Lamb Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette

Cumin may be my favorite spice, probably because I love Mexican and Indian cuisines so much, where it’s ubiquitous. This recipe caught my attention because the lamb is rubbed with cumin, and the vinaigrette contains cumin. It’s a cumin celebration!

Sang Yoon of Food and Wine, is this recipe’s author. He writes, “Lamb seasoned with cumin is very Indian, as well as Sichuan and Yunnan. But no one is Asia would serve lamb on a salad; that’s just me being Californian!” you can read about chef Sang Yoon here.

Well the salad is fabulous, the vinaigrette is wonderful, and I love lamb. So this salad was the bomb!!!

Grilled Lamb Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette
Slightly adapted

One 1-pound piece boneless leg of lamb, about 3 inches thick
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for rubbing
1 tablespoons ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Freshly ground white pepper
4 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce
One 6-ounce piece of jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 medium seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup shredded basil, plus 4 sprigs
1 large shallot, sliced
Cilantro sprigs

Light a grill. Rub the lamb with oil, sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cumin and season with salt and black pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the vinegar, honey, mustard and the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin. Whisk in the 1/4 cup of oil and season with salt and white pepper.

Grill the lamb over moderate heat, turning a few times, until charred and medium-rare, about 12 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a carving board; let rest for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, toss the romaine with the jicama, carrot, cucumber, shredded basil and shallots.

Add the dressing and toss well. Transfer to plates.

Thinly slice the lamb and arrange the slices on the salad.

Garnish with the cilantro and basil sprigs and serve.

What really stood out, besides the vinaigrette, was the wonderful combination of the jicama, cucumbers, basil and cilantro. It was almost like a spa salad with lamb!

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. angiesrecipes June 8, 2022 at 6:10 AM - Reply

    That looks amazing! The lamb is so perfectly prepared and grilled. I just had lamb neck for the breakfast today :-)

    • Chef Mimi June 9, 2022 at 9:27 AM - Reply

      Oh nice. I love lamb. Such great flavor.

  2. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen June 8, 2022 at 7:39 AM - Reply

    A beautiful and hearty salad! The lamb looks beautifully cooked.

    • Chef Mimi June 9, 2022 at 9:27 AM - Reply

      Thanks! Lamb is just so good to me.

  3. kitchenriffs June 8, 2022 at 9:34 AM - Reply

    What a great salad! We often do grilled steak on a bed of greens, but rarely lamb. Need to try this! Thanks. :-)

    • Chef Mimi June 9, 2022 at 9:28 AM - Reply

      Exactly. That’s what attracted me to this recipe. Plus the cumin!

  4. Alex June 8, 2022 at 10:51 AM - Reply

    Nice and tasty looking, Mimi. I must try the vinaigrette!

    • Chef Mimi June 9, 2022 at 9:28 AM - Reply

      Thanks, Alex!

  5. David Scott Allen June 8, 2022 at 3:17 PM - Reply

    Definitely going to make this. I love lamb and, like you, am a huge fan of cumin. Question – did you butterfly the 3-inch thick piece of lamb? It looks to be about 1-inch thick, which would make sense with your grilling times.

    • Chef Mimi June 9, 2022 at 9:30 AM - Reply

      I should have made note to that. It was butterflied for me, and this is how it came out. There were only a couple of spots that were 3” thick; the rest was thinner, as you noted. Lamb and cumin was/is a fabulous combination!

      • David Scott Allen June 14, 2022 at 7:10 PM

        Thanks! This is now on our menu for next week!

  6. Sherry M June 9, 2022 at 1:00 AM - Reply

    we don’t eat lamb but this does look tasty mimi. I guess you could always use a bit of beef or chicken …

    • Chef Mimi June 9, 2022 at 9:30 AM - Reply

      You could. Beef and cumin also go well together!

  7. Tandy I Lavender and Lime June 9, 2022 at 1:45 AM - Reply

    I love using cumin as well, and the lamb looks like perfection to me.

    • Chef Mimi June 9, 2022 at 9:31 AM - Reply

      Thank you! It was a recipe definitely worth making!

  8. Jeff the Chef June 11, 2022 at 11:09 AM - Reply

    Speaking of “no one would serve lamb on a salad,” I’ve certainly never heard of it! But why not! It sounds delicious. And I love cumin’s earthy flavor.

    • Chef Mimi June 11, 2022 at 3:49 PM - Reply

      Right. But boy is it good! Especially all cumin’d up. Love the dressing, too!

  9. Debra June 11, 2022 at 7:45 PM - Reply

    I’m not too fond of lamb, but I love cumin, and think the vinaigrette sounds wonderful. My son and daughter-in-law love lamb, and I’m definitely forwarding this recipe to them. I already know they’ll be wild about it. :-) We have “lamb discussions” almost every time I visit. I think I disappoint them. LOL!

    • Chef Mimi June 12, 2022 at 10:54 AM - Reply

      Well, I’m the “adventurous” eater in my family, so I understand. I can’t serve a lot of food that I enjoy, which is why I make it for the blog!

  10. Mary June 12, 2022 at 1:43 AM - Reply

    Really enjoy lamb and it must be scrumptious with the addition of Cumin – another favourite spice.
    Would be brilliant served over salad with lamb being such a delicate flavoured meat. :))

    • Chef Mimi June 12, 2022 at 10:53 AM - Reply

      It was a darn good salad! I loved everything about it.

  11. Sippitysup June 12, 2022 at 10:20 AM - Reply

    Lamb and all these are fairly Greek ingredients but this post scratched an itch I didn’t even know was there. I’m on a Greek island and have had no protein-based salad anything (a staple in my LA life) for a couple of months. This is also one of the first blog I’ve visited in the same amount of time. I wonder if that means I’ve begun to miss my regular life. GREG


    • Chef Mimi June 12, 2022 at 10:52 AM - Reply

      Huh. Well, that’s not a bad thing. You’ve had an incredible time, but it’s always nice to go home!

  12. Healthy World Cuisine June 12, 2022 at 2:56 PM - Reply

    Huge lamb lovers here! I love how to opened up the lamb for a quicker grill. Great idea and delicious salad.

    • Chef Mimi June 12, 2022 at 7:04 PM - Reply

      I actually ordered a de-boned lamb leg, because the time I tried to do it myself was a disaster…

  13. Jean June 12, 2022 at 6:10 PM - Reply

    Cumin is wonderful. It’s a key ingredient in a couple of my tried-and-true recipes but after seeing this post, I realize I don’t think to use it enough–will have to change this. Love this salad!

    • Chef Mimi June 12, 2022 at 7:04 PM - Reply

      Ha! I must not use it enough as well!

  14. Eva Taylor June 13, 2022 at 4:46 PM - Reply

    I adore cumin too, in fact it was the first spice I ran out of whilst in Spain last month. The lamb looks wonderful, perfectly cooked. I love meat on a salad too.

    • Chef Mimi June 14, 2022 at 6:29 AM - Reply

      It’s a very necessary spice to own – so good in so many kinds of dishes!

  15. Raymund June 16, 2022 at 4:40 AM - Reply

    Wow that lamb looks perfectly cooked!

    • Chef Mimi June 16, 2022 at 6:27 AM - Reply

      Thank you Raymond!

      • Ben | Havocinthekitchen June 17, 2022 at 1:27 PM

        This salad looks terrific – perfectly cooked, juicy, and so inviting lamb. And this Cumin Vinaigrette? Very interesting!

  16. Carrie Tyler June 17, 2022 at 6:13 AM - Reply

    I love how Cumin is the star ingredient in this vinaigrette! I cannot wait to try this!

    • Chef Mimi June 17, 2022 at 6:52 AM - Reply

      I’ve used cumin in citrus dressings, but never in a vinaigrette. It was fabulous!

  17. Ben | Havocinthekitchen June 17, 2022 at 1:28 PM - Reply

    This salad looks terrific – perfectly cooked, juicy, and so inviting lamb. And this Cumin Vinaigrette? Very interesting

    • Chef Mimi June 18, 2022 at 7:29 AM - Reply

      It was interesting, which was why I had to make it. I’m so glad I did!

  18. Linger A Little, Kristy June 17, 2022 at 2:47 PM - Reply

    Everything about this salad looks and sounds fantastic. I would have to agree with you about cumin. It’s probably my favorite. What a perfect spice for so many recipes. You’ve got my mouth watering for this dish now.

    • Chef Mimi June 18, 2022 at 7:29 AM - Reply

      I was surprised how good this was, and like you, I love cumin and use it a lot!

  19. David @ Spiced June 20, 2022 at 5:42 AM - Reply

    A vinaigrette with cumin? Well that sounds quite fantastic! I’ve never thought about using cumin in vinaigrette, but I can see how the flavors would come together here.

    • Chef Mimi June 20, 2022 at 1:02 PM - Reply

      I know – that really got my attention. And it’s really good!

  20. Eileen June 20, 2022 at 6:15 AM - Reply

    I love lamb and this salad looks fancy and fresh! Can’t wait to try it out myself!

    • Chef Mimi June 20, 2022 at 1:03 PM - Reply

      You’ll be very happy!

  21. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons December 15, 2022 at 11:29 PM - Reply

    Cumin is my favorite spice as well. I can’t add much to all the comments already made as I agree with most of them. I’ve never added it in a vinaigrette before though, what a great idea. I think I would have to portion out a half-boneless leg of lamb to get one that small.

    • Chef Mimi December 16, 2022 at 8:05 AM - Reply

      Overall, this was one fabulous recipe. I love cumin!

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