The classic Hawaiian loco moco made Whole30 compliant

The classic Hawaiian dish of loco moco – made Whole30 compliant – with no grains, gluten, dairy, or sugar!  But oh so yummy!

The classic Hawaiian dish of loco moco - made Whole30 compliant - with no grains, gluten, dairy, or sugar!  But oh so yummy! #locomoco

How many of you have ever visited Hawaii?  We went last year for Christmas, with the whole family – my brother and his family, as well as my family and my parents.  There were 11 of us in one house for 10 days.  But there was a pool.  And a hot tub.  And a kitchen …

Now, whenever Grant and I go somewhere different, we look up on the Internet to find out what the classic foods are for that area.  Remember when we traveled along Route66?  We decided we had to have all things Route66, including pie.  Lots of pie.  And then I get inspired to try to re-create those meals in my own kitchen.  And such was born my own Route66 pile-up, the ugly pie crust and cream filling, chicken parmigiana (using cashews as the ‘breading’) and a Chicago-style deep dish pizza.  All made to meet my special snowflake stomach requirements!

So when we went to Hawaii, I naturally looked up what was the classic Hawaiian food.  And found that Loco Moco was the name of the game.  Traditionally it’s hamburger patties, served over rice, with a macaroni salad, smothered with gravy and topped with a fried egg.  It’s a cholesterol disaster waiting to happen.  One website mentioned you’d be in a calorie coma after eating just one serving of it.  Well, Grant and I tried it.  With ALL the gluten and dairy stuff in it.  You know, just to get an idea of what it does taste like – but we shared a serving.  And couldn’t finish it between the two of us.  Yeah, I felt a little sick after eating this.  But the taste was amazing while eating it, so it was worth trying it. 

But then my brain started whirring around, as it does, and I thought it would be pretty easy to make this more suited to my special snowflake stomach and Whole30 compliant, so one lazy weekend, I announced to the family that we were having a Hawaiian food day.  We started out with some macadamia nut pancakes (just add nuts to this recipe).  And for lunch I made loco moco.  Grant made some concoction of a pina colada for drinks – and then we slept in the afternoon!

Let me tell you how I made this loco moco Whole30 compliant.  It’s based on recipes already on this website – just putting them all together.  For the burger, I used 96% lean ground beef, made this roast meat gravy just on the stovetop, cauliflower rice, my avocado zoodles as a salad and a simple fried egg on top!  But to save you from having to flick through all of those links, I’ve put the recipe just here for your pleasure!

If you’d like to serve it in a styrofoam container, to be just like the Hawaiian version, feel free to do so.  Otherwise, you can dress it up and plate it nicely … It’s a little more complicated than most of my recipes here, but it’s definitely worth it.  Let me know what you think!

Loco moco

(Paleo, Whole30, gluten-free, dairy-free)

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4


For the zoodles salad

  • 1/4 cup red onion chopped
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp coconut aminos
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 3 medium zucchini

For the burgers

  • 500 g ground beef as lean as desired
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 tbs dried herbs (oregano, basil, parsley etc)

For the rice

  • 1 head cauliflower

For the gravy

  • 1 large onion cut into wedges
  • 1 1/2 tbs dried parsley
  • 1 tbs Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbs fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2/3 cup beef broth
  • 2 tbs tapioca starch

For the fried egg

  • 1 egg


For the zoodle salad

  1. Spiralize zucchini and set aside in a bowl lined with paper towel to absorb excess water. Sprinkle with salt to remove even more moisture and set aside.
  2. Combine all sauce ingredients in a food processor until creamy.

  3. Heat the zucchini noodles in a small amount of oil in a medium frying pan until soft.
  4. Add the sauce mixture and combine with zoodles.

For the burgers

  1. Combine all ingredients well until a mass forms.

  2. Form into 8 patties and chill in fridge for at least an hour.

  3. Add oil of choice to a frying pan or griddle.  Once hot, place the patties on the pan and squash as flat as possible.

  4. Allow to cook approximately halfway through (about 5 mins). Flip and allow to cook to desired done-ness.

For the rice

  1. Remove all leaves and stems from the cauliflower florets.

  2. Process in a food processor until a rice-like texture forms.  This may need to be done in several batches, depending on the size of the cauliflower and the processor.

For the gravy

  1. Saute the onion in a large frying pan until translucent and soft.

  2. In a small bowl (mortar and pestle if needing to crush the spices), combine the remaining ingredients except for the broth and tapioca starch.

  3. Add the broth to the onions and slowly mix in the herb mixture until well coated.

  4. Pour the mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth.

  5. Place some of the broth in a small bowl with the tapioca starch and mix until a paste is formed.

  6. Place the remaining broth in a small saucepan and slowly pour in the tapioca starch mixture.  Heat the gravy until reduced in volume and thickened to desired consistency.

For the egg

  1. Heat oil of choice in a small frying pan.

  2. Crack the egg and fry until white is cooked and yolk remains runny.

To assemble:

  1. Place the salad to one side of the plate.

  2. Place the rice in a heap, with two of the small hamburger patties on top.

  3. Add the fried egg on top of the patties and pour on the gravy as desired.

The classic Hawaiian dish of loco moco - made Whole30 compliant - with no grains, gluten, dairy, or sugar!  But oh so yummy! #locomoco

2 thoughts on “The classic Hawaiian loco moco made Whole30 compliant

  1. This looks so yummy and healthy. I want to try it. I’ve never done zoodles and want to try it. Coconut Aminos is new for me as well.I’ve seen it in your other recipes.

    1. Zoodles are awesome – I love them lots. And coconut aminos are a great non-soy substitute for soy sauce. You can get them at any health food store, like Sprouts or Natural Grocers.

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