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Kona Chicken and Purple Potatoes (paleo, gf)

(Written in 2008)

In 13 years of marriage, we have spent the majority of our time based from the Big Island in Hawaii. Although we have lived from South Africa to San Francisco and many places in between- I often find myself coming back to the freshness of Island food…

During our years living away from Kona, Jeff and I had the privilege of returning to visit, and I made my way back to the Farmers Market there our first free day. I wanted to cook for my siblings living there and it certainly didn’t take long for inspiration to come!

This is a great summer evening meal, which also carries nicely into fall because of the potatoes. If you cannot find purple sweet potatoes, then yellow, orange or white will work also. Just adjust the amount of coconut milk you add, the other colors are not as absorbent as the purple.


  • 8 Organic Chicken Breasts or Thighs (I used some of both, boneless but skin on or off is your choice)

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1tsp sea salt

  • Olive Oil

  • Pesto:

  • 1 cup Raw Macadamia Nuts

  • 2handfuls Fresh Basil Leaves (About two store-bought bunches)

  • 1handfulFresh Cilantro

  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 2cloves Fresh Garlic

  • Juice of 1 fresh Lemon

  • Sea Salt

  • Pepper

  • Potatoes:

  • 8 Purple Sweet Potatoes (They are usually small, but just eyeball it and cook the amount your people will eat)

  • 1 can Organic Coconut Milk (Not light, not cream, not from the refrigerator isle, just canned coconut milk)

  • Sea Salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 425, use the roast setting if your oven has it.

  2. To make the Pesto: put all the ingredients for the pesto into a blender, food processor or Vitamix and blitz until totally smooth. The nuts in this make it taste divine… you won't miss the cheese normally in pesto.

  3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, then place the chicken on the tray . Arrange it so there is some space around each piece, the chicken will cook faster this way.

  4. Sprinkle the chicken with the cumin and salt, then drizzle on the pesto to fully cover each piece of chicken. This keeps it moist .

  5. Arrange the lemon slices on top of the chicken, I like to throw a few on the tray, they get really crispy that way!

  6. Pop the tray in the oven and bake for 20 mins.

  7. Now, peel the potatoes chop into cubes (faster cooking). Boil them until tender (around 15 mins).

  8. Drain the potatoes and place in your food processor or a large bowl if you are using a hand mixer.

  9. Add 1/2 the can of coconut milk and whip! You may want to add more coconut milk, you just have to give it a taste and see if it's dry… add slowly, dry potatoes are bad, but runny mashed potatoes are even worse!

  10. Add sea Salt to taste also.

  11. At 20 min mark check the chicken, if it needs to brown a bit more just turn on the broil setting and watch it for a couple mins.

  12. To finish, drizzle with a little olive oil and serve straight from the tray with the sweet potatoes. I served this with fresh baby greens and papaya. It was divine, as my South African friend Gina says!

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