The first time I had legit ceviche — and I mean with fish straight from the ocean to the table — was on a trip to Mexico with my boyfriend. His brother lives there, and we all stayed at the beach for a few days, swimming in the clear warm waters and eating the sweetest, juiciest mango nature has to offer.
Lui and his brother went to a market specifically made for ceviche ingredients, while Lui’s sister-in-law sat on the beachfront porch cutting an array of veggies, avocadoes, cilantro, and limes. It was probably one of the most refreshing, delicious meals I’ve ever had. We ate the leftovers for pretty much every meal after that at the beach, and I was totally down to eat it for the remainder of the trip.
It wasn’t until this summer that I attempted to make my own vegan version of ceviche. Nothing would sound good on those 100º days — we could have vegan steak sandwiches or a quick bowl of pasta, but obviously no one wanted to turn the stove on. The only cold meal we could really make was salad, and that gets tired fast. I remember seeing hearts of palm being used as a vegan fish substitute, so on a trip to Sprouts, I picked up a few cans thinking I’ll use it at some point.
Well, good thing I did, because Lui suggested we make ceviche during the heatwave that hit California a few weeks ago! All the work required is just chopping and refrigerating — doesn’t get much easier than that. And it’s crazy how similar it tastes to the real deal! I let my roommates try it out, and every single one of them double checked to make sure it wasn’t actually fish or shrimp.
The secret there is the flavoring — hearts of palm usually has a very neutral flavor, similar to artichokes, but it can retain a lot of flavor if seasoned well. I just use 2 packets of roasted seaweed snacks, crumbled up and torn, mixed into the hearts of palm. It gives the perfect salty, ocean-y flavor similar to that of shrimp, without requiring any complicated marinating or seasoning.
Now that we’ve figured out the perfect no-cook meal for those extra hot days, it’s been one of our regular meals! With a few minutes of prep and a couple hours of chilling, you get to enjoy this classic Latin seafood dish — no seafood necessary.
Easy Fishless Ceviche Recipe
Easy Fishless Ceviche
- 2 cans hearts of palm chopped
- 2 packs roasted seaweed
- ½ onion chopped
- 1 jalapeño deseeded and chopped
- 1 roma tomato
- 2 Persian cucumbers or ½ regular cucumber
- 2 limes juiced
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup cilantro chopped
- hot sauce
- Drain the hearts of palm. Chop up the hearts of palm into small and medium chunks. Place in a large bowl
- Take the seaweed and crumble the sheets onto the hearts of palm. Mix well until the seaweed is incorporated
- Chop the tomato, onion, jalapeño, and cucumber. Add to the bowl and mix
- Squeeze the juice of two limes into the bowl. Top with chopped cilantro
- Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least two hours
- Serve with tostadas, tortillas, avocado, and hot sauce if desired. Enjoy!
- Some people like to mix hot sauce into the ceviche before cooling, so if you want more spice (and everyone eating it can handle it), go ahead and add that before refrigerating!
- You can either add more jalepeño or omit it completely depending on your preference
- The seaweed is what makes this taste like original ceviche, so it cannot be omitted — if you have vegan furikake, you could use that instead