Roast Leg of Lamb with Rosemary and Lavender


This roasted leg of lamb gets an unexpected twist with the addition of chopped fresh lavender.

Roast leg of lamb with rosemary and lavender, sliced and shingled on a serving platter with a bowl of shallot-date jam.
Sweet-and-sour shallot jam made from dates, honey and apple cider vinegar accompanies this fantastic roast. Photo:

Paul Costello

Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs
6 to 8 servings

Chef and cookbook author Melia Marden's recipe for roasting boneless leg of lamb uses the classic combo of rosemary and garlic, but gets an unexpected twist with the addition of chopped fresh lavender. The mixture is rubbed all over the butterflied lamb, which is then rolled, tied, and rubbed with more garlic and herbs. The lamb is then roasted, sliced against the grain, and served with a savory, tart jam made with shallots, Medjool dates, honey, and apple cider vinegar.


  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup minced rosemary

  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh lavender leaves (see note)

  • 4 garlic cloves, grated

  • 1 (3 1/2-pound) boneless leg of lamb

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 6 medium shallots, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup pitted Medjool dates, thinly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup of the olive oil with the rosemary, lavender, and garlic. Season the lamb all over with salt and pepper. Rub half of the herb oil all over the inside of the lamb, then roll up the meat and tie with kitchen string to form a neat roast. Spread the remaining herb oil all over the roast and set it on a rimmed baking sheet.

  2. Roast the lamb for about 15 minutes, until just starting to brown. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and roast the lamb for about 1 hour longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 130°F for rare meat. Transfer the lamb to a carving board and let rest for 30 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the shallots, dates, honey and a pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened, about 7 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the jam is thick, 3 to 5 minutes; season with salt and let cool.

  4. Untie the lamb roast and slice the meat against the grain. Serve with the shallot-date jam.

Make ahead

The shallot-date jam can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving with the roast leg of lamb.


Fresh lavender is sold at farmers markets. If it's unavailable, substitute 1 1/2 tablespoons herbes de Provence.

Suggested pairing

A bold, fruit-forward Zinfandel.

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