Spicy Lamb Sausage With Grilled Onions and Zucchini Recipe (2024)

By David Tanis

Spicy Lamb Sausage With Grilled Onions and Zucchini Recipe (1)

Total Time
About 1 hour
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This is modeled after North African merguez, which is sometimes served as part of an elaborate couscous meal, but good on a bun, too. For its deep rust-red color, merguez relies on lots of dried sweet red pepper (paprika) and a goodly amount of hot red pepper (cayenne). Garlic, cumin and coriander are strong supporting players.

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Yield:24 (2-ounce) sausages, 6 to 8 servings

    For the Sausage

    • 3pounds ground lamb, or a mixture of half lamb and half beef or veal
    • 2teaspoons toasted cumin seeds
    • 2teaspoons toasted coriander seeds
    • 1teaspoon black peppercorns
    • 6allspice berries
    • 2teaspoons salt, more as needed
    • ½teaspoon cayenne
    • Pinch cinnamon
    • 4tablespoons mild paprika
    • 8large garlic cloves, smashed to a paste

    For the Vinaigrette

    • ½teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
    • ½teaspoon toasted coriander seeds
    • ½teaspoon toasted caraway seeds
    • 1teaspoon paprika
    • Cayenne, to taste
    • 2garlic cloves, smashed to a paste
    • 2tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 1tablespoon lemon juice
    • ¼teaspoon salt
    • 4tablespoons olive oil

    For Assembly

    • 2sweet onions, such as Vidalia, in ½-inch crosswise slices
    • Olive oil
    • Salt and pepper
    • 4medium zucchini, in ½-inch lengthwise slices
    • 2heads bibb or other lettuce, washed
    • 3 or 4large ripe tomatoes, cut in wedges
    • 2tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro
    • 2tablespoons roughly chopped mint
    • Pita breads, optional

Ingredient Substitution Guide


  1. Step


    To make the sausage, put ground lamb in a mixing bowl. Using a spice mill or mortar and pestle, grind cumin, coriander, black pepper and allspice. Add to lamb, along with salt, cayenne, cinnamon, paprika and garlic. Mix well with hands to incorporate. Fry a little piece of the mixture in a small skillet. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt if necessary. Mix again and refrigerate at least 2 hours or, preferably, overnight. Form mixture into 24 two-ounce patties.

  2. To make the vinaigrette, grind cumin, coriander and caraway. Combine with paprika and a good pinch of cayenne in a small bowl. Add garlic, vinegar, lemon juice and salt. Whisk in olive oil.

  3. Step


    Light a charcoal grill or use a grill pan. The heat should be moderate. Grill sausages, in batches if necessary, for about 2 minutes per side, until just done. Keep warm. Paint onion slices with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill until softened slightly, about 2 minutes per side. Repeat with zucchini. Keep at room temperature.

  4. Step


    Line a large platter with lettuce leaves and pile sausages in the middle. Arrange onions and zucchini around the platter. Salt the tomatoes and distribute. Whisk the vinaigrette, then drizzle over everything. Sprinkle with cilantro and mint, and serve with warm pita breads, if desired.



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Cooking Notes


This was very good. I halved the meat and reduced the vegetables slightly (since there were only two of us) but didn't change the amounts for the spices or the vinaigrette. Could still have been a little more aggressively seasoned for our tastes. Note: W don't have a grill, so used a grill pan for the veggies and a cast iron skillet for the sausages. Oh, and Trader Joe's beet hummus was delicious with this.


We really enjoyed this! The flavors are great. I did change the sequence of cooking, grilling the veggies first since they are served at room temperature and the lamb last so it is warm for serving.


I agree Susan, this was perfect for a large group.
Something for everyone with the sausage and the vegetables (vegetarians and meat eaters alike)
Our store on Fire Island didn't have ground lamb, so I subbed all beef and it still (thanks to the correct seasonings) tasted like a merguez.


Great dish to serve a group of friends. Lots of flavor with recommended spices. Also love the veggies - Great for spring barbecue!


Loved this recipe. We used the full amount of spices (except for the cayenne which we scaled back) for one pound of lamb and it was delicious! Made the salad and then used the leftovers to make pita sandwiches the next day. Will definitely make his again.

Marjorie Och

Easily adapted to indoor cooking, especially broiling. Wonderful with cous cous. It isn't necessary to cook all of it! I made one third of the recipe, cooked half, froze half, and am looking forwrad to another meal for two!


I realize it's politically incorrect to ask for the amount of spices in ground form. I live alone and am already full up on spice space. I'd like to use what I have instead of adding the same spices in seed form.


This was EXCELLENT. I made the sausage and refrigerated it overnight, the spices infused wonderfully. This does make a large amount of food, but if you can make this then you're capable of halving the recipe. Alternatively, make all of the sausage and half the veggies one day, eat the leftovers with a fresh batch of veggies a couple of days later. I did that, and made a shortcut of quartering the zucchini slabs and lightly sauteeing them for speed. Fantastic. Will make again soon!

eat lovely mn

This recipe rocks. I used 1 lb lamb and 1 lb beef and otherwise followed directions as written I did not adjust the spice amounts and sausage was not over spiced. The way the hot grilled meat slightly wilts the romaine is lovely. Impressive looking meal. I served with pita, tzatziki sauce and garlic sauce. Raves. PS. The toasting of the seeds seems like a pain but really not that big a deal and is a real flavor enhancer.


GREAT recipe! Made it as written and it was wonderful! I think the lamb would also work well by adding ras el than hanout, some green onions, cilantro, and garlic which I will try next time. Great with grilled corn, asparagus, and scallions!

Barbara Aschenbrenner

I used my own Merguez recipe, so I can’t speak to that, but altogether, delicious! I also grilled red, orange, and yellow bell peppers. A colorful, vibrant, very filling meal.

Laura G.

Excellent. Very merguez-like--made me think of long ago when I used to go to Bar Six in NYC (although now their menu seems less Morrocan, I see). I used all lamb, and like other commenters halved the recipe (including spices and vinaigrette). Also like others, I cooked the veggies first, kept them warm, and then the sausages. Did it all under the broiler. Didn't have coriander or tomatoes, so those ingredients were omitted. Not difficult, and very worthwhile.

Rebecca Goodsell

The dressing didn’t seep down Enough for us. Otherwise perfect


Peyton made this 9/2/17 for us and Michelle.. It was great and the tomatoes were the best of the best. Make this again.

Carol Wade

Made for The Spot, came out well.


grill veggies first
We used the full amount of spices (except for the cayenne which we scaled back) for one pound of lamb and it was delicious! also full vinaigrette recipe


As with all other comments, this is a well balanced, well spiced, amazing spread to put out for a group of friends. I upped some of the lamb spicing to taste but even the base is good.

We added dark red beetroot greens from the garden which gave more visual appeal (and helped us use up some produce). The dressing coats everything well and has a good kick.

We had a group of 6, mostly light, eaters. I think this would feed at least 6 more of the same.


The flavor of the dressing is wonderful!
I made several changes to this in the interest of time and using up some stuff in my fridge.
Instead of making the lamb sausage I used roasted red pepper and spinach chicken sausage. I needed to use up some kale so I chopped it, tossed with some oil and grilled until wilted & starting to crisp and used that instead of the lettuce.
My family gobbled it up!
Can't wait to try this as written


Excellent. Agree with grilling the vegetables first to serve at room temperature. First-of-the-season heirloom tomatoes were a bonus.
Like many David Tanis recipes, many steps and ingredients, but so worth it!


Used all spices with 1lb lamb. Also made full viniagrette

Anne Rabe

This is absolutely delicious. I did find that the coriander seeds don't grind completely and I had to sift out the harder shells. It's good to grind them separately for this reason. I probably added more of all the spices as I tend to not measure that carefully! It does make a LOT, so froze about half of the lamb mixture.


I tried this as kebabs and it was very good and convenient for both cooking and eating!


I realize it's politically incorrect to ask for the amount of spices in ground form. I live alone and am already full up on spice space. I'd like to use what I have instead of adding the same spices in seed form.

Laura Weisberg

we are talking about a lot of lamb here and a little bit of spice. . . I would go ahead and use 1/2 tsp. of the preground cumin, caraway, and coriander if that is what I had on hand. you might have a bit more by volume, but the flavor of the preground spices won't be as strong, so it would probably equal out. and I bet it will taste great.

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Spicy Lamb Sausage With Grilled Onions and Zucchini Recipe (2024)


What is lamb sausage called? ›

Merguez is a sausage made with uncooked lamb, beef, or a mixture stuffed into a lamb-intestine casing.

What does lamb merguez taste like? ›

This merguez happened to be one of my favorite sausage seasonings so far, combining spicy Moroccan harissa with earthy cumin and coriander, along with some fennel and paprika. The seasoning mixture was pungent with a strong spice, allowing it to stand up against the heavy flavor of the lamb shoulder.

How to cook sausage for beginners? ›

Skillet. Place sausage links in an even layer, with at least 1-inch in between each link in a medium, high-sided skillet with about 1/4-inch water. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high, about 5 minutes.

What is a spicy sausage made of fresh beef or mutton? ›

It's usually made from mutton or lamb, but beef and veal are sometimes used as well, and stuffed in natural sheep casings. Merguez is a spicy sausage, with its heat coming from harissa, a fiery condiment, also native to Maghreb, that is made from ground dried red chiles and other spices, along with lemon and olive oil.

What country is lamb sausage from? ›

Lamb Merguez w/ Lamb Casing Details

Merguez is spicy lamb sausage that originated in the North African countries of Morocco, Algeria, Libya , and Tunisia and became popular throughout the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Western Europe.

What is lamb sausage made of? ›

To make the sausage, put ground lamb in a mixing bowl. Using a spice mill or mortar and pestle, grind cumin, coriander, black pepper and allspice. Add to lamb, along with salt, cayenne, cinnamon, paprika and garlic. Mix well with hands to incorporate.

What is the tastiest lamb meat? ›

4. Lamb Loin Chop. The loin produces the most flavorful and tender cuts of Lamb in our opinion, due to its generous and tasty fat cap. Lamb Loin is located in between the ribs and sirloin.

What lamb taste the best? ›

American Lamb:

This breed is the largest in size and many say is the highest in quality and consistency. American lamb has grain in its diet and thus tastes less “gamey” compared to imported lamb which is typically grass fed.

What is the difference between sausage and merguez? ›

Saucisses merguez are different from other sausages you might know due to the spicy flavor they have. They are also very thin compared to other sausages. The meat is mixed with spices and is usually eaten in a piece of bread with mustard (if you dare to put more spiciness) or ketchup.

Should sausages be fried or grilled? ›

Overall, pan-frying was a low-maintenance and delicious method for cooking sausage. This is perfect for when you don't want to break out the grill but still want a moist, flavorful sausage. The smoky flavors were not as prominent as they were from the grill, however the sausage remained juicy, tender, and crispy.

Is it better to cook sausages in the oven or pan? ›

One of the healthiest ways to cook sausages is in the oven. It's super easy to do, and unlike frying or grilling, baking sausages doesn't require any extra oil.

Should you poke holes in sausage before cooking? ›

When you leave the casings on your links, you might be quick to poke holes or score them before cooking to prevent an explosion — but all you're doing is damaging the sausage's structure, causing it to turn out dry.

What is the spicy sausage called? ›

Chorizo. In the U.S., chorizo usually refers to the Mexican variety, which is uncured and flavored with chilies, garlic and spices, although the exact ingredients can vary. How to prepare chorizo: Most often sold in casings, chorizo is generally removed from them and cooked prior to use.

What is the name of the Italian spicy sausage? ›

Salsiccia Longa Piccante literally translates as "long spicy sausage" and it really does love up to that name, producing bold, fiery flavours and tantalising textures, a true Italian masterpiece.

How do you make spicy sausage less spicy? ›

6 Tips to Fix Dishes That Are Too Spicy
  1. Add Dairy. There's a lot of hype about using milk to help provide relief from spicy foods, and for good reason. ...
  2. Use Citrus. ...
  3. Add Nuts or Nut Butters. ...
  4. Sprinkle in Sugar. ...
  5. Add Starch or Grains. ...
  6. Dilute It.
Apr 14, 2022

What is the fancy name for lamb meat? ›

Lamb, hogget, and mutton, genericallysheep meat, are the meat of domesticsheep, Ovis aries. A sheep in its first year is a lamb and its meat is alsolamb.

Can you get lamb sausages? ›

Owton's Lamb and Mint sausages are the perfect choice for families seeking a flavourful online shopping experience. Made with finely minced cuts of lamb and infused with refreshing mint, these juicy sausages are a delicious twist on a British favourite.

What is another name for lamb meat? ›

Mutton. Lamb refers to meat from young sheep less than 12 months old, which is tender and mild in flavor. The meat from a sheep older than one year is called mutton, and it has a more intense flavor and somewhat less tender texture.


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