Flavorful and Healthy Lamb Recipes to Make This Week

With so many recipes for chicken, pork, and beef floating around the web, lamb is pretty much a forgotten meat. It seems silly when you consider how well it can change up an otherwise boring meal rotation. And it’s not that far off from beef, nutritionally speaking. According to the American Lamb Board, a 3-ounce lean portion is around 160 calories with less than 6 grams of fat and plenty of protein.

In short, lamb deserves a starring role in your kitchen every now and then. Get started with these five recipes.

1. Iraqi Eggs with Lamb and Tomatoes

dish of kofta tajine

Lamb and poached egg tagine | iStock.com

Steak and eggs are a natural for breakfast, so swapping the standard beef for lamb isn’t all that unusual. Try the combination of this traditional Iraqi breakfast from Saveur. Curry powder and chile flakes give a huge dose of flavor while the combination of lamb and eggs offer a double dose of protein.

Make sure you go for lean ground lamb when you purchase your meat. If your butcher doesn’t specify the percentage of meat to fat, you can always ask them to grind a lean cut for you. As long as the surface fat is trimmed, you’ll end up with some pretty healthy ground meat. Dr. David Katz told O, The Oprah Magazine that lamb has very little marbling, so most of the fat can easily be removed from the surface.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • ⅓ cup minced parsley, divided
  • 1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
  • 2 small tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Crushed red chile flakes
  • Naan or flatbread

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add lamb and cook, stirring to break apart, until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add onion and cook until soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in half of parsley, the curry powder, and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and cook until tomatoes begin to break down, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Use a spoon to create four wells in lamb mixture. Crack an egg into each well. Transfer to oven and bake until whites are set and yolks remain runny, 5 to 7 minutes. Garnish with remaining parsley and chile flakes. Serve with naan.

2. Tabbouleh and Lamb Kebabs

Kebab tabouleh bbq in a white plate

Kebabs with tabbouleh | iStock.com

With plenty of whole grains, fresh herbs, and tomatoes, this tabbouleh from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food makes a super healthy accompaniment to some grilled lamb skewers. The meat is so flavorful on its own, you just need some salt, pepper, and a touch of coriander to make it sing. It’s an easy meal that even tastes good cold, which means leftovers are perfect for lunch.

Though most of us limit our red meat consumption in favor of chicken, lamb may not be as bad for your heart as we once thought. One 2013 study found diets including lamb are just as good for weight control and maintaining heart health, and maybe better, than ones that emphasize chicken consumption.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup bulgur
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced medium
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 pound top round lamb roast, cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Pitas

Directions: Place bulgur in a medium bowl and add boiling water. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 minutes. Drain, then stir in olive oil, lemon juice, tomatoes, scallions, mint, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat a grill or grill pan to high. Thread lamb onto eight skewers and season with salt, pepper, and coriander. Brush grates clean and lightly oil. Grill kebabs, turning occasionally, until medium, about 12 minutes. Serve with tabbouleh, yogurt, and pitas.

3. Lamb Chops with Beer and Mustard Sauce

roasted mutton chops with sauce

Lamb chops with mustard and sauce | iStock.com

Even if you’re a die-hard fan of seasonal cooking, it can feel a little limiting at times. An easier strategy is to go for a main dish you can make any time of year, then use whatever seasonal produce you can find as a side. For tonight’s entreé slot, try this simple lamb chop dish from Eating Well. The sauce is a flavorful combination of beer and mustard that goes as well with fall’s apples as it does with spring’s asparagus.

Another smart reason to reach for lamb? It’s one of the best natural sources of conjugated linoleic acid. One review published in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice reported this nutrient may help reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes.

Ingredients:

  • 8 (3-ounce) lamb rib chops, trimmed
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half, divided
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle beer, divided
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1½ tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Rub lamb with one of the garlic halves, then coat lightly with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add lamb and cook until well browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to an ovenproof dish, transfer to oven, and roast until cooked to your desired doneness, about 10 minutes for medium rare.

Meanwhile, pour beef broth and 1 cup of beer into pan. Stir in molasses and remaining garlic. Bring to a boil and cook over medium-high heat until reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove garlic and stir in mustard.

Combine cornstarch and 2 tablespoons remaining beer in a small bowl. Whisking constantly, add cornstarch mixture to reduced sauce. Cook, stirring, until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Serve lamb with sauce.

4. Lamb Tagine

Stew Moroccan Lamb Tagine in white bowl

Lamb tagine with dried fruit | iStock.com

Lamb plays really well with a wide range of fruit, making it a great protein for all seasons. This easy tagine from Cooking Light incorporates dried apricots, which add both sweetness and tartness to the rich braise. Because this stew is so flavorful, you can round out the meal with nothing more than cooked couscous and wilted greens.

Like other red meats, lamb is rich in a type of compound called L-carnitine. While this nutrient has been studied quite a bit for its relationship to heart disease, results have been pretty mixed. It’s ability to boost your sex life looks more concrete. Studies have linked adequate levels of L-carnitine to lower incidence of erectile dysfunction and better sperm quality. Sounds like a good reason to eat up.

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 (1-pound) boneless leg of lamb roast, trimmed and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1½ cups chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ cup dried apricots, quartered
  • 1 (14-ounce) can low-sodium beef broth

Directions: Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan lightly with cooking spray. Season lamb with ¼ teaspoon salt and add to pan. Cook until browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Remove from pan.

Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes. Add remaining salt, cumin, cinnamon, red pepper, and garlic cloves. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in honey and tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Return lamb to pot with any accumulated juices. Add apricots and broth. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 1 hour, or until lamb is tender, stirring occasionally. Serve.

5. Pasta with Lamb and Rosemary

Dish of Rotini with Tomatoe Sauce

Rotini pasta with tomato sauce, vegetables, and cheese | iStock.com

It’s easy to find yourself eating the same meat sauce and noodle combination over and over again. Give your next pasta supper an interesting twist with this hearty and healthy lamb recipe from Williams-Sonoma. With veggies, whole-grain pasta, and protein-packed lamb, it’s a complete meal that can be on the table in 30 minutes.

Going for grass-fed meat can be pricey, but it’s a pretty wise investment. These animals are generally treated better than ones fed with grain, and TakePart explained this method is the norm for lamb. Research shows grass-fed meat is also a surprisingly good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • ½ pound ground lamb
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 large zucchini, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 10 to 12 ounces rotini or other short-cut pasta, preferably multi-grain
  • ½ cup grated pecorino cheese, plus more

Directions: In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and rosemary and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add lamb and season with salt and pepper. Sauté, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no pink remains, about 3 minutes. Add wine and cook until reduced, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add zucchini, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, stir, and cook until al dente, about 11 minutes. Drain and add to sauce. Add cheese and toss. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve with additional cheese.

Follow Christine on Twitter @christineskopec

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