A deliciously simple dinner that is perfect for warmer evenings. Inspired by North African flavours, this easy peasy Harissa Lamb with Chickpea and Pomegranate Salad recipe is ideal for a quick midweek supper, yet delicious enough to make for a weekend treat. It can be cooked indoors on a griddle pan or outdoors on the barbecue – perfect for our impossible-to-judge British weather – it also happens to be dairy and gluten free and pretty healthy too!
I really love lamb, it’s super tasty and very versatile, so when the people from ‘Tasty Easy Lamb’ got in touch and asked me to take part in their #lovelambchallenge to find creative new recipes suitable for a midweek family dinner, I jumped at the chance to get creative in the kitchen. After all, midweek family dinners are what I do best!
I had a good idea of what I wanted to do too. I have been hugely influenced by North African food lately (have you seen the number of tagines I’ve posted recently?!) and really wanted to do something with a North African vibe, but something that would be simple and light enough for a midweek meal on a warm spring or summer’s evening (I try to think positively!)
Back in October I made a delicious recipe involving salmon marinated in harissa and lemon juice – such fab flavours and I just knew the marinade would work well with lamb. Though, I’ve used harissa in lamb dishes before, I hadn’t previously used it as a marinade on lamb. And, of course, it worked beautifully – the sweet, smoky, spicy flavours are just an incredible partner to lamb.
Harissa is a spicy paste used in North African and Middle Eastern food. The recipes can vary quite a bit, but the main ingredients tend to be red peppers, chillies, garlic, olive oil, paprika and coriander – all things that go wonderfully with lamb. Not only do the recipes vary, but so does the level of heat – so please be careful, as brands can vary from mild to super hot and they don’t often say! Do do a little taste test first or you might just get your head blown off… You have been warned!! I used a fairly mild one from the Tesco Ingredients range, but I have also used one from Bart Ingredients before, which is also quite mild.
I chose to use boneless lamb legs to make this dish – boneless lamb legs are a great cut for a midweek meal – they are quick and easy to cook, fairly cheap and very tasty. They are also easily available from supermarkets and butchers. To make this dish even quicker to cook, you could use ready cubed lamb – though try to get cubes from leg of lamb rather than shoulder, as shoulder is more suited to a long slow cook (such as in my Lamb and Apricot Tagine or Lamb Rogan Josh).
To enhance the flavours of the lamb and harissa marinade, I chose to cook the lamb in my griddle pan. The slightly charred taste you get from using a griddle pan goes so well with the smoky, spicy flavours in the marinade and is a wonderfully quick and easy way to cook a tender cut of lamb like leg steaks – this recipe would also lend itself brilliantly to being cooked on a barbecue. If you don’t have a griddle pan and the weather’s not nice enough for a barbecue, you can just use a regular frying pan (non-stick ideally). It will still taste good!
To go with the lamb I have created a salad that is inspired by one I found in Persiana. Back in February I reviewed this wonderful book by Sabrina Ghayour – which is a collection of beautiful and delicious recipes from all over the Middle East and beyond. In it, Sabrina shares her recipe for Shirazi Salad – an absolutely gorgeous mix of tomatoes, cucumber, red onions and pomegranate seeds. I have taken her recipe and adapted it slightly – making it more substantial by adding chickpeas (also a staple of Middle Eastern cookery) and spinach, as well as simplifying the dressing slightly. The result is a delicious, healthy, easy salad that perfectly compliments the harissa marinated lamb.
As you would expect from me, this lamb salad is very easy to throw together and only takes 25 minutes including marinating and resting the lamb, so it’s ideal for a midweek supper, but it’s definitely delicious enough for a weekend treat too! This recipe is naturally gluten and dairy free and low carb too. I think it’s filling enough to serve just as it is – but if you are feeling the need for a few extra carbs, or you want to turn this simple lamb salad into a bit of a feast, serve with pitta bread or flatbreads… and some maybe even some homemade tzatziki!
Wine wise – a little tricky to find a wine to match all those flavours, but I would suggest a Spanish Garnacha would work well here – either red or rosé.
If you love lamb and would like more recipes to inspire you, I recommend having a look at my other lamb recipes >>
If you like this recipe…
…you might also like:
Harissa Lamb with Chickpea and Pomegranate Salad
- 2 tablespoons harissa paste (I used one from Tesco Ingredients), or to taste
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
- 4 boneless lamb leg steaks roughly 150g / 5¼oz each
Chickpea and Pomegranate Salad
- ½ red onion diced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 200 g cherry tomatoes quartered
- 1 small cucumber diced
- 400 g tin chickpeas drained
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Black pepper
- Seeds of 1 small pomegranate or 2 x 80g / 3oz pots pomegranate seeds
- 200 g baby spinach
- Brown or white pittas to serve (optional)
- Start by making the marinade for the lamb. Mix together the harissa paste, olive oil, lemon juice plus a little salt and pepper, and then add the lamb steaks. Try to marinate the lamb for at least 10 minutes – if you can do this an hour or two ahead of time, that would be even better.
- To make the salad, place the diced red onions, salt, and lemon juice in a bowl and mix thoroughly. This will help soften the onions and make the flavour less harsh. The onions will also flavour the dressing beautifully. Add the quartered cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, drained chickpeas and olive oil, along with a few twists of black pepper and half the pomegranate seeds and stir everything together. Set aside, while you cook the lamb to allow the flavours of the salad to develop.
- Heat up your griddle pan over a high heat for 1 minute. (Use a non stick frying pan if you don't have a griddle pan.) There is no need to put any oil in the pan.
- Remove the lamb from the marinade and place in the griddle pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Turn over using tongs and cook for a further 2 minutes. This should result in perfectly pink meat inside – if you want it well done, do it for 3 minutes each side... Or for rare, 1 minute each side.
- When it has finished cooking, remove your lamb steaks from the griddle pan and place them on a board. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then chop them into bite-sized cubes.
- To arrange your salad, divide the spinach up among 4 plates or large bowls. Put a quarter of the chickpea salad on top of each portion of spinach. Arrange the lamb cubes on top and, finally, scatter with the reserved pomegranate seeds. Drizzle over any remaining dressing from the bottom of the salad bowl.
- Alternatively, put the spinach, lamb, chickpea salad and pomegranate seeds on the table and allow everyone to make up their own salad.
- Not suitable for freezing (except the lamb on its own IS suitable for freezing).
- Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
FREE 4 Week Easy Dinners Meal Plan
Have you got your hands on a copy of my meal plan yet? If not CLICK HERE to download a copy of my FREE 4 Week Easy Dinners Meal Plan today!
Don’t want to miss a thing?
Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Or why not subscribe to my blog and get delicious, stress free recipes straight to your inbox every week?
This is a collaborative post with the ‘LAMB. Tasty Easy Fun’ campaign. ‘LAMB. Tasty Easy Fun’ is an EU funded campaign which aims to increase the use of lamb in everyday cooking. Lamb is often considered difficult to cook, expensive, or something to be saved for Sunday roasts. The aim of the campaign is to demonstrate just how tasty, easy and fun lamb is to cook with every day of the week!
Jessica Cantoni says
Mmmmm I’m a big fan of Middle Eastern flavours, and I especially love harrisa! I have the Persiana book, so will definitely try this one day 🙂 I need a griddle pan!! X
Eb Gargano says
Me too – aren’t they just fab!! I am hugely influenced by Persiana at the moment – just such an awesome book of awesome flavours!! This recipe’s mine (so not in the book) but the Shirazi salad that this was partly inspired by is in her book and I really recommend it – really simple but super tasty!! Oh you so do need a griddle pan – they are brilliant. I personally find the non stick variety easier to deal with (and cheaper) than the cast iron ones, which are gorgeous but require seasoning – far too much like hard work for me!! Having said that, this recipe is totally do-able in a regular frying pan and will still taste delicious 🙂 Eb x
Sounds delicious. Anything with harissa is a winner in my book! Thanks for linking up to #CookBlogShare
Eb Gargano says
Thanks Mandy! Yes, in my book too!! Just so scrumptious – and works so well with so many different things 🙂 Eb x
Charlotte Oates says
Another yummy sounding lamb dish from you. I’m really going to have to work hard on converting Jon to lamb so I can try more of them! Thanks for the warning about the harissa. I’ve only used the Tesco one which, as you said, is quite mild. The boys can’t cope with anything too hot so we would have been in for a bit of a shock if I’d randomly switched to something else (which I’m very prone to do).
Loving the pictures, the pomegranate makes them look so vibrant x
Eb Gargano says
You really are, Charlotte!! Surely smothered in harissa is a good way to convince him! 🙂 Ooh yes, the Tesco harissa is great as it is so mild – perfect with kids (and me to be honest – I’m not great at super hot!), but some of them are seriously fiery!! I do love pomegranates for making, well, pretty much everything look prettier! They are a food stylist’s dream!! And they happen to taste pretty gorgeous too! I have to work hard to persuade myself not to put them on everything!! Thanks for your kind comments 🙂 Eb x
Kirsty Hijacked By Twins says
Oooh this salad looks and sounds delicious. I love all of the colours in the salad. Simply perfect! x #CookBlogShare
Eb Gargano says
Thanks Kirsty, they are great colours, aren’t they? For me one of the joys of summer is how pretty the food is. I love a good slow cooked beef stew, but it isn’t exactly pretty, is it? Whereas summer salads are just gorgeous!! Thanks so much for selecting this to go in your #cookblogshare roundup! Eb x
It looks gorgeous! Harissa definitely does make a great east marinade for lamb and I love the chickpeas in here too.
Eb Gargano says
Thank you, Corina. Oh yes, I agree – harissa and lamb go so well! And so simple to throw together at the end of a busy day. Eb x
Annie B says
The other day I was going to buy some pomegranates and I thought to myself ‘does anyone even eat these or do they just put them in fizz’. Now I know and I am inspired to try them in non liquid/alcoholic based dishes. haha. #MakingHome
Eb Gargano says
Haha! That really made me laugh!! Yes they are nice in food too – I eat loads of them, but I’ve never thought to put them in fizz before – going to have to try that! They are supposed to be super good for you too. If you need some inspiration search ‘pomegranate’ on my website – I’ve done quite a few things with them on my blog: a quinoa and pomegranate tabbouleh, jewelled couscous, a rice salad and even a tagine – I just love them!! Eb x
Honest Mum says
Love this salad x
Eb Gargano says
Thanks Vicki! x