Healthy & Local Holiday Recipes To Try This Year!

Posted by Staff Writer on Tuesday, December 15th, 2020 at 2:16pm

The art of having big potlucks and hosting the entire family over for special events and holidays is the most traditional way of embracing the aloha spirit. In true kama’aina fashion, everyone makes a big dish to share with their loved ones and gathers around the table to “talk story” and share memories while making new ones. 

In the wake of our new 2020 normal, this holiday season will look a little different. With friends and ohana staying home in order to keep everyone safe, it's time to brainstorm new ideas to keep the aloha spirit alive. What better way than to try a new delicious and local home-cooked meal! To make sure you have all the necessary tools to make this holiday season the best time of the year, we’ve gathered our 5 favorite local recipes that taste good and are good for you. From luau famous Lau Lau’s to ono traditional poi, these Hawaiian recipes are all the things that make up Maui’s bountiful culture. 

Don’t be afraid to add your own personal twist to any of these recipes, call up the whole ohana to share their tips and secrets, and most importantly make some new cherished holiday memories. When looking for ingredients feel free to source some from any of the local farms we shared in our previous blog post here

Oxtail Soup

Introducing one of Maui’s most craved dishes, Oxtail Soup. Influenced by Hawaii’s Chinese history, Oxtail soup is a simple dish that amounts to incredible amounts of flavor and flair. Perfect for a chilly upcountry evening and Christmas lights all around. 


  • 2lbs oxtail
  • 1 strip dried orange peel zest
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of shelled, skinned, raw peanuts
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili pepper flakes (to taste)
  • About 2 cups of fresh mustard greens (coarsely chopped)
  • Fresh cilantro (chopped)
  • Green onions, white and green parts (sliced)
  • Freshly grated ginger


  1. In a large pot, boil the oxtails for about 30 minutes and trim the excess fat.

  2. After draining the pot and rinsing the oxtails, place the oxtails back in the pot with 1 inch of water. Simmer for about an hour with the orange zest, star anise, ginger, and salt. 

  3. Adding in the peanuts, simmer for about 2-3 more hours (until meat is tender).

  4. Bringing the pot to a simmer again, add the chili pepper flakes and mustard greens. Cook until the greens are tender.

  5. Add the cilantro, green onions, and ginger garnish. Serve!

 Ahi Poke With Avocado

The holy grail of to-go beach meals, poke bowls are a crowd favorite any time of the day. Most popular as a quick lunch from a local Foodland or Safeway, we’re teaching you how to serve this to your closest friends this holiday. Best served with sun-kissed skin, salty in your hair, and sand in your bikini! 


  • ¼ cup soy sauce or any stir fry sauce of your choice
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha or ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2  teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 1 pound of ahi, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 avocado, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 scallion
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup microgreens


  1. In a large bowl, add the ahi, avocado, scallions, microgreens, sriracha or red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds. Add in the sesame oil and soy sauce, and stir carefully to blend so as not to mash the avocado. Let cool in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. 

  2. Once chilled, remove the bowl from the refrigerator, and serve!

Mac Salad

As well as Moana and Maui go together, Mac salad goes with any local Hawaiian meal just as well. This side dish has a reserved spot at any luau, plate lunch, or local potluck. Delicious and creamy, you’ll never have a local dish that you won’t want mac salad with. 


  • 8 oz macaroni 
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 hard-boiled egg
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise of choice 
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper


  1. Cook your macaroni and drain well

  2. Sprinkle on vinegar and add your chopped carrots, green onions, potatoes, and egg.

  3. Mix together and let cool for about 10-15 minutes.

  4. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together mayo, salt, and pepper. Add the mixture evenly into the macaroni.

  5. Refrigerate for about 5 hours, best served cold. 

Lau Lau

A refreshing home-cooked Lau Lau makes any home feel like growing up on the island of Maui. One of the most popular dishes at luaus, even new visitors of Maui take a passionate liking to Lau Lau. Fresh kalo leaves wafting with the aroma of delicious pork makes for a happy house of guests and ohana every time. 


  • 2 lb pork butt
  • 1 lb pork belly (skin removed)
  • ½  lb butterfish
  • Hawaiian salt
  • Ti leaves (or foil) 
  • Kalo leaves (you could also use collard green or spinach) 


  1. Take 3 ti leaves and place 2 of them in an X pattern and the last one going right down the middle. There should be 6 ends, all around, that you can grab. 

  2. In the middle of the top leaf, place 1/5 of the pork butt, pork belly, and butterfish in a mound. Sprinkle it with a teaspoon of sea salt.

  3. Grab the ends of the luau leaves and wrap them around the meat into a tight bundle.

  4. Place the bundle in the center of the Ti leaves.

  5. Grab the ends of the ti leaves and then wrap those around the luau leaf bundle.

  6. Use one of the stems from the ti leaves to tie a knot at the top of the bundle. 

  7. Steam the bundle for about 4 hours, making sure there is always enough water. 

  8. Pull them out and serve with some rice and mac salad!


Poi is a delicious traditional Hawaiian meal that is as simple as it is nutritious. Whether you like your Poi a watery texture or a thicker paste, the flavor remains rich and smooth. The most popular way to eat at events is with some kalua pork or lomi salmon on the side!


  • Taro Root (boiled)
  • Water
  • Sugar, salt, or soy sauce to taste 


  1. Knead the taro root while adding small amounts of water. Keep kneading until it is to the consistency that you prefer. You can eat it as is or add amounts of sugar, salt, or soy sauce to taste. 



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