Moroccan Chicken with Saffron and Zucchini

By April 23, 2020 April 15th, 2021 Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Keto, Paleo, Whole30

Moroccan chicken is an aromatic, juicy, tender chicken dish infused with saffron. It’s a one pan meal cooked with zucchini that takes just minutes to prepare. The exotic flavors will tantalize your tastebuds in the best possible way. It’s gluten-free, paleo, keto and Whole30.


Chicken makes it into my menu rotation often, especially on a weeknight. It’s pretty easy to get free range, humanely raised chicken in most supermarkets.  There are many ways to cook chicken because it’s SO versatile, tasty, and quick.

But this is no ordinary chicken dish. This Moroccan chicken recipe takes your meal to a whole new level of deliciousness.

The ingredients for this dish are what you typically find in your kitchen; onions, garlic, lemon, parsley, broth and olive oil. What gives it the incredible Moroccan flavor is the saffron and cinnamon.

Saffron is a nourishing blood purifier that clears liver stagnation. It simultaneously aids with detox by flushing toxins out of the body, as well as nutrient assimilation.  Saffron can be enjoyed year round but spring and summer is especially conducive to it’s gentle detox qualities.

This spice is often used as a natural remedy to reduce stress and enhance mood. It is even used to help with depression.(1)  What’s really great, saffron is also popular for its aphrodisiac properties. Read more about saffron here. 

Since I love vegetables I add zucchini to this dish.  Zucchini is readily available and says fresh in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  That’s good since I’m only going out to shop every 10 days or so.

This recipe is definitely something new and a deliciously exotic variation on your one-skillet chicken dinner.

Start by sautéing the chicken thighs until almost cooked through. Remove them from the pan onto a plate while you prepare the sauce.

Spoon out most of the chicken fat, add onion, garlic, parsley and saffron. Saute until onions are translucent.  Sprinkle cinnamon over the onions.

Add the broth. Return the chicken to the pan and Arrange the zucchini between the chicken. Cook until the sauce is thickened and the zucchini is just cooked, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice and top with additional parsley.

The finished dish is so so tasty!  Lots of saffron, lemon and garlic, a rich sauce with zucchini and juicy flavorful chicken.  It’s everything you could ask for in a chicken dish.

I like to serve it with Cauliflower Rice. 

You’ll love the floral,  honey, pungent flavor of saffron, the sweetness of the cinnamon and the bright taste of lemon.

Next time you go out, get some saffron to have on hand.  You’ll love the taste and your body will love the way if feels.  Then go ahead and give this Moroccan Chicken dish a try.

“She opened the tin to show Candace the dark red strands, a fortune in her palm, dearer than this much caviar, this many shaved truffles; it was for spices like this that Columbus had set out in his ship. “Each strand is handpicked from the center of a crocus flower that blooms two weeks of the year.”
― Elin Hilderbrand, The Love Season


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Moroccan Chicken with Saffron and Zucchini plate & pan

Moroccan Chicken with Saffron and Zucchini

  • Author: Ingrid DeHart
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


  • 46 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)*
  • Celtic sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, more for garnish
  • A large pinch of saffron (about ½ teaspoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups zucchini cut into half moons
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  1. Dry chicken and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a large cast iron pan or heavy sauté pan on medium-high heat. Add the chicken skin side down. Cook without turning until well brown about 7-8 minutes.
  3. Turn chicken over and brown on the other side, about 5 minutes until the chicken is no longer pink.
  4. Transfer to a plate.
  5. Spoon out about 3 tablespoons of the fat from the pan.
  6. Return the pan to medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, parsley and saffron.  Season with salt and pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the onion and stir.
  8. Add broth, scrape the bottom of the pan, and bring to a simmer over medium-high.
  9. Put chicken back into the pan. Arrange the zucchini between the chicken and cook until the sauce is thickened, and the zucchini is just cooked, about 5 minutes.
  10. Stir in the lemon juice, taste and adjust salt. Add more lemon if needed.
  11. Spoon zucchini and pan sauces over the chicken. Sprinkle with extra parsley if desired.



Can also be made with boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts. Cook the chicken for a shorter period of time.

  • Category: Main Dish, Chicken
  • Cuisine: Paleo, Gluten-Free, Keto, Whole30

Keywords: moroccan chicken, saffron, one pan chicken

If you like this recipe try these other delicious dishes with saffron:

Mediterranean Chicken with Saffron

Cauliflower Risotto with Saffron and Peas

Spanish Vegetable Frittata 

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