I have to admit: I’ve never been to Hawaii. (I would love to go, though, so if anyone wants to just invite me – that’s cool.)
But I’ve eaten Hawaiian food several times in my life and it. is. delicious. I’m already a fan of pineapple and many Hawaiian recipes use it, so I will automatically love almost all of the dishes I try.
And that got me looking for some delicious Hawaiian main dish recipes to try with my family! And I found some really great ones that I can’t wait to add to our meal plan! Take a look and see if you get some dinner inspiration too!
Be sure to check out some other delicious Hawaiian Side Dishes for Pork that I think you’ll love as well!
Need a party drink to go with your perfect Hawaiian cuisine meal? This beautiful Frosty Hawaiian Mocktail is a perfect punch the family will love!
Hawaiian Main Dish Recipes
You’re going to love these Hawaiian entree recipes! They’re all so flavorful and delicious! If you’re looking for Hawaiian food recipes, you’re in the right place!
The best part about working your way down this list of yummy recipes is that you’re going to have a lot of different flavors.
What are some popular Hawaiian dishes?
There are a lot of dishes that have Hawaiian flavor and taste! Hawaiian BBQ and Hawaiian pizza are two of my favorites!
I also love adding macadamia nuts and pineapple juice to a lot of the recipes, too!
What are good side dishes to pair with Hawaiian main dish recipes?
I think that Hawaiian coleslaw, Hawaiian macaroni salad, or even Hawaiian fruit salad would be delicious! If you can use your slow cooker to make a side dish, you can create some delicious slow cooker Hawaiin sides.
The best part about the flavors of these main dishes is that you can be creative with the side dishes that you cook up!
How do traditional Hawaiian dishes differ from other cuisines?
Hawaiian cuisine stands out from other regional cuisines’ unique flavor combinations, distinct ingredients, and fascinating culinary history.
Drawing upon the culinary traditions of both native Hawaiians and early immigrants to Hawaii, traditional Hawaiian dishes showcase a wide range of flavors, including sweet fruit preserves, salty fish or seafood dishes, or savory marinades created with Asian seasonings.
A particularly notable element — certainly present in many other cuisines — is the use of poi, a starchy dish made from cooked, mashed taro root.
Unique to Hawaiian cuisine, however, is the use of exotic fruits such as guava and mountain apples which further add to the complexity of flavor that characterizes traditional Hawaiian dishes.
Further contributing to this complexity is the presence of home-grown spices such as Hawaiian chili pepper and noni in traditional recipes.
Overall, these distinctive elements create an unmistakable flavor profile and prove that Hawaiian cuisine has truly earned its place as a celebrated and distinctive culinary tradition.
Are recipes from Hawaii typically spicy?
While many people associate island cuisine with spicy flavors, traditional snacks and dishes from Hawaii are often subtle and sweet.
Hawaiian recipes reflect the islands’ unique geographical makeup, utilizing ingredients like coconuts, pineapple, macadamia nuts, and native herbs and spices. In addition to these sweet flavors, some traditional dishes also use chilies—notably dried pepper flakes—for a hint of spice that balances the sweetness of other ingredients to create true island flavor.
Thus, while it is true that recipes from Hawaii contain elements of spice, they more commonly rely on mild sweetness to create beloved traditional dishes.
Is there a national dish in Hawaiian food?
Hawaiian cuisine is a unique amalgamation of native ingredients, Asian influences, and American flavors. While there is no single dish that can be established as the national dish in Hawaiian food, dishes such as plate lunches, poke, and Loco Moco is among the most favored culinary options.
Plate lunches typically include starch—such as rice, noodle, or macaroni salads—and a protein source, like fried hamburger patties or teriyaki chicken.
Poke is a traditional Hawaiian appetizer made with raw fish that is cubed and marinated in sauces such as shoyu or chili pepper water. And Loco Moco popularly consists of white rice covered with a hamburger patty topped with fried eggs and smothered with brown gravy.
Collectively speaking, these three dishes provide an alluring insight into the multifaceted culture of Hawaii and its mouth-watering culinary offering.
Do desserts and sweet treats play a large role in Hawaiian cuisine?
Hawaiian cuisine has a unique blend of flavors, drawing influences from various cultures across the Pacific. Among these influences is an emphasis on desserts and other sweet treats.
While fruits such as poi and coconut are staples in many Hawaiian dishes, there is also a strong presence of pastries, cakes, shaved ice, and other sweet creations.
For example, malasadas – Portuguese donut-like puffs with fillings such as custard or azuki bean paste – have become a mainstay in modern Hawaiian recipes.
Ultimately, desserts and sweet treats play an important role in Hawaiian cuisine – making it both delicious and distinct from other regional cuisines worldwide.
What are luaus, and what types of food are served at them?
Luaus are an important part of Hawaiian culture, celebrating everything from birthdays and anniversaries to graduations and family reunions.
Usually, a luau includes unique Hawaiian dishes, such as Kalua pig (slow-cooked pork) or Haupia (coconut pudding). Other staples of traditional luaus include poke (diced raw tuna with herbs), chicken long rice (chicken and vermicelli in broth), lomilomi salmon (salmon mixed with tomatoes and onions), poi (a thick paste made from taro root), palusami (taro leaves stuffed with coconut cream and onions) and a wide array of tropical fruits like pineapple and mango.
These ingredients are often cooked in ti leaves right outside the celebration, providing a wonderful atmosphere that looks like it has come straight out of Hawaii.
What vegetables are typically found in Hawaiian dishes, and how are they cooked?
Hawaiian cuisine often uses a wide variety of vegetables in its dishes, with some of the more traditional ingredients including taro, arrowroot, sweet potato, eggplant, cucumber, and okra.
These vegetables are typically cooked using methods such as steaming, stewing, and stir-frying. Taro root is perhaps one of the most popular ingredients used in Hawaiian dishes – it is used to make poi (a type of thick paste) and many side dishes that accompany the main course.
Sweet potatoes are a key part of Hawaiian cuisine, often being boiled or mashed and served with coconut milk or other sauces.
Lastly, several leafy green vegetables are also consumed by Hawaiians regularly; bok choy and watercress are typical additions to salads and various stews.
The following recipes are all so good! It’s going to be super hard to figure out where you’re going to start, but I recommend working your way down the list!
I told you that there were a ton of delicious Hawaiian recipes right here! Start at the top and go down – or tell me which one you’re going to start with! I can’t wait to hear which one is your favorite!
Hawaiian Main Dish Recipes and Resources:
Ready to try even more Hawaiian main dish recipes? Grab these affiliate resources from Amazon!
- Jean Hee’s Best of the Best Hawaii Recipes
- Proctor-Silex Roaster Oven, Stainless Steel
- Sam Choy’s Little Hawaiian Cookbook for Big Appetites