Pako Salad: How to Eat, Serve & Enjoy This Healthy Dish
Pako salad (aka paco) is also called fiddlehead fern salad, and it’s a healthy salad made from edible fern.
The salad is comprised of paco leaves, salted eggs, tomatoes, and red onions. The dressing is made of black pepper, vinegar, sugar, and salt. This gives it a subtle sour flavor.
Fiddlehead fern salad is prepared in minutes and doesn’t require much cooking or prep time, so it’s one of the best healthy salad recipes for those in a rush.
In the Philippines, pako is a common plant that frequently grows on gravel bars along the banks of rivers and streams. It’s widely distributed across the country because of its abundance.
Young fern fronds, often known as “fiddleheads,” are consumed as a green vegetable, either raw or cooked, and are also used as a seasoning in salads and stews.
When pako is readily available in the market, we often saute it with sotanghon or vermicelli, or make pako salad or ensaladang pako, one of our favorite vegetable salads.
Pako is a common component in recipes in the province of Aurora (located in the eastern portion of Central Luzon), and is sometimes used as a stand-in for other vegetables that are unavailable there.
When you visit Aurora, you can enjoy their pako dishes, which are accessible at neighborhood restaurants and eateries, particularly in the town of Baler.
The flavor of ensaladang pako is best described as a cross between asparagus and artichoke, with a slightly bitter aftertaste.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Origin
- 2 Get Your Taste Buds Dancing
- 3 The Different Variations of Pako Salad
- 4 Cooking Tips for the Perfect Pako Salad
- 5 How to Enjoy Pako Salad to the Fullest
- 6 Why Pako Salad is the Perfect Addition to Your Healthy Diet
- 6.1 Helps Maintain Healthy Bones and Nervous System
- 6.2 Reduces the Risk of Heart and Vascular Problems
- 6.3 Helps Reduce Pain and Discomfort
- 6.4 Facilitates Digestive System Function
- 6.5 Perfect for a Nutritious and Delicious Salad
- 6.6 Ensures You Receive the Right Nutrient Levels
- 6.7 Reduces Painful Periods
- 6.8 Easy to Incorporate into Your Diet
- 7 Other dishes you might enjoy if you love pako salad
- 8 Conclusion
The ensaladang pako salad recipe originates from the Philippines. It’s a popular Filipino dish that can be found in many restaurants across the country.
The dish is also popular in other Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand and Vietnam.
This recipe is very old, and pako has been cultivated for centuries in the Philippines. It’s believed to have originated in the country’s mountainous regions.
Locals have probably been making pako salad for centuries.
Get Your Taste Buds Dancing
Pako salad is a refreshing and healthy Filipino dish made with fern leaves, tomatoes, onions, and a tangy dressing. The fern leaves used in this salad are called “pako” in the Philippines, and they are a popular ingredient in Filipino cuisine. The dish is a perfect combination of sweet, sour, and salty flavors that will leave your taste buds dancing.
How to Make Pako Salad
Here’s a peachy recipe for you to try:
- 2 cups of pako leaves, blanched and sliced into small pieces
- 1 small red onion, sliced
- 1 small tomato, sliced
- 1 hard-boiled egg, sliced
- 1/4 cup of black olives, sliced
- 1/4 cup of red bell pepper, sliced
- 1/4 cup of vinegar
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1 tsp of sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the pako leaves, onion, tomato, egg, olives, and red bell pepper in a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix the vinegar, olive oil, sugar, salt, and pepper to make the dressing.
- Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
- Set the salad aside for a few minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
- Serve and enjoy!
What Makes This Recipe Stand Out?
- The combination of blanched pako leaves, sliced onion, tomato, and egg makes for a colorful and flavorful dish.
- The dressing is a perfect balance of sweet and sour, thanks to the addition of sugar and vinegar.
- The black olives and red bell pepper add a nice crunch to the salad.
- This recipe is a copy of the famous Panlasang Pinoy recipe, which has received rave reviews from food bloggers and enthusiasts.
The Different Variations of Pako Salad
Pako salad is a savory dish that is commonly associated with pork. It is easy to prepare and is often served as a side dish or appetizer. There are different variations of pako salad, and they are related to the different regions in the Philippines. Some of the popular variations include:
- Ginataang Pako- This is a variation of pako salad that is cooked with coconut milk. It has a creamy and savory taste that is perfect for those who love coconut milk-based dishes.
- Sinigang na Pako- This variation of pako salad is cooked with tamarind, which gives it a sour taste. It is a popular dish in the Philippines, and it is often served as a main dish.
- Ginisang Munggo with Pako- This variation of pako salad is cooked with mung beans and tomato. It has a savory taste that is perfect for those who love tomato-based dishes.
- Sardines with Pako- This variation of pako salad is cooked with sardines. It is a popular dish in the Philippines, and it is often served as a main dish.
The History and Culture of Pako Salad
Pako salad has a rich history and culture in the Philippines. Here are some interesting facts about the history and culture of pako salad:
- Pako salad is made from the shoots of the jute plant, also known as saluyot or labong in the Philippines. The shoots are harvested from the bamboo-like plant and are used as the main ingredient for the dish.
- Pako salad is a dish that has been adapted from different Asian cuisines. It is similar to the Korean dish, japchae, which is made from glass noodles and vegetables.
- Pako salad is a popular dish in the Philippines, and it is often served during special occasions and events. It is considered a delicacy in some parts of the country.
- Pako salad is a healthy dish that is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of fiber, protein, and calcium.
- Pako salad is a dish that is easy to prepare and is perfect for those who are looking for a quick and healthy meal.
The Significance of Pako Salad in Filipino Cuisine
Pako salad is a dish that is commonly associated with Filipino cuisine. It is a dish that is often served in Filipino households, and it is considered a staple dish in some parts of the country. Here are some reasons why pako salad is significant in Filipino cuisine:
- Pako salad is a dish that is easy to prepare and is perfect for those who are looking for a quick and healthy meal.
- Pako salad is a dish that is rich in vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy option for those who are health-conscious.
- Pako salad is a dish that is associated with Filipino culture and tradition. It is a dish that has been passed down from generation to generation, and it is a dish that is often served during special occasions and events.
Cooking Tips for the Perfect Pako Salad
- When picking pako leaves, go for the young and fresh ones as they are more tender and have a milder taste.
- Clean the leaves carefully by washing them in cold water to remove any impurities.
- Soften the leaves by blanching them in boiling water for a minute, then remove and immediately place them in ice water to stop the cooking process.
- Dry the leaves with a paper towel to ensure that they are free of excess moisture.
Creating the Perfect Dressing
- For a basic dressing, mix together equal parts of calamansi or lime juice and soy sauce.
- Add a bit of grated chili for some heat, or squeeze in some lime for a tangy flavor.
- Experiment with different variations and pairings to find the best dressing for your taste.
Serving and Storing
- Pako salad is usually served cold, so it’s best to store it in the fridge before serving.
- To ensure that the salad stays fresh, store the dressing separately and add it just before serving.
- When serving, make sure that the pako leaves are at room temperature to bring out their full flavor.
- Pako salad is a great dish for people looking for a healthy and nutritious meal.
- The fern leaves are high in protein and carbohydrates, providing the body with the energy it needs to perform.
- Pako leaves are also rich in minerals such as calcium and iron, which are critical for growth and blood health.
- Pako salad is normally eaten raw, but it can also be boiled or grilled for a different taste.
- When boiled, double-check that the leaves are properly cleaned to remove any impurities.
- Grilling the leaves can help to bring out their natural flavors and create a smoky taste.
- When adding water to the pot for blanching, make sure to add enough to cover the leaves completely.
- To remove any bitterness, add a bit of salt to the boiling water before blanching.
- If you want to add eggs to your pako salad, make sure to boil them for a second to ensure that they are cooked properly.
- It’s recommended to eat pako salad regularly to help the body get the nutrients it needs.
How to Enjoy Pako Salad to the Fullest
- Pako salad is commonly served as a side dish to grilled or steamed dishes, providing a refreshing contrast to the main course.
- It’s also great as a standalone dish, especially if you’re looking for a light and healthy meal.
- You can try different recipes and variations of pako salad to find the perfect one for you. Some people like to add tomatoes, cucumber, or other vegetables to create a variety of flavors and textures.
- If you’re preparing a large batch of pako salad, make sure to store it properly in a covered container or wrap it tightly to maintain its freshness and flavor.
Why Pako Salad is the Perfect Addition to Your Healthy Diet
Pako salad is packed with essential nutrients that are beneficial to your health. The fern leaves contain high levels of iron, vitamin C, and vitamin A, which are essential for maintaining good health. The antioxidant content of pako salad helps to reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases related to oxidative stress.
Helps Maintain Healthy Bones and Nervous System
The elemental composition of pako salad is perfect for nourishing and strengthening bones. The plant is rich in calcium, which is essential for bone growth and reinforcement. Additionally, the fern leaves contain vitamin B6, which facilitates the nervous system’s function.
Reduces the Risk of Heart and Vascular Problems
Pako salad is an excellent source of carbohydrates that supply the body with the energy it needs. The high fiber content of pako salad helps to reduce the risk of heart and vascular problems, making it a suitable food for people at any stage of life.
Helps Reduce Pain and Discomfort
Eating pako salad is known to be helpful in reducing pain and discomfort brought about by PMS (premenstrual syndrome). The plant’s nutrients nourish and reinforce the body, removing pain and ache related to menstruating women.
Facilitates Digestive System Function
Pako salad is an amazing herbal plant that nourishes the body and facilitates the digestive system’s function. The plant’s high fiber content helps to remove waste and toxins from the body, making it an excellent food for people looking to improve their digestive health.
Perfect for a Nutritious and Delicious Salad
Pako salad is a wild edible plant that is perfect for making delicious and nutritious salads. The fern leaves are rich in nutrients and antioxidants, making them an excellent addition to any salad. The seeds of the pako plant are also edible and contain high levels of vitamin C, making them a powerful antioxidant.
Ensures You Receive the Right Nutrient Levels
Eating pako salad is an excellent way to ensure you receive the right nutrient levels your body needs. The plant’s high nutrient content makes it an excellent food for people with nutrient deficiencies. Pako salad is an excellent source of iron, vitamin C, and vitamin A, making it a suitable food for people looking to increase their nutrient intake.
Reduces Painful Periods
Pako salad is known to reduce painful periods in menstruating women. The plant’s nutrients nourish and reinforce the body, removing pain and ache related to menstruating women. Eating pako salad during your period can facilitate the system’s function and reduce discomfort.
Easy to Incorporate into Your Diet
Pako salad is easy to incorporate into your diet, making it an excellent food for people looking to make healthier food choices. The plant’s delicious taste and high nutrient content make it an excellent addition to any meal. Swill it with your favorite dressing and enjoy a nutritious and delicious salad.
Overall, pako salad is an amazing plant that nourishes and reinforces the body, making it an excellent addition to any healthy diet. The plant’s high nutrient content and antioxidant properties make it a powerful food that reduces the risk of cancer and other diseases related to oxidative stress.
Other dishes you might enjoy if you love pako salad
If you’re looking for a new way to enjoy fiddleheads, try the Japanese fern salad. This dish is prepared by washing and soaking the fiddleheads to remove any toxins, then steaming them for a few minutes until they’re ready. Once they’re cooked, they’re washed in cold water and drained. To add some flavor, you can sauté some garlic and onions in a pan with oil and then add the steamed fiddleheads. You can also add a sauce made of sour and salty taste to enhance the flavor.
Mango and tomato salad
If you want a heartier and more filling salad, try the mango and tomato salad. This dish is perfect for those who love a refreshing and healthy meal. To make this salad, you need to wash and chop the vegetables and mango. Then, you can add a creamy coconut sauce to the mix to create a delicious and rich flavor. This salad is a great choice for pregnant women as it is rich in calcium and folic acid, which are essential for the neural development of the baby.
Low-carb sautéed vegetable salad
If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to pako salad, try the low-carb sautéed vegetable salad. This dish is made by sautéing different vegetables such as onions, garlic, and tomatoes in a pan with oil. You can add additional filters such as mushrooms, bell peppers, and zucchini to create a heartier texture. To make the dish more flavorful, you can add a sour and salty sauce. This salad is perfect for diabetics as it helps regulate blood sugar content.
Blanched vegetable salad
If you want a simple and easy-to-make salad, try the blanched vegetable salad. This dish is made by boiling the vegetables for a few minutes and then immediately transferring them to a bowl of ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. Once the vegetables are ready, you can add a sauce made of sour and salty taste to enhance the flavor. This salad is perfect for those who love crunchy and refreshing salads.
In conclusion, there are many potential dishes that can be compared to pako salad. Whether you’re looking for something heartier, healthier, or just different, there’s a recipe out there for you to try. So, don’t be surprised if you find a new favorite food while exploring the world of salads.
So, pako salad is a delicious Filipino dish made with pako leaves, onion, tomato, hard-boiled egg, and olives. It’s a refreshing salad that’s perfect for a quick and healthy meal.
Don’t forget the tangy dressing, which makes the dish so delicious.
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.