Caprese Farro Salad: Old World Meets Classic Italian

This take on a traditional combination incorporates farro, a grain popular hundreds of years ago that’s making a resurgence.

By Tracy Harris; Image by Tracy Harris Published November 15, 2012

Eating healthy can become monotonous if you never seek out new-to-you nutritious options. Introducing farro: the oldest known cultivated grain in the world that’s hardly well-known today.

Farro was popular in the Middle East during ancient times, but it is making a comeback today among culinary experts and holistic foodies around the world. Also known as emmer wheat, farro is a grain that looks similar to barley. It is plump and chewy in texture with a full-bodied, nutty flavor.

Farro is rich in protein, fiber, and vitamins A, B, C, and E. It can be substituted for any whole grain such as brown rice, barley, or quinoa. In addition to being a versatile side dish, farro can be added to soups or be eaten as a warm breakfast cereal in place of oatmeal.

This simple recipe encompasses all of the goodness of caprese salad. Combining fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil together with farro makes it a wholesome, well-rounded dish.

Caprese Farro Salad
Recipe by Tracy Wartman Harris of The Runner’s Palate, a blog dedicated to running, food, and fun

What you’ll need:

4 cups water
10 ounces farro (about 1 ½ cups)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed
½ cup fresh basil, julienned
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon agave nectar (or honey)
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch black pepper

How to make it:

1. Combine the water and farro in a medium saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the farro is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain well and place in a large bowl.
2. Add the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. Toss to combine.
3. For the vinaigrette, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, agave nectar, salt, and pepper, and add to the farro mixture. Toss to coat. Serve immediately or at room temperature. Serves 4 – 6.

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