Lamb Roast with Herbs

A simple homemade pesto takes the traditional Sunday roast to the next level – and leftovers will make a delicious midweek lunch, too.


  • 1 large onion, cut into thin rings
  • 75 g (1/2 cup) pine nuts
  • 2 tbs Parmesan, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 25 g (1 cup) basil leaves, plus extra garnish
  • 25 g (1 cup) mint leaves, plus extra to garnish
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 tbs extra for brushing
  • 2 kg leg of lamb, on the bone, trimmed of excess fat, left to stand at room temperature for 1 hour
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Step 1.
Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan). Line a large roasting tray with a trivet large enough to hold the lamb. Scatter the onion rings on top of the trivet.

Step 2.
While the oven heats up, pulse together the pine nuts, Parmesan, and garlic in a food processor until the pine nuts are almost ground.

Step 3.
Add the herbs, lemon juice, and olive oil, pulsing several times until a thick pesto comes together. Season to taste with salt and pepper; cover and chill until needed.

Step 4.
Preheat a large sauté or frying pan over moderate heat until hot. Brush the leg of lamb with 2 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper; transfer to the trivet, carefully positioning the lamb on top of the onion.

Step 5.
Roast the lamb for 30 minutes; reduce the oven to 180°C (160° fan). Roast for a further 1 hour 5-15 minutes until the thickest part of the leg registers 60°C on an instant-read thermometer for medium meat, basting with a little of the pesto after 45 minutes.

Step 6.
When ready, remove from the oven and loosely cover with aluminium foil; let rest for at least 15 minutes.

Step 7.
When ready to serve, garnish with more herbs and serve with the remaining pesto on the side.

Serves 6-8