Warm lamb & roasted vegetable couscous salad
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour plus resting time
I call this a salad but it’s definitely a meal in itself – halfway between a fresh summery dish and something heart-warming, now that it’s starting to get a little cooler. The flavours and textures work nicely together – I always think beetroot is underrated. It’s delicious, affordable, packed with nutrients and such a beautiful colour; a perfect partner for lamb!
2-3 Quality Mark lamb rumps
2 large beetroot
5-6 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 red onions, quartered
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon nigella seeds (or 2 teaspoons poppy seeds)
1 tablespoon honey, melted
1 cup couscous or rizoni cooked
2 cups baby spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
Extra mint leaves
¾ cup feta, crumbled
½ cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan bake or 200°C conventional bake.
Cut the top and tail off the beetroots and wrap in tinfoil. Place in the oven and bake for an hour.
Add the carrots to a roasting dish with the garlic, onions, sesame seeds, Nigella or poppy seeds, honey and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix it all up to coat evenly and season generously with salt and pepper. Bake in the oven along with the beetroot for the last 40 minutes. Remove everything and set aside.
Increase the oven temperature to 210°C (or 200c fan bake).
Season the lamb rumps with salt and pepper. Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the lamb, fat side down, and cook for a few minutes until browned and crispy, and most of the fat is rendered out. Turn over and cook for another couple of minutes to brown the other sides. Transfer to a roasting pan and roast in the oven for 13-15 minutes for medium. Remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil and rest for at least10 minutes before slicing thinly across the grain.
To make the dressing, whisk the ingredients together and season to taste. Mix the spinach and cooked risoni/orzo or couscous in a bowl with half the dressing.
Rub the skin off the beetroot with your fingers and slice into thin wedges. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon some risoni/orzo/couscous mixture on to plates or bowls, then top with roasted veges, beetroot and sliced lamb. Sprinkle with the feta, pine nuts and extra mint then drizzle with a little more dressing.
Lamb steaks (pan-fry only), lamb rack (same cooking method and times), lamb fillet
- Try to take the lamb out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you cook it so it can come to room temperature.
- Make sure the pan is very hot before you add the lamb, or it will stew instead of sear.
- I like to leave the layer of fat on the lamb rump when I cook it – it adds flavour and moisture. You can always cut it off before you slice it.
- If you don’t have pine nuts, try pistachio nuts, or you could even fry torn up pieces of bread in a little olive oil and salt for crunchy homemade croutons.
- For extra delicious beetroot, cut them in half and stuff with fresh herbs and drizzle with olive oil before wrapping up in foil.
- When you serve the carrots and onions, make sure you use a fish slice to scrape all the sticky bits at the bottom of the tray – this needs to go on the salad as it’s delicious!
- If you have other fresh herbs on hand add them in. Basil, parsley and coriander would all work well added to the salad or the dressing.
- Try frying some chopped haloumi cheese instead of the feta for a real treat.