Receive 10% Off

Pomegranate Chicken Recipe for Muscle Soreness

by Lauren Larson MS, RDN April 12, 2016

Pomegranate Chicken Recipe for Muscle Soreness

While likely far from traditional, this recipe is a version of the Persian dish, Fesenjan. It features chicken cooked in a pomegranate sauce thickened with ground toasted walnuts. The pomegranate, walnuts, saffron, and cinnamon provide DOMS reducing polyphenols.

The chicken provides several amino acids shown to relieve delayed onset muscle soreness. These include taurine, the important branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine)and cysteine, which is used to make taurine in the liver. For an added bonus, the walnuts provide omega-3 fatty acids in addition to other anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds.

The saffron in this recipe is optional, because it can sometimes be hard to find and is rather expensive. If you have some on hand, go ahead and use it, but if you don’t, skipping it won’t dramatically change the dish. You could add a pinch of turmeric (which has numerous health benefits) in its place if you’d like.

This recipe is naturally gluten-free if you use gluten-free chicken broth. To make it grain free, serve it over cauliflower rice or skip the rice altogether. Have some steamed broccoli on the side for additional inflammation-reducing polyphenols. Enjoy!

Pomegranate Chicken Recipe (Fesenjan)

Serves 4| Recipe by Lauren Larson, MS, RDNI Modified from MyRecipes.com

  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 1 cup uncooked brown basmati rice
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1” cubes
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup pomegranate juice
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoons honey
  • Pinch saffron threads, crushed (optional)
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro (optional)

1. Toast walnuts in a dry pan over medium heat until golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate until cool. Once cool, place walnuts in a food processor and process until finely ground. Set aside.

2. Cook rice according to package instructions. Keep warm.

3. Meanwhile, season chicken with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and tenderize with a fork. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown; 6-8 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.

4. Return pan to heat and add remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft; about 3 minutes. Add remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Add ground walnuts, broth, pomegranate juice, tomato paste, honey, saffron, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened; about 10 minutes.

5. Return chicken to pan. Simmer until chicken is cooked through; about 5-10 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as desired.

6. Serve over hot cooked rice garnished with pomegranate seeds and cilantro (if desired).

Lauren Larson MS, RDN
Lauren Larson MS, RDN


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Natural Athlete Solutions

Digestive Formula Eases Indigestion, Naturally
Digestive Formula Eases Indigestion, Naturally

by Dr. Jason Barker November 13, 2018

Digestive Formula provides broad relief for bloating, gas and other digestive unpleasantries with its broad-spectrum digestive enzymes, probiotics and other digestion-promoting nutrients to ensure a healthy digestive process and to promote a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria.
Read More
Cortisol Balance Fixes Your
Cortisol Balance Fixes Your "Wired but Tired"

by Dr. Jason Barker November 06, 2018

Tired but wired? Problems winding down from an intense effort or training block? This is caused by elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol.  Balanced cortisol levels are key for all aspects of rest and recovery.
Read More
Chronic Immune Formula for Long-Term Immune System Support
Chronic Immune Formula for Long-Term Immune System Support

by Dr. Jason Barker November 01, 2018

Long-term illnesses have a draining effect on the immune system. Chronic Immune formula supports and sustains the immune system. 
Read More
Sign up & receive 10% off your order
Want to save 10% on your order today?