Sunday, 21 April 2013

cumin roast lamb with za'atar spiced chickpeas & rocket

Sunday roast lamb with a twist.  I love this combination of cumin roast lamb and za'atar spiced chickpeas with rocket.  A mixture of Middle Eastern and North African flavours that I love to experiment with.

A great alternative to the traditional Sunday roast and ready in half the time.  Full of punchy, strong, earthy flavours and perfect for these warmer Spring days (OK - I am being hopeful as there is a bit of sun in the sky and I didn't wear my waterproof jacket when going out today!).

My za'atar spiced chickpeas are inspired by a recipe for garbanzos con espinacas (chickpeas with spinach) from the fabulous Moro Cookbook by Sam and Sam Clark.  They go great with this roast lamb but would work equally well as a side dish to any roast or as a tapas with other dishes.

The lamb would also work well with my za'atar roast potatoes or easy flat breads

I hope you enjoy - let me know how you get on......

serves 4-6 people


cumin roast lamb

1.5-2kg lamb shoulder
2 tbs cumin seeds
1 lemon
2 bay leaves
1 head garlic
salt and pepper

za'atar spiced chickpeas & rocket

150g rocket (spinach and watercress would work well too)
2x400g tins cooked chickpeas
400ml water
1 tsp chilli flakes
6 cloves garlic chopped
1 tbs za'atar
150g breadcrumbs (I made mine by giving some stale white bread a whizz in the food processor)
2 tbs red wine/sherry vinegar
2 tbs olive oil

to serve
fresh mint and coriander chopped
lemon wedges


cumin roast lamb

  • preheat the oven to 220C 
  • squeeze the juice of the lemon over the lamb, then rub in the cumin seeds and salt and pepper.
  • place the lamb in a roasting pan with the head of garlic (separated into cloves), bay leaves, and lemon (leftover from juice)
  • roast the lamb for 20 mins per 450g plus an extra 20 mins. Cook at 220C for the first 20 mins and then 190C for the remaining time.  
  • remove from the oven when done and leave to stand for at least 20 minutes which gives the meat a chance to relax and for the flavours to develop.  

za'atar spiced chickpeas & rocket

  • heat a frying pan with the oil, when hot add the breadcrumbs and chopped garlic - fry until lightly golden brown.
  • add the drained chickpeas, za'atar, vinegar and chilli flakes and stir-fry for a few minutes before adding the water.  
  • cook for a few more minutes until well mixed and heated through.   
  • Take off the heat and stir in the rocket to wilt.  
  • This dish is best served at room temperature which gives the flavours a chance to mingle - I leave to stand for about 20 minutes before serving.  

and finally....

  • carve the lamb into large chunky slices and serve with the za'atar spiced chickpeas.
  • garnish with chopped mint and coriander and serve with lemon wedges.
  • Enjoy :-) 


  1. Wow - this is so creative. Just love the lamb, rocket, garbanzo combo. I am a lamb lover. Hope you will come and chat and cook with us at Tasting Jerusalem. What a lovely perspective on food and cooking that you share.

    1. Thanks so much - will definitely be coming over to Tasting Jerusalem - it looks awesome and delicious - lots of brilliant recipes. I have another lamb recipe coming soon using my rose harissa sauce. I will get it posted soon.
      Thanks again for the lovely comments :-)