Saffron Chicken & Asparagus Skillet

I love asparagus and it’s a great time of year to take advantage of it. This Saffron Chicken & Asparagus Skillet recipe is a warm, comforting meal that goes great with sweet potatoes, cauliflower rice, or veggie noddles.

Asparagus is great for gut health, thanks to insoluble fiber that promotes regularity and some soluble fiber to help feed our beneficial gut bacteria. It’s also high in vitamin K, which is often under-appreciated for its role in calcium metabolism.

Saffron is an incredible source of antioxidants and a little goes a long way. Crocin and crocetin are two carotenoid pigments responsible for saffron’s red color, and they’re both linked to antidepressant properties as well as protection against progressive brain damage. And chicken provides plenty of protein to this meal——one serving gives you a hearty 37 grams. 


Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD


  • 6 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, and trimmed of excess fat
  • 3 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, and trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon (1 pinch) saffron threads
  • ½ cup boiling filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fennel seeds
  • ¼ cup sundried tomatoes in olive oil, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 bunch asparagus, sliced into 1-inch segments
  • ⅓ cup basil leaves

1. Cut the chicken thighs and breasts in half then pat dry. Toss the chicken in a bowl with the coriander, garlic powder, salt, and olive oil. Set aside while preparing the rest.

2. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot add the chicken meat and brown on all sides for about 10 minutes. The chicken breast may take less time than the thigh meat to cook, transfer pieces as they are done to a plate to rest.

3. While browning the chicken, pour the boiling water over the saffron threads in a small bowl.

4. Once all of the chicken is out of the skillet, add the ghee, lemon slices, shallots, and fennel seeds. After 2 minutes, flip the lemon slices and continue to cook for 2 more minutes.

5. Pour the saffron water over the lemon and shallots and scrape the bottom of the pan. Add the sundried tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes. When the liquids have reduced by half, add the coconut milk followed by the chicken (as well as any liquid from the resting plate).

6. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, add the asparagus and cover the skillet, cook for another 5 minutes.

7. Remove from heat and garnish the dish with basil leaves, serve with sweet potatoes, cauliflower rice, or any of your favorite sides.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories: 336, Total Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 135mg, Sodium: 542mg, Carbohydrates: 7g, Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 3g, Protein: 37g, Net Carbs: 4g

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