Middle Eastern Roast Lamb with Tahini Sauce

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Middle Eastern Roast Lamb with Tahini Sauce

Middle Eastern Roast Lamb with Tahini Sauce

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.

Serves 12

Prep Time 45 min

Total Time 270 min.


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

Cooking Directions

Step 1

Mince 6 garlic cloves. Place in a small bowl with 1 1/2 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.

Step 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.

Step 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.

Step 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).

Step 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.

Step 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° (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.