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Roast Leg of Lamb With Quinoa-Pistachio Stuffing

Servings: 8

Tender quinoa, crunchy pistachios, and salty capers team up with shallots, scallions, and spices to make an unexpected and delightful stuffing for a rolled leg of lamb.


  • 1/2 cup white quinoa, rinsed well and drained
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for serving
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots (about 1 large)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions, white and green parts
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. capers, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 3-1/2- to 4-lb. boneless leg of lamb, butterflied, pounded to flatten if uneven, and trimmed of excess fat
  • Flaky sea salt


  • In a small saucepan, cook the quinoa according to package directions. Put the quinoa in a medium bowl and set aside to cool.
  • Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the shallots and cook until beginning to soften, about 1 minute. Add the scallions, garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and fragrant, another 1-1/2 minutes. Add the shallots and scallions to the quinoa, scraping the skillet. Add the pistachios, capers, and 1 Tbs. of the oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. The mixture should be highly seasoned. Let cool.
  • Unroll the lamb fat side down on a work surface, and season liberally with about 1 tsp. kosher salt and several grinds of pepper. Spread the stuffing evenly over the surface, and roll the lamb into a cylinder so the grain of the meat runs the length of the roast. Using kitchen string, secure the roll at 1-1/2-in. intervals, tying snugly but without squeezing out the stuffing. Finish by weaving a long loop of twine around the roast lengthwise to secure the end flaps. Season the outside of the roast with salt and pepper. Place the lamb on a shallow roasting pan or heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet just a bit larger than the roast. For best flavor, refrigerate the lamb, uncovered or loosely covered, at least overnight and up to 36 hours.
  • Pat the lamb dry with paper towels, and then rub the entire surface of the lamb with the remaining 1 Tbs. oil and let sit at room temperature for up to 2 hours. Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat reads 120 to 125°F for rare, about 55 minutes; or 130°F for medium, 1-1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Transfer to a carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Carve, removing the kitchen string as you go, and doing your best to keep the slices intact as you serve them. Sprinkle with flaky salt and drizzle a thread of olive oil over the lamb before serving, if you like.


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Reviews (1 review)

  • alk520 | 04/10/2022

    Leg of lamb is not a kosher cut of meat unless the sciatic nerve is removed, which butchers do not typically do.

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