Caprese Farro Salad
I have been wanting fresh, vibrant foods this pregnancy! I’m talking fresh fruits galore, veggies, herbs, and colorful salads with lots of toppings. This is especially awesome because these are nutrient dense foods to help keep baby and me both healthy and fueled properly. I must say, the summer produce in our area has been wonderful this year, and I look forward to enjoying more of it as the summer progresses.
Convenient meals and sides are also a go-to these days, especially ones that can be made ahead or have components that can be prepped in advance. This summery caprese farro salad fits the bill for being filling, flavorful, and healthy! Yum, yum, yum, yum, YUM!
Let’s talk about the main components:
If you have never had farro, you are in for a real treat. According to the Whole Grains Council, farro is an ancient strain of wheat that is most popular in Italy. It is hearty and chewy with a similar appearance to barley. It has pleasant and somewhat nutty flavor. It also delivers protein, fiber, and a variety of B vitamins and iron. Please note that farro is not gluten free because it is a type of wheat. If you cannot find farro, barley would work as an acceptable substitute. I highly recommend a 10 minute farro, which can be found at Trader Joe’s.
This ingredient is pretty self-explanatory as a caprese ingredient. It tastes delicious and looks pretty contrasted with the colors of this salad.
Any kind of cherry or grape tomatoes will do, but if you can find multi-color cherry tomatoes, those are best. Each tomato has a slightly different flavor and the extra colors of orange, yellow, brown, and red makes for a lovely visual.
I am a big green onion fan because of its flavor and convenience. Depending on the size of you green onion and flavor preference, I give a range of 2-3 in the recipe below.
Of all the fresh herbs, basil is my hands down favorite! It has such a bright flavor that pairs so beautifully with summer produce, especially tomatoes. Feel free to add extra if 3 Tbsp isn’t enough for you!
This balsamic vinaigrette is heavy on the balsamic, which I love in a summer salad. The Dijon mustard serves as an emulsifier and keeps the vinegar from separating from the olive oil. In a pinch, you could also add about 1/3 cup of your favorite balsamic dressing instead in place of this vinaigrette.
As I mention in the recipe below, be sure to reserve some mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil for a garnish on top of the salad. This would be a perfect dish for a summery dinner party, barbeque, fourth of July party, or even a weeknight side!
Caprese Farro Salad
1 ¼ cups 10-minute uncooked farro
8 oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 9-ounce package cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 2 cups)
2-3 green onions, sliced thinly
3 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp garlic powder
Cook the farro according to package directions and let cool completely. Quick cook farro, such as the 10-minute farro from Trader Joe’s is recommended. Otherwise, the farro can be cooked in advance to save time.
Reserve about ¼ cup each of the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella for the top of the salad. Additionally, save about 1 tsp chopped basil.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled farro, quartered tomatoes, cubed mozzarella, green onion, and basil. Set aside.
Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients until smooth and combined.
Just before serving the salad, add the vinaigrette to the salad and mix until coated evenly. Pour into the serving bowl and top with the reserved tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Serve immediately.