Greek Lamb Marinade

Greek style lamb marinade

The Spruce

 

Ratings (76)
  • Total: 10 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: Makes 1 1/2 cups (serves 8)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
92 Calories
7g Fat
8g Carbs
1g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This Greek-style marinade can be applied to any meat but works particularly well on lamb. Let the meat marinate for several hours so the flavors can get infused. You can double or triple this recipe if you are using it on a leg of lamb or a larger quantity of meat.

When you marinate meat, you are soaking it in a seasoned, often acid-based liquid before you cook it. This process imparts flavor to the meat while it is immersed in the liquid. In addition to adding flavor, this process will often tenderize tougher cuts of meat. The soaking process can take minutes or days depending on the type of meat, the type of cut, the amount, and the marinade used.

When you tenderize a cut of meat, what is actually happening is the acid in the marinade is causing the tissue to break down, allowing more moisture to be absorbed by the meat, resulting in a preparation that is juicier. It is important to balance your marinade. Too much acid can be detrimental to the meat, stripping the outer layer, and failing to penetrate the rest of the cut. A good marinade has a balance of acid, oil, and spice. 

Ingredients

  • 2 lemons (juiced)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (roughly chopped)
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Juice two lemons into a small bowl.

  2. Slowly drizzle olive oil into the lemon juice while whisking. This will help to emulsify the mixture.

  3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir.

  4. Allow the mixture to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before using.

Kitchen Notes

  • You can use this marinade on all cuts of lamb. Plan on marinating chops and small cuts for about 4 to 5 hours. Large cuts (double recipe) like leg of lamb should be marinated for 8 to 24 hours. Double or triple the recipe for larger cuts.

  • Store mixture in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week after preparation.  

The climate and terrain of Greece have tended to favor the breeding of goats and sheep over cattle, and thus beef dishes are uncommon in traditional Greek cooking. Fish dishes are quite common in coastal regions and on the islands. 

Classic Greek-style side dishes that go well with marinated ​roast leg of lamb include oven-roasted potatoes, orzo pasta, or a crisp Greek salad. Or, you can make Greek-style marinated lamb kebabs with a healthy helping of tzatziki yogurt sauce on the side. The main ingredients that complement most Greek dishes include lemon, olive oil, feta cheese, and fresh herbs.