Kahumana Café Pasta with Macadamia Nut Pesto Sauce

This is the signature and most popular dish served at Kahumana’s farm-to-table café on Oahu, Hawaii. Traditionally you would add Parmesan cheese to the pesto, but Kahumana does not, to make it more versatile to meet our customers’ diverse dietary needs. We make our base sauce vegan and top the final dish with freshly grated Parmesan. Feel free to add chicken, shrimp (as shown), or whatever protein you prefer.

Kahumana Café Pasta with Macadamia Nut Pesto Sauce

Kahumana Café Pasta with Macadamia Nut Pesto Sauce

Pesto Sauce

  • 2 cups organic olive oil
  • 1 head garlic (cloves separated and peeled)
  • 8 ounces dry-roasted macadamia nuts
  • 2 tbsp coarsely ground sea salt
  • 1 pound fresh basil leaves


  • 1 pound organic whole-grain pasta ((preferably spaghetti or linguine noodles))
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 carrots, (julienned)
  • 1 leek (julienned)
  • 1 bulb fennel (julienned)
  • 8 ounces baby arugula leaves
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese ((optional))

Pesto Sauce

  1. In a food processor, mix the oil, garlic, nuts, and salt. Blend to a medium consistency. Gradually add the basil leaves and continue blending until you have a rich pesto paste. Transfer the pesto to a small container and lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of it to help prevent discoloration. If you have extra pesto sauce, store it in the refrigerator (also with the plastic wrap on the surface) and use it within the next few days.


  1. Cook the pasta al dente, or to your preference. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, while the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the carrots, leek, and fennel for 7 to 10 minutes, until crisp-tender.
  3. Add the pasta to the vegetables and mix well. Add the arugula and mix well. Remove from the heat.
  4. Add about ½ cup of the pesto sauce to the pasta and mix thoroughly. Portion the pasta on serving dishes, sprinkle generously with the Parmesan, and serve immediately.

Serving Suggestion: Here at our café, we offer this dish vegetarian, vegan (no cheese), or with a choice of sautéed chicken, garlic-butter shrimp, or seared ahi (tuna). The seared ahi option is definitely the most popular. Enjoy whichever option you choose!

— Robert Zuckerman, Kahumana Farm Café, Waianae, Hawaii

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