Skillet Paleo Persian Chicken with Jeweled Cauliflower Rice is an easy, one pan dinner infused with earthy Persian spices and served with fluffy jeweled cauliflower rice. This weeknight dinner is on the table in less than 45 minutes!
| Paleo + dairy free + gluten free |
Raise your hand if you had a few too many Christmas cookies, eggnog for breakfast, and not a single vegetable in days!
Yup, that’s how we roll around here.
I’m definitely feeling it, too. My face is broken out, I feel a little fluffy, and my digestion has been whack this week. Of course, it’d probably help if I could remember to take my digestive enzymes BEFORE I eat a meal instead of gulping down my lunch and then thinking, “Crap! I forgot again!”. I never eat lunch at the same time, so I can’t figure out the best way to remember my digestive enzymes. Ugh, first world problems.
With Christmas this past week, I know I’m itching for a healthy, meaty dinner with vegetables.
That’s exactly where this One Pan Paleo Persian Chicken with Jeweled Cauliflower Rice comes in!
Tender, juicy chicken thighs are rubbed with traditional Persian spices, pan-seared for a golden outside, then finished in the oven with fluffy jeweled cauliflower rice. My mouth is watering already!
This Paleo Persian Chicken is incredibly easy, taking less 45 minutes from start to finish, and using only one pan!
How’s that to start your New Year off right?!
One pan recipes are super great, especially this time of year! Make sure to check out:
- Sheet Pan Tandoori Chicken
- Greek Turkey Meatballs
- Mango Cashew Chicken Stir Fry
- Skillet Garam Masala Chicken & Rice
What is Persian Chicken?
You probably have everything you need in your spice drawer to make this Paleo Persian Chicken right now! Though Persian chicken is typically marinated in yogurt, we’ll just use the spice mixture in this recipe. Things like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and just a pinch of cinnamon. Trust me, not complicated!
Persian chicken can be made several different ways, but I really like to pan-sear the chicken first and finish it in the oven. This allows the outside of the chicken to get a little crispy, while keeping the meat juicy and tender. I chose boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but feel free to use bone-in, skin on thighs also. Thighs are dark meat, meaning the chicken is incredibly moist!
You could also choose boneless, skinless chicken breasts, though they won’t take nearly as long to cook in the oven.
What is Jeweled Rice?
Traditionally, jeweled rice is an Iranian dish made with basmati rice. The rice sauteed in hefty amounts of butter and infused with orange zest and earthy spices. The “jewels” are a blend of dried fruits – apricots, golden raisins, cherries, or cranberries. With pistachios or almonds for some crunch. It’s like a beautiful array of edible gemstones! It’s massively flavorful and kind of addicting. Especially when served alongside juicy pan-seared chicken thighs.
In this Paleo Persian Chicken, I’m keeping things lighter (and Paleo) by using cauliflower rice instead of the grain. If you tolerate grains just fine, feel free to use basmati or even brown rice! I’ll include instructions below for using regular rice, but cauliflower rice is a perfect substitute.
I used just a little saffron in this cauliflower rice, but if you don’t have it or can’t find it, you can skip it. Saffron is a little pricey, but it’s well worth it! A little goes a very long way! Saffron is key in Middle Eastern cooking; it adds a flavor like none other. It requires a little TLC to maximize its flavor potential, and I recommend reading this article for a couple methods on doing that. The easiest way is to grind the saffron with a mortar and pestle, then cover with a couple tablespoons of very hot water. It releases the flavor and gives saffron its bright orange glow. Depending on where you live, though, you might be able to purchase saffron already ground.
This Paleo Persian Chicken and Jeweled Cauliflower Rice is amazing served with a side of roasted carrots, too. Since the dish is finished in the oven, you’ve already got preheat the oven out of the way. The carrots are lightly seasoned with cumin and a drizzle of olive oil; they couldn’t be more perfect for this dinner.
Other serving options could include roasted eggplant with mint or a simple cucumber & red onion salad.
Soooo switching gears…
I never understood what my parents meant when they told me life would only get busier as I got older. As a kid, I thought adulting really couldn’t be that hard. You went to work, paid your bills, vacuumed on weekends, did laundry sometimes, and then you had all this free time to read books and take naps. Now that I’m actually adulting, I see what they meant. I have to use my planner just to keep track of little things like “Call Amazon because where the heck is my package” and “Remember to scrub the shower sometime this week – when you aren’t learning and studying and editing photos and elbows-deep in baked goods.”
Anyone who says burnout doesn’t exist is lying to you.
But instead of letting burnout get the best of you (okay, so maybe I’ve had a couple meltdowns in the last month…), it’s a good idea to have a solid self-care routine for situations just like this. Adult overwhelm is real stuff. It’s not just paying the bills, going to work, and taking naps. No one ever really tells you that sometimes you’ll come home from work utterly exhausted at 6 p.m., still have to cook dinner, and that you might have a solid 30 minutes to yourself before you crawl into bed.
The overwhelm was real this season, but instead of just muddling through it like I’ve done in previous years, I’m finding the joy in it. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- going back to school is hard when you’re 28, even if it’s online. but you did it: you’re going to school, making strides forward, visualizing and manifesting your future, and that’s pretty awesome.
- sometimes you just don’t have time to sweep and mop the floors and scrub the shower all in one day. and that’s okay. it’s much better to do your chores when you feel aligned to do them anyway. some shit can wait.
- husbands are incredibly helpful if you give them direction and tasks to complete (they’re also really great at consoling you through the burnout). you don’t have to take it all on yourself; let someone help you!
- nothing elevates your mood like an incredible podcast. thank God for podcasts!
- you don’t HAVE to do anything. literally. nothing. everything you do is a choice, a decision. nobody is forcing you to say yes to everything, clean the entire house in one day, or pay off your loans tomorrow. what a blessing.
- love yourself and you’re invincible (I stole that one from Jen Sincero).
Tell me below what your favorite Christmas gift was this year and how YOU combat burnout and show up for yourself!!
Thank you SO much for being here, reading these posts, and sharing these recipes on social media. Your words mean so much to me, and every share & comment helps readers like you find these healthy recipes!
Pin this Paleo Persian Chicken with Jeweled Cauliflower Rice for dinner this week!
An easy, one pan Paleo dinner done in less than 45 minutes! Earthy spices and sweet saffron-infused cauliflower rice.
- 2 tsp. olive oil or ghee
- 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 tsp. coriander
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. turmeric
- Pinch cinnamon
- 1 large head cauliflower, processed into "rice"
- 2 Tbsp. butter or ghee
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. saffron, ground (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. hot water
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. cardamom
- Zest of 1 large orange
- 1/4 c. golden raisins
- 1/4 c. dried cherries, cranberries, or chopped dates
- 1/2 c. pistachios
- 1/2 c. parsley, minced
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. carrots, sliced on the bias
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- 1/4 tsp. salt
Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a baking tray with foil for the carrots.
Grind the saffron with a mortar and pestle, then cover with 1 Tbsp hot water.
Prepare the chicken: in a small bowl, mix together the coriander, cumin, salt, garlic powder, turmeric, and cinnamon. Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken thighs.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add the olive oil. When hot, add the chicken and sear each side 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Remove to a plate and return the skillet over medium heat.
Add the butter and onion; saute until onions are translucent. Stir in the garlic, bloomed saffron, salt, cardamom, and cumin until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Next, stir in the cauliflower rice. Cook the cauliflower rice until it just becomes tender, then stir in the pistachios, golden raisins, dried cherries, and parsley. Remove from heat.
Nestle the chicken thighs into the rice, then place the entire skillet into the oven. Bake at 400 F for about 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through, registering 165 F.
Meanwhile, toss the carrots with olive oil, cumin, and salt; pour onto the prepared baking tray and roast at 400 F alongside the chicken for 20 minutes.
Nutrition information per serving:
Calories: 530 Protein: 42g Carbs: 40g Fat: 24g Fiber: 11g