Grilled Lamb Chops With Tapenade Over Fennel Couscous

With the arrival of spring, there are certain foods that seem to go along with the season. One item that can usually be found in the markets at this time of the year is lamb which has long been associated with spring. To celebrate the beginning of the season, I prepared a Mediterranean inspired meal of Grilled Lamb Chops With Tapenade Over Fennel Couscous.

Lamb chops are especially tasty when marinated in olive oil and fresh herbs then simply cooked over an open fire. Since I was grilling inside on my stove, I wanted to enhance the flavors with the pungent flavor of tapenade, a condiment enjoyed in the south of France. The tapenade, which is made with a combination of black and green olives, capers and garlic, went perfectly with the succulent grilled lamb chops.

I cooked Israeli Couscous with fresh diced fennel, chicken stock and lemon juice to go along with the lamb. The sweet fennel and bright citrus flavors of the chewy couscous complimented the lamb perfectly.

Grilled Lamb Chops With Tapenade Over A Bed Of Fennel Israeli Couscous
Grilled Lamb Chops With Tapenade Over A Bed Of Fennel Israeli Couscous

Grilled Lamb Chops With Tapenade

Serves two, adjust the recipe accordingly.


Combine a 1/4 lb. (about 1 c.) of pitted black and green olives, 1 Tbsp. pimento, 1 chopped garlic clove, 1 Tbsp. capers, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, and 1 or 2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a processor and pulse until roughly chopped. If you wish, anchovies, mustard and other herbs are optional ingredients that could be added to suit your taste. (Any leftover can be refrigerated for a week or two.)

Lamb Chops:

Prepare a marinade of 3 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 or 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 Tbsp. each of chopped fresh rosemary and thyme, 1/2 tsp.  each salt and pepper.

Add 3 or 4 well trimmed lamb chops per person to the marinade, turning to coat evenly and let marinate refrigerated for at least an hour. Bring the lamb to room temperature before cooking. Grill chops for approximately 2 to 3 minutes each side, for medium rare, depending on their thickness. When serving, top with about one tablespoon of tapenade.

Fennel Couscous

Serves two, adjust the recipe accordingly.

  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, stems removed, cored and diced
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fennel fronds plus more for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 c. Israeli couscous
  • 1 c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 Tbsp. or to taste, lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a pot over medium heat, sauté the onion and fennel in the oil until soft. Add the couscous and stir until starting to turn brown. Add the broth, water, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cover the pot and simmer for approximately 8 to 10 minutes until done. Add the chopped fennel fronds, stir and serve.


When I served the grilled lamb chops, I placed them on a bed of the fennel couscous. I topped them with a spoonful of tapenade and added several whole olives for garnish. I also prepared a tomato, feta, and mint salad to add color and more Mediterranean flavors to the meal. While enjoying this delicious dinner, I couldn’t help but think of our trip to Provence… perhaps that is where we should travel this fall.

On A Personal Note: I am still having problems with the fingers on one of my hands which has restricted me to just using one hand with which to type. Please know that I am reading everyone’s wonderful blogs but I’m not able to comment as much as I wish I could with my limited typing ability. Hopefully giving my fingers a break should have me commenting on a regular basis soon. Thank you for understanding. 🙂

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184 thoughts on “Grilled Lamb Chops With Tapenade Over Fennel Couscous

  1. Such a Mediterranean flavoured delicious meal my friend, very hearty 🙂
    I hope your fingers are fit and running soon and you are most committed to continue blogging despite it 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

    1. Hi Uru, This recipe really is loaded with Mediterranean flavors. Thank you for your wish…hopefully my fingers will be better soon. 🙂

    1. Hi Diane, I’m happy to know you like the recipe…I think you will enjoy the meal. Hopefully, a couple of weeks of not using my left hand will work.

  2. Karen, this is certainly a dinner to welcome spring! Delicious grilled lamb chops, my favorite vegetable of all times, fennel (in the couscous) and the wonderful sounding (and looking) tapenade with black and green olives. It looks just fabulous!
    Karen, I do hope that your hand/fingers will be healing soon! Take good care of yourself and have a lovely Wednesday!

  3. That’s such a lovely looking lamb dish. I think the olives with the fennel would go beautifully with the lamb and lamb screams Spring – I do hope it’s finally arrived for you xx

    1. Hi Charlie,I’m happy you like the recipe. Spring and lamb do go hand in hand. It is greening up and things are starting to bloom but it has been cooler than usual, yes…spring is here finally.

  4. Ohhh…a nice Rose to go with it, and WARM weather….
    Hubby’s in Paris this week, enjoying Spring, and texting me all the wonderful food he’s having. He would order this in a heartbeat 😀

    1. Hi Marie, Having a Rosé with this meal would be perfect. Even better, being in France while enjoying it. I was thinking about you the other day as I was starting to think about where we should go one this year’s trip to Europe…perhaps France.

  5. I seem to always use a Julia Child marinade when I make lamb, but yours looks just as good…and the tapenade is a yummy addition. My hubby would love this!!!

    1. Hi Liz, You can’t go wrong with Julia’s recipes. I think you would enjoy what tapenade brings to this dish, flavor wise. Thank you for your compliment.

    1. Thank you for you nice wish, Tanya…hopefully not using my left hand for a couple of weeks will help. Yes, it is definitely time for spring lamb. I’m glad you like the recipe, thank you.

  6. I’m sorry you are still having problems with your fingers! I’m salivating over this recipe, best I stop reading and go get something to eat. Have a super day Karen 🙂

    1. Hi Tandy, I thought a few days rest would fix the pain in my fingers but I think it will be more like a couple of weeks. I’m happy that you like the recipe…thank you!

  7. These flavors sound wonderful together!
    Sorry to hear about the problems you’re having with your fingers, and I hope you’re better soon.

    1. Hi Beth, The Mediterranean flavors in this dish go very well together. Hopefully a couple of weeks rest will help my fingers…thank you for your wish.

  8. Didn’t know that you have problems with a finger …. Have I missed that in one of your posts???
    Don’t worry about not commenting.
    This is so strange because 99% of times I cook lamb chops I serve them with couscous, never tried couscous with fennel, but I will now … and I like the read of the tapenade – this will be a good dish for a leftover post. Can’t wait to get this on a plate.

    1. Hi Viveka, I added a note to the bottom of my last post. I’m visiting everyones blogs but just not leaving as many comments as it takes so long to type with one hand. I’m happy to know that you like the recipes. The tapenade is so good and it is perfect to enjoy on crackers with a glass of wine.

  9. I’m so sorry about your finger problem, it must be quite annoying and troublesome. I’ve been so busy at both work and home, I’ve become very bad in commenting too; but i find the value commenters are rather understanding and continue to leave their thoughtful comments in my space (fortunately I’ve banked about 6 posts for the future).
    Here is another gorgeous recipe and by the sounds of it, packs in all the wonderful flavours to boot! I adore tapenade and combining black and green olives is brilliant! Have you tried the sun dried olives, they are shriveled cousins of the black olives which are salty and briny at the same time, quite addictive.
    May I impose on your holiday in the fall to be hidden in your suitcase? 😉

    1. Thank you for concern Eva. It is frustrating to have to type one handed…you have no idea how long it took to write this post. I do enjoy the wrinkled, oil cured olives and they are always in my refrigerator. I’ll look forward to your following along on this fall’s trip…I think you would be more comfortable in the back seat as the suitcase will be tightly packed. 🙂

  10. Such a beautiful dish – amazing marriage of flavours! So sorry to read about your hand – hope you get well soon!!!! Take care!

  11. – Grilled lamb chops are really a treat. On top of fennel couscous and topped with tapenade?Wow!
    – Oh Karen, I know all about hurting fingers (and more, wrist, arm/elbow tendons…). Me too, I don’t write much, but do visit blogs I appreciate so~ much, which yours is one of them. 😀

    1. Hi Fae, Thank you for your lovely compliment…this meal was delicious. I’m sorry to know that you have the same problem…hopefully by not using my hand for a couple of weeks, I’ll be able to keep the problem from getting worse. I do appreciate your visits and your kind words.

    1. Thank you Phil, for your nice compliment. The grill on our stove gets very hot and gives the meats a nice char on the outside with a lovely pink interior.

    1. Thank you Sylvia, I’m happy that you like the recipe. I appreciate the compliment…I had no idea how hard it was to type one handed so I’m hoping a couple of weeks rest corrects the pain in my fingers.

  12. I am not a big fan of lamb but your dish is driving me crazy! The way we are staring at each other is just insane! Seriously, these chops look so good, Karen! 🙂

    1. Oh Ray, You had me chuckling with your comment. One thing that is important with lamb is to trim the fat well and to try and get the best quality. Maybe this recipe will change this love hate relationship since you are already staring at each other. 🙂

  13. Such a lovely meal, Karen. Beautifully cooked lamb chops with those wonderful Mediterranean flavors. I will be thinking of these as we’re eating leftovers tonight before we pickup Knothead at the airport.

    1. Thank you Richard, for you nice compliment…I’m happy you like the recipe. Knowing the delicious dishes that you prepare…I would be happy eating your left overs any time. I hope Knothead’s flight is on time and not victim of sequestration. 🙂

  14. I love lamb and am learning to enjoy couscous. In fact, I’m having some leftover lamb shoulder roast and asparagus couscous right now. The tapenade is a bit out of the ballpark for me as I don’t eat olives. Never cooked or eaten fennel either. Lots of new flavours to try. 🙂

    1. Hi Boleyn,Thank you for your nine comment. It sounds like you are having a delicious meal. I do remember you telling me that you don’t eat olives.

  15. Your tapenade sounds delicious Karen, and would go beautifully with the lamb! Ironically, lamb chops are really expensive here (in the land of the sheep). I do like anchovies in my tapenade, and usually make a Jacques Pepin version which also uses dried figs and mint.. 🙂

    1. Hi Celia, I don’t understand how the land of sheep keeps the cost of the meat high at its origin. It is about the same price as a good cut of beef at our market. I have seen Jacques recipe with figs and mint and it would be perfect with this meal. Now you want to talk about expensive…figs are expensive here and are hard to find in our markets.

    1. Hi Johnny, Thank you for your nice compliment. The pungent flavor of olive tapenade goes so well with the lamb…enhancing and yet somehow cutting the richness of the lamb. I think it was a perfect marriage of flavors.

  16. Such lovely flavors! Lamb is my favorite red meat, and I’ve never met a lamb dish I didn’t like. I know I’ll like this — the idea of combining lamb and tapenade is wonderful, and couscous is such a great starch to serve with anything Mediterranean. Sorry to hear your typing problem persists, but I hope you’ll soon be over it. Good recipe – thanks.

    1. Hi John, I agree with you about loving lamb no matter how it is prepared. I’m happy to know that you like this meal…it really was delicious. Thank you for your compliment and wish.

  17. Sorry to hear about you hand, hope it’s recovering soon. This is such a beautiful presentation, Karen. I like lamb chops 🙂

    1. Thank you Amy, for stopping by for a visit. I’m happy that you liked this meal…it really is delicious. Hopefully a week or two of rest and my hand will be better. I appreciate your wish and nice compliment. I look forward to your return to my blog.

  18. Delightful flavours, it’s been a while since I had lamb, and made tapenade, so thanks for the incentive. Like the idea of adding the fennel to the cous cous too, a fine vegetable choice indeed. Thanks, Tracey

    1. Thank you Tracey, for your lovely compliment. I’m happy that you liked this meal…it really has such lovely flavors. I look forward to your return visits.

  19. Karen, you know how we all plan to cook some of the fabulous dishes we see on the various blogs: sometimes it happens, sometimes not! Well have just checked fridge and pantry and this will be tomorrow’s lunch [my main meal of the day!]. A wonderful recipe for a lamb addict and I do love the idea of fennel in the couscous 🙂 ! And shall leave the tapenade recipe just as it is! As Celia has said lamb is outrageously expensive here tho’ we all love it, but I have discovered my supermarket butcher has beautiful thick ‘shoulder steaks’, lean and buttersoft after the marinade and medium-rare grilling [sorry: broiling in US] – and affordable!! [Hush: our secret 😀 !]

  20. Oh wow, Karen! This looks so good! I am still waiting for the day when lamb prices go down or if I can get some local ones. Fennel is my new favourite vegetable to play with! With couscous – yum!

  21. Great meal, Karen, but the fennel couscous really caught my eye. We’ve no tradition cooking with fennel other than as an herb. This is a wonderful preparation and I’m looking forward to preparing it for a certain 90 year old in Michigan. Thanks for the recipe. Sorry to read your fingers are still giving your problems and I hope there’s been some improvement, with a full recovery coming very soon.

    1. Thank you John, for your nice compliment. I use fennel in salads and also love the flavor it adds in cooked dishes. I’m hoping a couple weeks of not using my one hand when typing will do the trick.

    1. Hi Angie, I appreciate your compliment but I’m sure your meat dishes are very good. Sometimes it just takes a little something to change a dish from ordinary to something special…like adding the tapenade. 🙂

  22. What a fantastic dish!! great flavors and ingredients – it was all I could do not to reach through the screen to grab one of these chops!
    MARY X

    1. Thank you Vallih, for your lovely compliment. I’m happy that you like the recipes. I was real pleased with the flavors in this Mediterranean inspired meal.

  23. Karen – What a great idea to add some punch to a summer grilled meat dinner. I keep my tapenade even longer in the frig (and, as a toxicologist, I’m a bit neurotic about food safety) as there is enough salt and acid to maintain it.

    BTW, I also have multiple problems with my hands and try and keep my typing to a minimum. I used to have Dragon voice software on my computer (it is now out of date) so I speak into my Iphone and then send it to my computer, cut and paste where I want it and then edit. This, of course, is a nuisance for small items, but for long sections of text it works really well. If this is of any help to you and you want more information, let me know.

    1. Hi Jeannee, Thank you for your kind words. I really loved with tapenade with the lamb. I agree with you about tapenade… I keep it longer as well but like to be cautious with what I tell other readers. I’m sorry to know that you have problems with your hands but appreciate how you deal with typing. I’m going to look into the Dragon system for my Macbook. Many thanks!

    1. Hi Paula, I’m happy that you like the recipe…especially for the couscous. Israeli couscous is a round pasta but of course you could make with this grains as well.

    1. Thank you Donna, for your nice compliment. I’m happy that you liked the photo and recipe. Thank you for your wish…I’m lucky it is my left hand instead of my right. 🙂

  24. I pulled this up in a classroom at 10am and there was a collective urge to eat lamb right then and there – we all agreed this looks DELICIOUS! (rest your fingers – no reply needed :))

    1. Hi Carol, How could I not reply to one of my most loyal readers. 🙂 I’m happy that you and your classmates liked the look of the lamb…you are right, it was delicious.

    1. Hi Kristy, I enjoy fennel. It is interesting that it has a different taste cooked from when eaten raw…I love both ways, myself. I’m happy to know you like the recipe.

  25. Hi Karen, such a delicious combination of ingredients. I’m keen to try fennel with couscous the next time I see it in season. As for olives and lamb I think it’s a beautiful provencale combination and one I’d be keen to try with home cured ones too…(for when I finally get around the curing them next time they’re in season, lol!)

    1. Hi Alli, I appreciate your nice compliment. I really think the olive tapenade went very will with the lamb. Lucky is the person who lives in an area where olives are grown so that they can cure their own…in your spare time, of course. 🙂

  26. I hate to steal from Emeril, but you really do “kick it up a notch!” Not just a good grilled lamb chops, but with this fabulous tapenade. This is really an appealing recipe and in addition to the lamb, I’m always looking for new couscous recipes. And I’m trying to learn to use fennel more often. It’s so distinctive! I hope resting your hand is helping, Karen!

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Debra! I do think that the tapenade makes the lamb chops special. My hand is better…I’m even getting a little faster with my one hand typing. 🙂 Thank you for your wish.

  27. Hi Karen, I hope your hand heals quickly. This meal looks absolutely, incredibly delicious! How wonderful for you and your husband to be able to enjoy your talent! So much new here for me to try. Thanks for the ideas! Dana

    1. Thank you Dana, for your wish…hopefully the problem with my fingers will improve with a little rest. Thank you for your kind words…I’m happy to know that I give you inspiration for future meals.

    1. Thank you Sawsan, for your lovely compliment. I do think the Mediterranean flavors from the tapenade and couscous went well with the lamb…I glad you like the dish.

  28. This looks seriously good Karen. I love the idea of fennel couscous and the tapenade. I have bookmarked this to try and I am looking forward to doing so 🙂

    1. Hi Darryl, I’m happy to know that you like this Mediterranean inspired dish. I think the olive tapenade goes very well with the lamb chops.

    1. Hi Rachel, It seems that all meat in inching up in prices…but I think a splurge every once in a while is worth it. Thank you for your comment. 🙂

  29. I’m so sorry to hear your hand problems. I hope you will get better soon! (Don’t worry about commenting of course!).
    Lamb is apparently the best in spring (if it’s reared in a traditional way it has the right age in spring I think), so butchers in France tempt us with more lamb cuts than ever. Personally I must confess the best lamb I have ever tasted is not ecological or local and it comes from New Zealand. It’s often cheaper than French or Swiss lamb and really better.
    I like your tapenade a lot because I always make mine only with black olives (the rest is similar) and never a mixture of green and black. I must taste it. I think I haven’t had tapenade for ages!

    1. Thank you for your wish, Sissi…hopefully this little rest will have my fingers in working order in no time. In the meantime, I getting faster at one hand typing. 🙂 I think you will enjoy the mixture of black and green olives…I really like the combination.

    1. Hi Barbara, I’m glad that you like the couscous…the fennel and lemon flavors went so well with the lamb. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  30. We adore grilled lamb chops, and topping them with your olive tapenade sounds over-the-top delicious. What a lovely celebration of spring!

    1. Hi Hannah, I’m glad that you like my idea of adding an olive tapenade to the lamb chops…I think it is a wonderful flavor addition. Thank you for your compliment.

  31. What a great combination of flavours. I think lamb chops are the most tasty part of the lamb and I enjoy the primal feeling of using my hands on them.

    1. Hi Suzanne, I happy that you are an lamb lover like I am, and you are right…tender lamb chops are wonderful. I’m glad you like the meal.

  32. Karen, I feel as if I’ve been whisked off to Provence for the evening. What a lovely meal. The French do adore their lamb. I’m so glad to see you’ve used Israeli couscous. I’m seeing it used more and more in high end restaurants.

    1. Thank you Sam, for your lovely compliment. I do think this meal has all the flavors you would find in Provence. I always have a bag of Israeli couscous in my pantry…I love the texture it add to a dish.

    1. Hi Meg, I know you are going to enjoy your trip to Provence…it is beautiful and the food is wonderful. I’m looking forward to following along on your trip. 🙂

    1. I know what you mean, Jed…my grill is stored away in Maine. I’m lucky to have a grill on my stove in New Hampshire but the chops could be prepared in a grill pan as well.

  33. We grill lamb chops all of the time but I’ve never thought of topping with a tapenade. What a fabulous idea! I love the looks of it and can really imagine those flavors together! Your couscous and fennel also sounds delicious and as the perfect complement to lamb! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful meal!

    1. Thank you MJ, for your lovely compliment. I do think you will enjoy this meal and the tapenade goes so well with the lamb. I hope you give it a try.

  34. What a beautiful dish and combination of flavor. I haven’t prepare a grilled lamb chops for a while. Gotta start my grill again this weekend. 😉

    1. Hi Amy, I’m glad that you like the dish I prepared. The flavors are great together…I hope you will give it a try. Thank you for your nice compliment.

    1. Thank you Dorie, for stopping by to visit. The olive tapenade went so well with the grilled lamb chops…I’m happy you like the recipe.

  35. Your lamb chops look delicious, but what really caught my attention is your comment about typing one-handed. Do take care; while my left wrist was in a cast and then pretty much non-functional I did everything with the other hand, causing my repetitive strain injury to flare up. I was off all keyboards and restricted other activity for about a week to allow things to settle down. The perils of over-compensating… I can now type with two hands, but for limited periods. I’ve had to curtail activities like blogging, reading & commenting on other blogs and social media. It’s certainly frustrating at times but I’m heading in the right direction toward recovery. I hope that you are much better by now too. Sending empathy your way…

    1. Thank you Marlene, for your kind words and thoughts about my hand. I have really cut back on commenting on blogs for the present time. I’m glad to hear that you are doing better…hopefully I will be much better soon. I’m glad you like the lamb chops.

  36. I’ve missed your delicious recipes! I just got some fennel pollen in the store and would love to try it in this couscous. And I love the big Israel couscous.

    1. Thank you Wendy, for taking time out from your project to visit and your lovely comment. I’m going to try to find fennel pollen when we head to our summer cottage in Maine. I should be able to find it in Portland…it would be good in the couscous.

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