How to make this Lebanese lamb salad with an Australian twist
This salad takes as its foundation a Lebanese dish that uses fresh zataar leaves. It's popular during Ramadan for a couple of reasons.
First, it's easy to prepare: you can do so a day ahead. All you need do is mix in the dressing just before you serve.
Second, while it is light, there is enough here to qualify it as a main rather than a side dish. To that end, I have added the tender grilled lamb, roasted vegetables, beans and chickpeas to make it more balanced.
Fresh zataar leaves can be found at most Middle Eastern grocers. If you can't find any, fresh parsley works just as well.
Serves: 6 - 8 people
Preparation and cooking time: 40 mins
- 750g (1.7lbs) piece of butterflied lamb leg
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsps sumac
- 1½ cups fresh zataar leaves
- 200g (7oz) cherry tomatoes, halved
- 400g (14oz) canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- 400g (14oz) canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 400g (14oz) canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ red pepper, sliced lengthways
- ½ green pepper, sliced lengthways
- ½ yellow pepper, sliced lengthways
- ½ courgette (green zucchini), cut to 1cm wide matchsticks
- 250g (9oz) butternut pumpkin, cut to 1cm wide matchsticks
- 3 tbsps pomegranate seeds
- 3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsps lemon juice
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced
- ½ tsp sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sumac
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF)
- Combine one tsp of sumac and 1 tbsp of olive oil in a bowl. Rub the mix all over the lamb leg.
- On a hot barbecue or grill, sear the lamb leg on both sides. You are not cooking the lamb leg all the way through - just until it changes colour. Remove from heat.
- Place the lamb leg in an oven-proof dish. Complete cooking in the oven for 10-15 mins or until the internal meat temperature reaches 140ºC (275ºF).
- Remove from the oven, cover lightly with foil and allow to rest for about 10 mins before slicing the lamb into thin strips.
- While the lamb is cooking, place the prepared vegetables (excluding the red onion) on a roasting tray. Do not overlap.
- Drizzle the remaining tbsp of olive oil over the vegetables and sprinkle with one tsp of sumac.
- Place the vegetables in the oven for approx 15 mins or until the vegetables have softened, turning halfway. Leave to cool.
- To prepare the dressing, put the sliced onion in a bowl with olive oil, lemon juice, sugar, salt and sumac. Set aside for at least 10 mins.
- In the meantime, put the fresh zataar leaves, beans and chickpeas, roasted vegetables, pomegranate seeds and dressing in a large bowl. Combine well.
- Serve with the lamb pieces on top and another squeeze of fresh lemon juice.