Grilled Berbere-Spiced Lamb Chops With Cucumber-Lentil Salad Recipe

The reverse sear makes evenly cooked grilled lamb chops incredibly easy, while fiery, spicy berbere gives them a ready-made flavor upgrade.

Rubbed with an Ethiopian spice mixture, these grilled lamb chops are incredibly easy and flavorful. Daniel Gritzer

Why It Works

  • Starting the lamb on the cool side of the grill allows it to slowly reach the perfect internal temperature. A quick sear over high heat browns the outside.
  • Cooking lentils with aromatic vegetables and herbs greatly improves their flavor.

Ethiopian berbere spice adds a fiery kick to perfectly grilled lamb chops, and a subtle heat to a refreshing lentil salad with cucumber and mint. This recipe makes a generous amount of lentil salad; leftovers can be kept refrigerated for up to three days.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 75 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 3/4 pound green lentils

  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved

  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled

  • 1 medium carrot, peeled

  • 1 sprig rosemary (optional)

  • Water

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 large cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

  • 1/2 teaspoon berbere spice blend, plus more for rubbing lamb chops (see note)

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice from 2 lemons

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 8 bone-in lamb rib or loin chops, cut 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inches thick

  • 1/2 cup packed mint leaves, torn


  1. Add lentils, onion, garlic, carrot, and rosemary, if using, and cover with at least 2 inches of water. Season with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat and simmer until lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. Let cool slightly, then drain lentils, discarding aromatics, and let cool. Season with salt and pepper.

  2. In a large bowl, toss lentils with cucumber, 1/2 teaspoon berbere spice, lemon juice, and olive oil.

  3. Salt lamb on both sides and let sit at room temperature for 40 minutes while preparing grill.

  4. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to high. Cover and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Rub a light dusting of berbere spice onto lamb chops. Place lamb chops on cool side of grill. Cover with an aluminum pan and let cook until instant read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chops registers 110°F for rare or 120°F for medium-rare.

  5. Move lamb to hot side of grill and cook until browned on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side and instant read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chops registers 120°F for rare or 130°F for medium-rare. Transfer to a platter and let rest for 10 minutes.

  6. Toss mint into lentil salad and serve with lamb chops.


Berbere, a fiery Ethiopian spice blend, is available at many well-stocked supermarkets, specialty food stores, and online at Amazon and Penzeys. Because different berbere blends can have different heat levels, taste a small amount before rubbing it into the lamb: If it's incredibly hot, be more sparing with its application.

Special Equipment

Grill, large disposable aluminum pan

Make-Ahead and Storage

Leftover lentil salad can be kept refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
686 Calories
50g Fat
22g Carbs
39g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 686
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 50g 65%
Saturated Fat 15g 77%
Cholesterol 98mg 33%
Sodium 580mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 7g 27%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 39g
Vitamin C 10mg 51%
Calcium 52mg 4%
Iron 6mg 34%
Potassium 776mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)