Yes, I realize it was just a few days ago that I posted Ten Vegetarian Recipes for the Grill and then a vegetarian pasta salad (with plenty of variations) just a couple of days later. I realize I’m swaying between extremes, like a bungi-jumper standing on a precipice, trying to decide if he’s completely nuts or wickedly cool (been there – but that’s a story for another day). Hey, I love my vegetarian meals, but sometimes a girl needs a good piece of red meat to satisfy her carnivorous tendencies. As far as red meat goes, lamb is a good option when it comes to making healthy choices. Okay, it’s not quite as lean as the bison I used in Lean Bison & Barley Soup, but it has several things going for it.
To start, lamb chops have a wonderful mild and almost sweet flavor. When cooked properly (medium-rare, in my book), it is tender and juicy. As far as the fat content, lamb has less marbling (fat running through it) than beef. So, when you trim any extra fat from the outside of the chops, you end up with a pretty lean piece of meat. One 3-ounce serving of lamb weighs in at about 170 calories. That’s a small caloric price to pay for the benefit of ingesting high levels of iron and zinc.
As with any meat, one of the keys to serving a healthy meal lies in the preparation. If you cook with copious amounts of butter or oil, or douse the meat in rich sauces, the leanest cut of meat turns into a plate booby-trapped with saturated fat and mega calories. Keeping things simple not only reduces the fat and calorie count but it also lets the natural flavor of the meat take center stage.
This lamb is simply seasoned with salt, pepper and dried oregano, then cooked quickly on the grill. Once it comes off the grill, it is brightened with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and topped with a fresh salad of tomato, cucumber and kalamata olives. Season, grill, serve…that’s my kind of meal.
To round out the meal, we stuck to “simple” and served the lamb with some of Bush’s Grillin’ Beans. I “hummed” and “haw-ed” over the seven types of Grillin’ Beans (any of my favorites would have worked well here), and finally decided on the Sweet Mesquite flavor – black beans simmered with onions and red peppers. The sweet, smoky sauce was the perfect accompaniment.
The whole meal came together in less than half an hour and received rave reviews from my family. As for me – well, I picked up those lamb chop bones and sucked off every last bit of flavor. I couldn’t bear to waste a morsel.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
Season both sides of the lamb chops with salt, pepper and oregano. Gently press the seasonings into the meat.
Place the lamb chops on the grill and cook until medium rare, about 4 minutes per side.
Place the lamb chops on a plate and squeeze the lemon over the chops.
In a medium bowl, stir together the tomatoes, cucumber, kalamata olives, lemon juice, olive oil and mint.
Place 2 lamb chops on each plate and top with the tomato salad. Serve.
Other grilled lamb recipes:
Lemons & Anchovies’ Grilled Lamb Chops with Chimichurri Sauce
Sippity Sup’s Grilled Lamb Chops, Heirloom Beans & Tomatoes with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
The Italian Chef’s Grilled Lamb Scottadito
The Food Fox’s Grilled Lamb Koftas with Tzatziki & Greek Salad
From the kitchen of Cookin Canuck. www.cookincanuck.com
- 8 (3 oz. each) lamb chops (about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 lemon
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup chopped cucumber
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, quartered
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp thinly sliced fresh mint
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
- Season both sides of the lamb chops with salt, pepper and oregano. Gently press the seasonings into the meat.
- Place the lamb chops on the grill and cook until medium rare, about 4 minutes per side.
- Place the lamb chops on a plate and squeeze the lemon over the chops.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the tomatoes, cucumber, kalamata olives, lemon juice, olive oil and mint.
- Place 2 lamb chops on each plate and top with the tomato salad. Serve.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Bush’s Beans, and the beans were provided by them at no cost to me.