichokes.
Where do I find Heart of Palm? Look for it along with other speciality canned vegetables in your local grocery store. It’s often grouped Latin food ingredients or, grouped with bamboo shoots and water chestnuts.
Pure Plant Goodness
Whenever I have a menu that’s meat-heavy, I always look for harmony in the sides I serve, both in flavour profile and nutrition.
Brazilian Cobb Salad is an easy stand-alone meal. Beans, corn, peppers, onion, avocado, tomato, and fresh, raw cashews make for a nutrient-dense, plant-powered meal sure to satisfy even the most vehement of vegans. It’s also become my favourite lunch or cold summer evening meal.
The vinaigrette might be my favourite component of this salad. Made with cashews blended with orange juice, lime juice, honey, soya sauce, light oil and a dash of ground cumin, it hits every note in your mouth. Definitely a job for your emersion blender. No immersion blender? I got you. Substitute three tablespoons of cashew butter for the one-third cup of raw cashews in the vinaigrette and blend with your regular whisk. Easy-Peasy.
Plated vs. Tossed
At times I prefer to plate composed salad ingredients separately on a bed of fresh greens. This way guests (and picky family members) can easily avoid foods they don’t like. (You know who you are!) It also makes for a sensational salad centrepiece on your table, and your salad will hold better in the heat.
If your crowd is the adventurous kind, mix your Brazilian Cobb Salad ingredients and toss lightly with the Citrus Cashew vinaigrette before serving. Finish with fresh, chopped cashews or flat-leafed parsley for colour.
Try something different. You’ll be ever so glad you did. “Eu sou Brasileiro!”
Brazilian Cobb Salad or Salada de Palmitos features a heart of palm, tomato, black beans, corn, avocado, red onion, peppers, and a Citrus Cashew vinaigrette for a knock-out cold side for your next barbecue! Pure plant goodness makes for a cold lunch, or hot weather meal in minutes.
Citrus Cashew Vinaigrette:
1/3cup chopped cashews
1/2cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 tablespoons orange juice
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon soya sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt & pepper to taste
Brazilian Cobb Salad
4 – 6cups loosely packed mixed greens
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 – 14.5-ounce can hearts of palm, drained and rinsed, sliced into rounds
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 avocado, diced
1cupblack beans, drained and rinsed
1cupcorn kernels, fresh or frozen, and thawed
2 – 4 tablespoons raw or roasted cashews to finish
Citrus Cashew Vinaigrette: Soak chopped cashews in orange and lime juice to soften, for about 10 minutes. Add honey, soya sauce, cumin, and chopped parsley and pulse lightly with an immersion blender. Add oil, slowly while blending until all oil is mixed and vinaigrette has a relatively smooth, loose, but not runny consistency. Season with salt and pepper and rest in the fridge until ready to serve.
Plate greens then arrange additional ingredients around the edge of your platter or flat bowl: heart of palm, tomato, black beans, corn, avocado, red onion, and peppers. Vary colour and texture for best effect. Finish with cashews and chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional) for a little extra salad pizzaz!
Make ahead: Chop all your core ingredients, with the exception of the avocado, up to a day ahead of time. Store in the fridge, in a sealed container until needed. Likewise for the Citrus Cashew vinaigrette, which if properly sored will last about two weeks.
Cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer and recipe blogger. A Cordon Bleu-trained Chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn and has been sharing all things delicious - right here - since 2010.