This refreshing and flavorful Vegan Ceviche is a delicious but fishless version of a traditional Peruvian dish. It makes a great appetizer or meal, especially for a gathering, when served with tortilla chips or in lettuce cups.
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Hey Internet, I’d heard this buzz a while ago about ceviche, back in the omni world I used to live in, before it was “I’m gonna veganize everything” when I learned to cook.
I always loved fish and seafood. I actually already have many vegan seafood recipes on my blog including vegan scallops, vegan salmon, watermelon tuna, vegan tuna melts, vegan tuna casserole, vegan lobster roll, and vegan fish tacos.
Traditional Peruvian ceviche is a seafood dish made from raw seafood that gets cured in lime or lemon juice, and is seasoned with peppers, and commonly served in a slaw or salsa type application with fresh vegetables.
There have been many different takes on ceviche, but from what I gather, there’s usually the main component (fish, or hearts of palm in our case) with some kind of onions, peppers, tomatoes, sometimes avocado, and commonly a sweet fruit to balance the flavor palate.
So for my vegan ceviche recipe, we’re going to use all of those things plus a few others to give it a truly delicious flavor like mango for sweetness, avocado for creaminess, cucumber for freshness, and cilantro for a pungent flavor (leave out if you don’t like it).
This dish is a fantastic appetizer, side dish, or even a meal when paired with some great tortilla chips (I love Late July Jalapeño Lime chips or it’s also great in little lettuce cups (I use romaine hearts often for vegan ceviche boats), on crackers, in tortillas or taco shells… or with a spoon!).
Why This Recipe Works
I know, you’re thinking that hearts of palm aren't fish, so how’s it gonna taste like it?
Well, hearts of palm already has an oddly seafood-ish undertone in its flavors, so if you complement it by adding a pinch of salt, some lime or lemon juice, and a pinch of dulse flakes (which are a type of seaweed, but I’ll get into those later), you’re really going to have an amazing seafood-like flavor.
I did something similar in my vegan lobster rolls recipe and vegan fish tacos recipes, both of which are made with hearts of palm. I use similar flavors in a few chickpea dishes as well, like my vegan tuna melts and my vegan tuna casserole.
This recipe is really REALLY easy to put together. You don't even need any directions for it.
All you do is put the ingredients in a large bowl, add the lime juice and seasonings and mix it really well (mix gently though as the layers of the hearts of palm separate really easy, and personally I prefer the larger chunks) and there you go! Vegan Ceviche!
You should definitely taste it at this point and see if needs more lime juice, salt, whatever. If you're looking for a little heat, add some red pepper flakes.
You can store this in the fridge for a few hours before serving. The flavors do get even better after they've had a chance to marry for a few hours.
But I definitely would not make this vegetarian ceviche more than a day in advance since the more delicate veggies/fruits may get soggy and the avocado will brown.
Alright, enough yapping. Let’s talk about what’s in this thing.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- 2 14-ounce cans Hearts of Palm: These are usually found canned or jarred in the canned vegetables or pickles aisle of grocery stores, or you can buy hearts of palm online. If you don’t want to use them for whatever reason, you can substitute chickpeas.
- 2 cups diced cucumber: I recommend seedless (English) cucumbers or those small Persian cucumbers. If you're using a regular seeded cucumber, peel off the skin and scoop out the seeds before using to keep the right texture for your vegan ceviche.
- 1 cup diced avocado: For an even creamier vegetarian ceviche, I recommend a cup and half or two cups.
- 1 cup diced mango: A touch of sweetness is wonderful in this. It really balances out all the flavors. Pineapples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, or even apricots would all also work in place of mango.
- 1 cup diced orange bell pepper: Actually any color of bell pepper is nice but I used orange bell pepper for the rainbow effect. I don't recommend green pepper because they are a little more bitter. Red, orange, or yellow are all great choices.
- 1 cup chopped grape or cherry tomatoes: I find large tomatoes have too liquid for vegan ceviche. If you must use them, scoop out the liquid and seeds and chop the flesh. Grape or cherry tomatoes also tend to be sweeter and more flavorful.
- ¼ - ½ cup red onion, finely diced: I stay on the side of ¼ cup of chopped red onion because I'm less of a fan of raw onion, but it does add a nice flavor to our dish. Use more if you like it a lot!
- 2-3 jalapeños, minced: If you aren't a fan of spicy food you can remove the seeds and err on the side of fewer jalapeños, but they add a nice zing to our vegetarian ceviche. If you love spicy food, feel free to leave in the seeds, use more, or use a spicier pepper like serrano.
- ¼ - ½ cup cilantro or parsley: Cilantro is optional but it adds a LOT of awesome flavor here. If you or anyone you’re serving this to doesn’t like cilantro, sub another herb like parsley or dill, or just leave it out. Mr. Zardyplants (my husband) does not like cilantro, so I do parsley instead. My bowl gets cilantro too though!
- ¼ cup lime juice: Lemon juice will also work, but lime is particularly nice here.
- 1 teaspoon sea salt: Use the salt of your choice, and use less if needed. We like sea salt because it’s not as salty as regular salt, ya know? If all you have is table salt or kosher salt, I would add half the amount, mix, and taste before adding more.
- 1 teaspoon dulse flakes: These are optional but if you’d like there to be a slight seafood flavor in your vegan ceviche (since this dish is traditionally made with fish), I highly recommend dulse flakes. You could alternatively use kelp granules or flakes or even a few crumbled nori sheets.
How to Make Vegan Ceviche
This is just one of those recipes that is so easy I feel ridiculous writing instructions for it. However, I have a few tips on how to make it last depending on when you plan to serve it, etc.
- Drain the hearts of palm and cut them in half lengthwise and then into ¼-inch thick half moons. If you bought salad cut hearts of palm, you can just cut them into smaller chunks. Add to a large bowl.
- Cut up the rest of the elements of your vegan ceviche and add to the bowl. If you are adding avocado, I do recommend adding it right before serving.
- Add chopped cilantro if you’d like. You can also just put it in a separate bowl and let everyone serve themselves, so if someone’s not a cilantro lover they can still eat the dish. Or use parsley which is what I usually do. Then I add cilantro to my bowl.
- Stir gently to mix all the ingredients. The hearts of palm layers can easily separate and while it will still taste good, I think this vegetarian ceviche tastes better with larger chunks of hearts of palm.
- Add the lime juice, sea salt, and dulse flakes (if using). Stir gently again but thoroughly.
- Serve with tortilla chips or in lettuce leaves/boats and enjoy!
- I recommend serving this immediately for the freshest veggies. If you are not serving it right away, store the dressing separately, and toss right before serving. If the avocado is mixed in and you’re storing leftovers, place all the leftovers in a container and squeeze a little extra lime juice over the top, it will help prevent the avocado from browning. Refrigerate 1-3 days in an airtight container. This is best the first day though since delicate produce like cut cucumbers and tomatoes can get soggy after a while.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can store this in the fridge for a few hours before serving. The flavors do get even better after they've had a chance to marry for a few hours. But I definitely would not make this vegetarian ceviche more than a day in advance since the more delicate veggies/fruits may get soggy and the avocado will brown.
Absolutely! This dish is basically a salad without leaves (unless you count the cilantro and/or parsley). It's fresh vegetables, fruit, and there isn't even any oil. This is a whole food plant based ceviche perfect for a light yet filling meal or appetizer. Also a great dish for summer since it requires no cooking an it's light and refreshing. I'd pair it with a piña colada smoothie.
Yup, you can omit the jalapeños entirely to make it completely not spicy. Or add one jalapeño with the seeds removed for a tiny bit of heat. If you add too much and it's too spicy, add more of everything else, especially the mango and avocado as they will help with the excess heat.
Sure! Leave the seeds in your jalapeños and add more, or add a spicier pepper like serrano. Or add some red pepper flakes.
Pro Tips for Success
- Don't add the avocado until right before serving.
- Similarly, don't make this recipe more than a few hours in advance. It's best freshly served so all the veggies are still crisp and bright.
- If bringing to a group where you're unsure of people's likes and dislikes, I'd leave out the cilantro. You can either accompany your vegan ceviche with a small bowl of chopped cilantro for people to add themselves or you can substitute parsley instead.
- Don't want any heat? Don't add any spicy peppers at all! It's your dish; make it according to your preferences!
- Along those lines if you don't want a seafood-esque flavor, don't add the dulse flakes. It will still be delicious with the lime juice and sat.
More Vegan Recipes Perfect for a BBQ or Gathering
Vegans love cookouts just like most people do, but it can be difficult for a vegan to show up to an omni gathering with nothing to eat. This vegetarian ceviche is perfect for vegans and non-vegans alike.
Want to do an all-vegan BBQ or cookout? Try some of these recipes:
- Vegan Sausage or Vegan Pigs in a Blanket
- Vegan Lobster Rolls
- Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad with Lemon Miso Tahini
- Vegan Macaroni Salad
- Vegan Ranch Pasta Salad
- White Bean Cucumber Salad
- Vegan Watermelon Feta Salad
- Vegan Elote with homemade vegan cotija cheese and vegan mayo
- Orzo Pesto Salad
- Sweet Potato Hummus Salad, part of my free e-cookbook you can get by signing up for my weekly newsletter
Oh and a few desserts?