Mint-Pesto Rubbed Leg of Lamb

Mint-Pesto Rubbed Leg of Lamb

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From the EatingWell Kitchen

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. The pesto rub is also a terrific dip for fresh vegetables or a sauce for steamed vegetables.

Ingredients 12 servings

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Original recipe yields 12 servings
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  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, (see Tip)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 3 1/2-pound boneless leg of lamb, butterflied (see Tip) and trimmed


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  • Ready In

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
  2. Place basil, mint, parsley, pine nuts, cheese, oil, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a food processor and process until fairly smooth. Sprinkle lamb all over with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the pesto; spread the rest over the top side of the lamb and roll it closed. (It will not be a perfect cylinder.) Tie kitchen string around the roast in five places; do not tie too tightly or the pesto will squeeze out. Rub the reserved pesto over the outside of the lamb and place in a roasting pan.
  3. Roast the lamb until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 140 °F for medium-rare, about 1 hour 20 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; let rest for 10 minutes. Carve the lamb, leaving the string in place to help hold the roast together.
  • Equipment: Kitchen string
  • Tip: Toast pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Roasting Tips 1. Very cold meat won't roast evenly. Place it on the counter while preheating the oven. 2. Durable cotton kitchen string is sold at kitchenware stores, most gourmet markets and large supermarkets. Do not use sewing thread or yarn, which may contain inedible dyes or unsavory chemicals. 3. A heavy-duty, high-sided roasting pan is essential for conducting heat evenly. Never substitute a cookie sheet. A broiler pan will work in a pinch, but the roast will inevitably be somewhat chewier. 4. Give it a rest. A roast's internal temperature will rise about 10 °while resting. The natural juices will also reincorporate into the meat's fibers and the skin or crust will dry out slightly for a more toothsome yet more succulent dinner.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 3 oz.
  • Per serving: 250 calories; 17 g fat(6 g sat); 0 g fiber; 1 g carbohydrates; 22 g protein; 22 mcg folate; 79 mg cholesterol; 0 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 263 IU vitamin A; 2 mg vitamin C; 25 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 249 mg sodium; 293 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Zinc (29% daily value)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 0
  • Exchanges: 3 lean meat

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