Paleo Chicken & Broccoli

From Melissa Joulwan, Author of Well Fed Weeknights

This recipe came to be one night while I bemoaned the fact that I couldn’t pick up the phone and order sticky chicken wings from a Chinese restaurant. You know what? This recipe comes together faster than waiting for take-out, and it tastes way better than anything that comes out of a cardboard carton. Fresh from the oven and bubbling hot, it has a sweet-savory sauce that clings to the tender, caramelized chicken and sesame-scented broccoli.


Sticky sauce:

1 medium navel orange

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup coconut aminos

1/4 cup sugar-free sunflower seed butter

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon hot sauce

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder


1 teaspoon powdered ginger

1 teaspoon coarse (granulated) garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Sesame broccoli:

1 pound broccoli crowns

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Toasted sesame seeds

Sliced scallions


Preheat the oven to 425F.

Make the sauce. Zest the orange with a grater and set the zest aside. Use a sharp knife to peel the orange, removing all of the white pith, then separate the sections and place in a pint-size Mason jar. Smash and peel the garlic and add to the jar, along with the rest of the sauce ingredients; whirl with a stick blender until smooth; set aside.

Toast the sesame seeds. Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, 2 minutes. Add the sesame seeds and stir-fry until toasted, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.

Prep the chicken. Place the ginger, garlic powder, salt, coriander, and pepper in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add the chicken thighs to the bowl and toss to coat the pieces in the spices. Add the oil to the same pan that you used for the sesame seeds and reheat the pan over medium-high heat, 2 minutes. Add the chicken in a single layer and brown it, undisturbed, 3-4 minutes. Flip the chicken and brown the other side for 1 minute, then transfer to a 2-quart baking dish.

Thicken the sauce. Pour the sticky sauce into the pan that you used for the chicken and heat it, scraping up any brown bits in the pan, until it’s thickened a little, 1-2 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken and place the baking dish in the oven. Roast the chicken for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce is caramelized. While the chicken cooks, slice the scallions for the garnish and set aside, then cook the broccoli.

Cook the broccoli. Place the water in the skillet you used for the chicken and bring it to a boil. Add the broccoli, cover, and steam it until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and allow any remaining water to evaporate. Turn off the heat, drizzle the sesame oil over the broccoli, toss to coat.

Serve the chicken nestled up next to the broccoli, topped with extra sauce and garnishes.

Want to order in instead? Here’s where to get Chinese foods delivered from in NYC and Los Angeles. Try making these dumplings from Mimi Cheng’s.