Leg of Lamb, Curry Quinoa Crust

tri-lamb challenge, lean on lamb, healthy lamb summer recipe, how to roast a leg of lamb

Roast Leg of Lamb Medallion, Curry Quinoa Crust
Over Steamed Spinach
Curried Heirloom Tomato Salsa with Mint
Avocado & Serrano Chile with Lime

So here’s the challenge: Cook a leg of lamb as the main-course to serve at a dinner party for 8 people using no more than 10 ingredients (excluding salt & pepper) with a prep time of under 30 minutes (not including cooking times). It must be healthy, lean, and nutrient-rich – using only “good fats” and “good grains.” The folks at Tri-Lamb are sponsoring this “Lean on Lamb” challenge for cooks in Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington DC with a focus on healthy ORIGINAL recipes for entertaining.

So, as is Taste With The Eyes style, I was looking for harmonious colors, various textures, and memorable flavors to create a vibrant lamb entrée for my guests. All ingredients had to be commonly available, so while the dish is not exotic per se, it is alluring and appealing on a hot summer evening. Heirloom tomatoes add a seasonal element, while the curry adds a bright sunny quality, spicy serrano gives it just enough kick while fresh lime juice (from my tree) brings the tart acidity balance…

10 Ingredients

    1. Leg of Lamb
    2. Quinoa
    3. Curry Powder
    4. Olive Oil
    5. Spinach
    6. Heirloom Tomatoes
    7. Avocado
    8. Serrano Chile
    9. Mint
    10. Lime Juice

leg of lamb, lean on lamb, tri-lamb

Roast Leg of Lamb

      • 1 boneless leg of lamb – rinsed and patted dry, tempered to room temperature
      • 2 t. olive oil
      • salt & pepperhow to roast leg of lamb with netting

Rub a leg of lamb with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook with the netting left on – it is oven-proof and holds the roast together. Roast at 425°F for 30 minutes then lower the temperature to 325°F and cook until the internal temperature reaches 120°F. While the roast is cooking – prepare the quinoa, salsa, and avocado mixture.

Remove the roast from the oven and let it come to room temperature. The roast will continue to cook outside the oven and come up to about 130°F, but the meat will still be rare. Slice the cooled roast into 1″ to 1 1/2″ thick slices then trim the slices to approximately 3 oz. medallions, removing visible fat. A whole roast will make about 8 to 12 portions. Reserve the trimmed pieces for another use (lamb tacos anyone?).

Quinoa Crust

      • 3/4 c. quinoa – rinsed
      • 2 T. olive oil, plus more for brushing the lamb medallions
      • 1 T. curry powder
      • 1/2 t. salt

Heat oil in a medium pot, stir in the curry powder. Add quinoa and toast briefly. Add 1 1/2 c. water and salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Spread quinoa on a baking sheet to cool.

Working in two batches simultaneously, heat a non-stick oven-proof skillet over high heat. Brush a very light layer of olive oil onto the bottom of each lamb medallion. Lightly season the medallions with salt & pepper. Place four medallions into the hot dry skillet, reduce heat to medium. Carefully spoon quinoa onto the top of the medallions, press the quinoa into a mound using the back of the spoon. Some of the quinoa will fall off into the skillet, this is OK, there is plenty of quinoa for 8 servings. After a minute or two, when the bottom of the lamb is beginning to brown, remove the skillet from the burner and place it under the broiler until the quinoa just starts to crisp, then remove and keep warm while finishing the second batch.

tri-lamb challenge, lean on lamb, leg of lamb winner

Curried Heirloom Tomato Salsa with Mint

      • 3 heirloom tomatoes – peeled, seeded, diced
      • 12 mint leaves – chiffonade cut
      • 2 T. olive oil
      • 2 T. lime juice
      • 2  t. curry powder
      • salt & pepper to taste

Whisk olive oil, lime juice and curry powder. Fold in the tomatoes. Add salt & pepper to taste. Add mint just before serving.

 Lime Arm of the Citrus Salad Tree

Avocado and Serrano Chile

      • 2 small avocados, small dice
      • 2 serrano chiles – thinly sliced, seeds removed
      • 1 T. lime juice
      • salt

Place avocado and serranos in a small bowl. Add lime juice and salt to taste.

Steamed Spinach

      • 24 oz. fresh baby spinach
      • 3 T. water

Working in two batches, place spinach in a large microwaveable bowl and sprinkle water over the spinach. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes depending on the strength of the microwave. Place spinach in a colander to drain, cool slightly, squeeze out excess moisture. The spinach needs no extra seasoning as the juices from the lamb and from the salsa add flavor to the fresh clean steamed spinach taste.


Place a portion of warm spinach in the center of each plate. Top with the lamb medallion. Spoon the heirloom tomato salsa around the spinach, drizzling some of the juice around the plate. Then spoon the diced avocado & chiles among the tomato salsa.

Lamb Supper Club, Tri-Lamb, Lean on Lamb

Merci Beaucoup

Extending gratitude to my fellow supper-clubbers for your help with the meal, the feedback, and your jovial camaraderie – Lauren, Sally, Al, Yvonne, Roxy, and Troy! And a hearty thank you to the folks at Tri-Lamb for supplying the fabulous lamb and gift card to help cover the cost of other ingredients in the dish.

Toujours Bon Appétit,
Lori Lynn


13 thoughts on “Leg of Lamb, Curry Quinoa Crust”

  1. Living alone a whole leg of lamb is not always on the menu, even in Australia, but find the recipe so interesting am certain I can tweak it to take in smaller cuts of lamb! And I also love the salsa: now, why didn’t I think of this 🙂 !

      1. Thank you: great idea! Methinks I’ll also ‘play around’ with a rack of lamb or lean lamb steaks!

  2. Oh your idea of using fish sounds good to me (as I don’t trust myself cooking lamb). This is another gorgeous dish LL. Hard to believe just 10 ingredients. I think your skills and personal touch does the trick!!!

  3. Love all that color on the plate. It so endorse the name of your blog. The quinoa was interesting choice for the crust and the salsa is to-die-for!

  4. Definitely a winner – you have surpassed all criteria of the challenge, LL! The quinoa crust and colors (and flavors) of the salsa are surprising and visually appealing.

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