Cocoa-Rubbed Chicken Thighs with Orange-Pomegranate Salsa


Make a big batch of the cocoa-infused spice rub in this healthy baked chicken thigh recipe and let it be your weeknight secret weapon. It's also great on salmon, steak and tofu. Serve with brown basmati rice or whole-wheat couscous.

Prep Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 6 large bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)

  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar

  • 1 large navel orange

  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Position a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450 degrees F.

  2. Combine brown sugar, cocoa, coriander, paprika, 3/4 teaspoon salt and cayenne in a small bowl. Rub about half of the mixture under the chicken skin, then rub the rest on the skin. Place on a baking sheet. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh without touching bone registers 165 degrees F, 20 to 25 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, combine shallot, vinegar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. Zest the orange. Cut off and discard the peel and white pith; coarsely chop the fruit. Add the zest, chopped orange, pomegranate seeds, parsley and oil to the shallot and stir to combine. Serve with the chicken.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

406 Calories
24g Fat
15g Carbs
31g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Serving Size 1 thigh & 1/4 cup salsa
Calories 406
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 11g
Added Sugars 4g 8%
Protein 31g 63%
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 6g 31%
Cholesterol 173mg 58%
Vitamin A 486IU 10%
Vitamin C 19mg 21%
Folate 28mcg 7%
Sodium 457mg 20%
Calcium 37mg 3%
Iron 2mg 11%
Magnesium 40mg 10%
Potassium 484mg 10%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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