Middle Eastern Roast Lamb with Tahini Sauce

Middle Eastern Roast Lamb with Tahini Sauce

1 Review
From: EatingWell Magazine, May/June 2009

Inspired by Middle Eastern shawarma sandwiches, here we season leg of lamb with a flavorful spice paste spiked with garlic, cardamom, paprika and cumin and grill it over indirect heat to approximate the gentle cooking of a rotisserie. Serve the tahini sauce on the side—and be sure to keep any leftovers. They're great tucked into a pita pocket with shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes.

Ingredients 12 servings

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  • 8 medium cloves garlic, divided
  • 2½ teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1½ teaspoons ground mace
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 4-pound boneless leg of lamb, butterflied and trimmed (see Tip)
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup tahini , (see Tip)
  • ½ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 6 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt, preferably Greek-style
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper


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  1. Mince 6 garlic cloves. Place in a small bowl with 1½ teaspoons salt and mash into a paste using the back of a spoon. Stir in oil, mace, cardamom, paprika, cinnamon, cumin and cayenne until combined.
  2. Open lamb so it's flat, with the cut side up. Spread three-quarters of the spice paste over the cut surface. Roll the lamb closed and tie in several places so it is about the shape of a large football. Spread the remaining paste over the outside. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. Mince the remaining 2 garlic cloves. Combine with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl with lemon juice, tahini, parsley, yogurt, water and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. About 20 minutes before you are ready to grill, preheat a gas grill (with all burners lit) to 400°F or build a fire in a charcoal grill and let it burn down to medium heat (about 400°F).
  5. If using a gas grill, turn off one burner (leaving 1 to 2 burners lit, depending on your grill). If using a charcoal grill, move the coals to one side. Place the lamb on the unheated side of the grill rack. Close the lid and roast undisturbed for 30 minutes.
  6. Rotate the lamb 180 degrees, cover and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 140°F (for medium-rare) to 145 degrees (for medium), 20 to 40 minutes more. Transfer to a clean cutting board; let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with the tahini sauce.
  • Tips: Have your butcher “butterfly” a boneless leg of lamb (that is, open it up to a large, flat cut of meat); ask that any visible fat be trimmed off.
  • Tahini is a thick paste of ground sesame seeds. Look for it in large supermarkets in the Middle Eastern section or near other nut butters.

Nutrition information

  • Per serving: 383 calories; 20 g fat(5 g sat); 1 g fiber; 5 g carbohydrates; 46 g protein; 51 mcg folate; 135 mg cholesterol; 0 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 347 IU vitamin A; 8 mg vitamin C; 44 mg calcium; 4 mg iron; 596 mg sodium; 600 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Iron (22% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: ½
  • Exchanges: ½ other carbohydrate, 3 lean meat, 1½ fat

Reviews 1

August 09, 2011
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By: Sue Sullivan
Delicious even for a non-lamb fan My husband loves lamb. I'm not a fan. We were thrilled to try this recipe because I even liked it. It was delicious! We used leg of lamb steaks to make it even easier. We didn't have to roll it, and it took a lot less time to cook. I doubled the sauce since I loved putting lots of it on the meat. Pros: Spices and sauce were delicious, easy
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