Cinnamon and Egyptian Safflower Spiced Lamb

Cinnamon and Egyptian Safflower Spiced Lamb Recipe by @SpicieFoodie | #cinnamon #safflower #lamb #dinner

This blazing heat of summer inspired me to cook a dinner made with exotic ingredients. Lamb was to be the main flavour which would be complimented with aromatic spices common to North African cuisine, that’s when safflower came into the picture.

Spices for Safflower Spiced Lamb Dinner by @SpicieFoodie | #cinnamon #safflower #cumin #ginger

Safflower is one of the oldest cultivated crop that has been used for its oil, cosmetics, medicine and for flavouring and dyeing food and textiles. Though similar looking to saffron, safflower is not the same spice. Often times safflower is used as an inexpensive substitute for saffron. One very important fact to mention is that the cost difference between the two is huge. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, whereas safflower is quite inexpensive.

Spices for Safflower Spiced Lamb Dinner by @SpicieFoodie | #cinnamon #safflower #cumin #ginger

My safflower was a gift from a friend who purchased it for me on a trip to Egypt — lucky me. It is a great spice for adding some colour to a dish as well a a tiny hint of flavour. It compliments lamb, cinnamon, cumin and ginger wonderfully. Those spices are ever present in the cuisine of North Africa, as is lamb.

Spices for Safflower Spiced Lamb Dinner by @SpicieFoodie | #cinnamon #safflower #cumin #ginger

To give the dish more nutrition and colour I added some fresh vegetables. Green beans, carrot and red peppers are all in season and gave the lamb a delicious taste. You could of course substitute them with your favorite seasonal vegetables. If you don’t like the taste of lamb, beef would be a great replacement. And if you don’t have access to safflower then paprika can be used in its place.

Spices for Safflower Spiced Lamb Dinner by @SpicieFoodie | #cinnamon #safflower #cumin #ginger

Besides the amazing aromas that will waft through your house as the dish simmers, you’ll love that it is a one pot meal that can also be made in a crockpot. Here’s how you make it.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Cinnamon and Egyptian Safflower Spiced Lamb
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An exotic one pot dish (which can also be made in a crockpot) that is aromatic and bursting with flavor. Impress your family and/or dinner guest with a North African cuisine inspired dinner.
Recipe type: Dinner, Lunch, Lamb
Cuisine: Fusion, North African
Serves: 2
  • 1.5 tbsp good quality olive oil
  • 200 gm or 7 oz boneless lamb, cubed and excess fat removed
  • 200 gm or 7 oz fresh green beans, tips cut off (frozen may be used instead)
  • 100 gm or 3.5 oz carrot, peeled and evenly cut
  • 200 gm or 7 oz sweet red pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp dried safflower*
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp dried and ground ginger
  • 1 tsp sea salt, adjust to taste
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper, adjust to taste
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 235 ml or 1 cup water, more if needed
  1. Heat the oil and once warm brown the lamb pieces. Add all of the spices and stir for a minute or two or until they begin to release their scent. Add all of the vegetables, water and sherry wine. Cover and simmer until the lamb is tender, about 40 minutes. If the lamb is still tough add more water and continue to simmer. You may add more if needed or would like more broth.
*Safflower can be purchased at grocery stores, Mexican grocery stores, spice shops or online. If you cannot find safflower feel free to substitute it with 1 tsp of sweet paprika.

**Sherry wine can be purchase at your local store or online. Alternatively you can replace it with rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar.


Cinnamon and Egyptian Safflower Spiced Lamb Recipe by @SpicieFoodie | #cinnamon #safflower #lamb #dinner

I served our dinner with rice and some buttery, spiced naan hubby purchased the day before. Alternatively it can also be served with couscous, or with either quinoa or millet for a gluten-free dinner.

Cinnamon and Egyptian Safflower Spiced Lamb Recipe by @SpicieFoodie | #cinnamon #safflower #lamb #dinner

How ever you serve it, I hope you get a chance to taste this scrumptious dish soon. Have a great weekend!!


Here’s a couple more lamb recipes from my archieves.


Yummy Pics: A Food Blogger's Guide to Better Photos, Photography eBook by Spicie Foodie



  1. says

    I have never tried safflower in dry form, I might have to order it online. The dish looks so tasty. Thanks for introducing me to this spice.
    Interesting to read that they would use this instead of saffron. Wow.

  2. says

    You know – I have never heard of safflower before, I thought it was a typo before I started reading :) LOVE lamb, what a great protein, and one that I don’t use enough – will definitly try this curry :)

  3. says

    What a beautiful lamb recipe — delightful flavor combinations! Thanks for the YBR notice too, as well as for hosting it!


  4. Eha says

    How interesting! Way back when I did use safflower oil at times but have never ‘met’ safflower itself! The cinnamon and cumin add taste of course but would so love to see what difference the safflower would make :) !

  5. says

    I want to try this dish so bad… I have never heard of dried safflower. I wish I could just stick a fork into the screen… YUM!

  6. says

    Fascinating! The spices sound amazing to accompany lamb… Egyptian food is something I need to start cooking more of—I love everything I’ve tried so far. Thanks for the lovely recipe, as usual.

  7. says

    This is absolutely beautiful, Nancy. I love its complex flavor and I bet its aroma is deep and enticing…this is our favorite kind of meal around here!

  8. says

    These one pot meals are irresistible! Lamb by itself has such a wonderful flavor and I just love the other flavors that you’ve added. What a lucky girl get to such a great gift of saffron.

  9. says

    This dish looks mouthwatering, Nancy! I’m a huge lamb fan and I love the combination of flavors in this recipe! Amazing photos as well!


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