Lots Of Good Things Go Into This Pesto

Born and raised on Oahu, Nalei Akina believes it was a great privilege to learn from her kupuna about her Hawaiian heritage, and honors those teachings by serving as administrator at Lunalilo Home, a nonprofit organization established through the will of King William Lunalilo to provide care for Native Hawaiian elders.

Through elder care services, community programs and partnerships that honor and promote the Hawaiian heritage, Lunalilo Home strives to improve conditions for the Hawaiian community by providing respectful, quality and caring services for the poor, disadvantaged and frail kupuna of Hawaiian ancestry, and ensure the vitality of future generations. Lunalilo Home provides compassionate residential care, adult day care, respite care, home-delivered meals, caregiver workshops and elder care assistance to kupuna, their families and the community. It is open to people of Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian ancestry, while maintaining its commitment to subsidize Native Hawaiians who are unable to pay to live at its adult residential care home.

Every month, the home’s kitchen prepares more than 5,400 nutritious meals, catering to individual dietary needs and preferences of residents and using produce from their community garden in an effort to be sustainable.

One of the kupunas’ favorite recipes, which Nalei graciously shares with MidWeek readers, utilizes basil from the home’s garden in a pesto served on pasta. Amounts of salt are modified to ensure the seniors are heart healthy.

This column is dedicated to Nalei for her caring and compassionate service.

The fat in pine nuts is composed of about 80 percent unsaturated fatty acids. They are an excellent source of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper and niacin; they are a good source of folic acid and contain riboflavin and vitamin B6. Pine nuts also are a rich source of dietary fiber.

To toast raw pine nuts, roast at 350 degrees in baking pan for about 10 minutes. They also can be toasted in a pan, but be sure to stir them around so they don’t burn.


* 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or almonds

* 3 cups fresh sweet basil

* 1 teaspoon chopped garlic

* 1/4 teaspoon salt

* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

* 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

* 1/2 cup chopped sund-ried tomatoes

Pulse toasted nuts in a food processor until finely ground. Add basil, garlic and salt. Pulse until finely chopped.

Add Parmesan cheese and pulse to combine. Slowly add in oil, pulsing to incorporate.

Transfer pesto to a bowl and stir in sun-dried tomatoes.

Makes 1 cup of pesto.


1) Add 1/2 cup of pesto to 1 pound of pasta for lunch or dinner.

2) Spread 1 teaspoon on toasted bagel for breakfast or snacks.

3) Use as marinade for chicken or any meat.