If you're looking for an elegant entrée to place in the middle of your dining table, I have the perfect one for you. This Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb gives an impressive presentation yet it's much easier than you would think. Minced garlic, herbs, and spices add depth of flavor to this tender meat, while the roasted tomatoes, olives, and onions create a lovely compliment as a side. This dish will prove to be the crowning display of beauty at your Holiday get-together.
If you know anything about me, my "style" whether it's decorating, fashion or food, I lean toward an "elegant but simple" design. And you won't believe how SIMPLE this Roasted Leg of Lamb is. I love to make recipes that look as if they take a lot of time and energy but, in reality, are amazingly painless. And, I promise, this Leg of Lamb recipe is quite deceptive in that way. Make a rub of spices and herbs throw the lamb in the oven to roast and relax with a glass of wine while the oven does all the work.
Another truly easy lamb recipe is this Rack of Lamb with Apricot Mustard Glaze. If you're looking for another elegant entrée that is so beautiful on a table check out these Wild Rice Stuffed Cornish Hens.
Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb
- Boneless Leg of Lamb. You can choose either bone-in or boneless. The boneless leg of lamb cooks faster but the bone-in is a little more flavorful and less expensive.
- Olive Oil. This is to help the garlic and herbs adhere better to the lamb.
- Garlic Cloves. Part of the herb and spice rub that adds tons of flavor is minced garlic.
- Herbes de Provence. This herb is a collection of several herbs and is an essential ingredient in French and Mediterranean cooking. That's why it works so well in this leg of lamb recipe.
- Fresh Thyme and Rosemary. These two herbs pair especially wonderfully with lamb. You could use oregano also.
- Salt and Pepper.
- Ground Cumin. Cumin, which is nutty, earthy, and spicy, tends to show up in many lamb recipes.
- Red Pepper Flakes. These add the ideal touch of heat to this dish.
- Cherry Tomatoes. These roast alongside the leg of lamb.
- Sweet Onions. Large chunks of onions are scattered throughout the dish with both the tomatoes and the kalamata olives.
- Kalamata Olives. Olives, and especially Kalamata ones are very often found in Mediterranean cuisine. They add a rich fruity flavor.
- Lemons. These are quartered and roasted with the other vegetables.
- Dry White Wine. Wine adds complexity to the finished dish while adding acidity to balance everything out.
How to Cook a Leg of Lamb
Before I started cooking with lamb, I was quite intimidated by it. Believe it or not, it is one of the easiest meats to prepare. Because the leg of lamb can be somewhat expensive, you want to make sure the results are well worth the money spent. If you follow the tips that I have included in this post, it's pretty simple to end up with a tender, juicy and flavorful entree.
- Pull the lamb from the refrigerator. Let it sit out to come to room temperature for at least an hour (depending on its size) before you throw it in the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Pat the lamb down with paper towels. You want to remove the moisture from the surface of the meat before seasoning it.
- Roll and truss the meat. Trussing is simply tying the meat with butcher twine (cotton kitchen string) which holds everything tightly in place and helps the lamb cook more uniformly. Trussing is probably the only "real" effort and time that goes into this recipe. The best option all around is asking your butcher to roll and tie it for you.
- Smear olive oil over all the lamb and generously season with salt and pepper.
- Combine the ingredients for the rub. The garlic, herbs, and spices make this meat incredibly flavorful.
- Oven-sear the meat before roasting. Preheat the oven to 450°F, let it get really hot, and then place the leg of lamb, uncovered, in the oven. Fifteen minutes is a good amount of time to establish a nice outer crust.
- Scatter the tomatoes, onions, kalamata olives, and lemon wedges all around the lamb. Drizzle olive oil over the vegetables and sprinkle them with salt. Pour in a cup of dry white wine.
- Turn the oven down to 325°F. Put the lamb back in the oven until it reaches the desired doneness.
- Use an instant-read digital thermometer to test the internal temperature. When it comes to this Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb I prefer it cooked “rare.” I want that beautiful red meat showing through when I slice and plate it. Everybody has their own preference so I am including this cooking chart (below) which I found on What’s Cooking America.
- Rare: 120 to 125 degrees F – center is bright red, pinkish toward the exterior portion
- Medium Rare: 130 to 135 degrees F – center is very pink, slightly brown toward the exterior portion
- Medium: 140 to 145 degrees F – center is light pink, outer portion is brown
- Medium Well: 150 to 155 degrees F – not pink
- Well Done: 160 degrees F and above – meat is uniformly brown throughout
- Let the meat rest before slicing. Remove the meat from the pan and tent a large piece of foil over the meat and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
- Gently remove the roasted veggies and place them in a serving dish. Pour the remaining juices from the pan over the vegetables.
Which is better Bone-In or Boneless Leg of Lamb?
You could use either bone-in or boneless leg of lamb for this recipe. The finished dish will be pretty much the same but there are a few differences to understand for you to make the final decision.
A Bone-In Leg of Lamb will have more flavor because the bone marrow will permeate the meat during the cooking process enhancing both the rich flavors and the juiciness. There is a definite "fancy" feel about the bone-in. It's a dazzling centerpiece on the table. The downside to the bone-in is it takes longer to cook and it is much harder to carve.
A Boneless Leg of Lamb is great for calculating exactly how many people it will feed but it will cost you more at the checkout. The roasting time is shorter than the bone-in and carving is a breeze since you do not have to work around the bone.
Which is better using a marinade or a Rub?
Marinating is usually left for tougher pieces of meat. And because lamb is naturally tender, there is no value in using a marinade for this particular recipe. The fibers of the lamb can be broken down too much with marinating, causing the texture to become mushy and mealy.
So for this recipe, I went with a rub, which btw makes this meat incredibly flavorful. It consists of minced garlic, spices, and herbs. It's honestly the perfect enhancement for this lamb. Also, this rub would actually be fantastic on any roast recipe you want to make.
Should you Let the Lamb "Rest" before Slicing
Probably the most important part of cooking any type of meat is the "resting time" once it comes out of the oven. The juices need time to redistribute back into the meat. If you cut into it too soon, all those lovely juices just seep right on out. Once it's out of the oven, remove the meat from the pan and tent a large piece of foil over the meat, and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
Tips for the Best Roast Leg of Lamb
- Remove the lamb from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature for at least an hour (depending on its size) before you throw it in the oven. Taking the chill off of the meat will cut down on your cooking time and ensure the lamb is roasted evenly throughout.
- Make sure and tie the leg of lamb. This gives your roast an even shape for even cooking and it helps lock in the juiciness of the meat. Check out this youtube video which takes you step by step through the process of tying. Most of the time when you buy a boneless leg of lamb, it has an elastic netting around it which you can actually use instead of tying it yourself. I’m not as crazy about this look because it’s not that pretty but it is convenient.
- Oven-sear the meat. Searing the meat locks in the juices before you ever start roasting. When you sear, the natural sugars caramelize and the rub becomes nice and crispy which creates a lovely brown crust on the surface.
- Do not overcook. The best way to tell if the roast is done is to use an instant-read digital thermometer. Every oven is different therefore trying to time the cooking process is very chancy.
- Slice the meat against the Grain. The "grain" is the muscle fibers that run through the meat. When you cut across the grain (not parallel) it shortens those tough fibers. This ends up doing most of the hard work of chewing for you. Therefore it creates a more tender and juicer bite.
Can Boneless Leg of Lamb be made ahead of time?
Absolutely. You will want to tie the lamb and prep it with the herb rub the day before roasting. Tightly cover it with foil and place it in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, take it out of the fridge and let it set out for at least one hour until it comes to room temperature. Roast as directed.
How to Store Leftover Lamb
Let it cool completely and place individual slices in an airtight container. It can be stored in the refrigerator up to four days and in your freezer for three months. When ready to reheat, wrap the thawed lamb slices tightly in foil and place in a 325°F oven until heated thoroughly.
What goes well with Roast Leg of Lamb?
- Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes. Tender sliced potatoes swim in a luscious cream sauce that is flavored with garlic, onions, and thyme. These Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes have layers of melted sharp cheddar cheese that are absolutely divine.
- Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes. These Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes are so flavorful you don’t even need to pour on the gravy.
- Hasselback Potatoes. This buttery-cheesy Hasselback Potato Recipe is full of herbs, onions, and garlic and it’s brimming with flavor. An abundance of butter and melting cheese seep down into the grooves for an incredibly delicious side dish.
- Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto. An elegant classy side dish that is beautiful alongside any entrée, especially this Boneless Leg of Lamb.
- Sautéed Mushrooms in Marsala Sauce. This Sautéed Mushroom Recipe incorporates dry marsala wine, butter, shallots, garlic, and a touch of lemon juice. A shimmering dish that has a gourmet feel but with the ease of carefree cooking.
- Sautéed Brussel Sprouts. The blue cheese and Medjool dates complement the Brussel Sprouts in such a way that gives this dish an added dimension of flavors and textures.
- Oven Roasted Green Beans. Feta cheese, kalamata olives, and sundried tomatoes enhance these Oven Roasted Green Beans with flavors and textures layered throughout.
This Boneless Roasted Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives will be a crowning display of beauty on your Christmas table this year. It's also melt-in-your-mouth tender and infused with flavor that I can't even describe. You never have to disclose how easy this gorgeous entree is. Last night I made this recipe and I'm still savoring the flavors today. Thank goodness I have leftovers.
More Holiday Main Course Recipes
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Roasted Leg of Lamb
This Roasted Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives is an elegant entree for your table. Minced garlic, herbs, and spices add depth of flavor to this tender meat. This dish will prove to be the crowning display of beauty at your next dinner party.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes (without tying time)
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 12 servings 1x
- Category: Meat
- Method: Roasting
- Cuisine: Leg of Lamb
- 5-7 pounds boneless Leg of Lamb, rolled and tied
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil, divided
- 6 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Rosemary, chopped
- 2 teaspoon Kosher Salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
- 2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 12-14 large Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 heaping cup Kalamata Olives
- 2 Sweet Onions, cut into ½ inch wedges
- 2 Lemons, quartered
- 1 cup Dry White Wine
- Pull the leg of lamb from the refrigerator and let it sit out for about an hour before it is ready to go into the oven.
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Pat the lamb dry with paper towels and smear 1 tablespoon of olive oil on all sides.
- Combine 6 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon each of Herb de Provence, fresh rosemary and thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Rub the mixture on all sides of the lamb. Place the lamb in a large roasting pan (do not cover it with foil) and cook for 15 minutes in the 450°F oven to get a nice sear.
- Pull the roast out of the oven and scatter 12-14 large cherry tomatoes (halved), 2 sweet onion wedges, one heaping cup of kalamata olives, and 2 lemons (quartered) around the roast. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt on the veggies. Pour in 1 cup dry white wine.
- Turn the oven down to 325°F and continue to cook for 40-55 minutes. Because of oven temperature variations and different weights of the lamb, time is not the best indicator for a perfectly cooked roast. An instant-read thermometer will give an accurate internal temperature. Rare should read 120-125°F, Medium-Rare 130-135°F, Medium 140-145°F.
- When done, pull the pan from the oven, place the roast on a meat cutting board, cover with foil and let rest for 15-20 minutes.
- Using scissors, cut the string or netting, remove and discard. Slice the lamb against the grain.
- Spoon the vegetables into a serving bowl, add pan juices and squeeze the lemon wedges over them. Serve with the lamb.
- Remove the lamb from the refrigerator at least an hour before you throw it in the oven bringing it to room temperature. This lets the meat relax and its natural juices reabsorb into the muscles. Taking the chill off of the meat will cut down on your cooking time and ensure the lamb is cooked evenly throughout.
- Trussing is simply tying the meat with butcher twine (cotton kitchen string) which holds everything tightly in place and helps the lamb cook more uniformly. Check this youtube video out which takes you step by step in this process.
- Marinating is usually left for tougher pieces of meat. And because lamb is naturally tender, there is no value in using a marinade. The fibers of the meat can be broken down too much with marinating, causing the texture to become mushy and mealy.
- So for this recipe, I went with a rub, which makes this meat incredibly flavorful. It consists of minced garlic, spices, and herbs. It's honestly the perfect enhancement for this lamb.
- Searing the meat locks in the juices before you ever start roasting. When you sear, the natural sugars caramelize and the rub gets crispy which creates a lovely brown crust on the surface.
- Time is not the best indicator for a perfectly cooked roast. It's best to invest in an instant-read thermometer for an accurate read on when a roast is done.
- Probably the most important part of cooking any type of meat is the "resting time" once it comes out of the oven. The juices need time to redistribute back into the meat. If you cut into it too soon, all those lovely juices just seep right on out.
- Once it's out of the oven, remove the meat from the pan and tent a large piece of foil over the meat and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
- The proper way to slice any meat including this Leg of Lamb is to cut it against the grain. The "grain" is the muscle fibers that run through the meat. When you cut across the grain (not parallel) it shortens those tough fibers.
- Serving Size: 6 ounces of Lamb
- Calories: 529
- Sugar: 8 g
- Sodium: 364 mg
- Fat: 35 g
- Saturated Fat: 16 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 3 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 7 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 43 g
- Cholesterol: 170 mg
Keywords: Roasted Boneless Leg of Lamb, Boneless Leg of Lamb, Boneless Leg of Lamb Recipe, Lamb Roast Cooking time