Happy Monday, friends! and Happy Memorial Day!
While I have spend the better part of the past two days trying to get better, I hope you have been out celebrating the sunshine and the long weekend with family, friends and delicious food. Sick or not, you can’t keep me out of the kitchen- especially when I had this Strawberry and Blueberry Caprese Farro Salad planned for the weekend.
This salad is a beautiful thing, you guys. Perfect as an easy dinner, bbq side dish, pot luck addition, vegetarian menu option, or just leftover for lunch, it literally covers all the bases. I have loved caprese salads for, well, forever. Any excuse to eat big chunks of mozzarella with fresh sweet tomatoes and I am all in. There is just one small problem with these delicious salads- they’re not filling enough for my hearty appetite. I’m always left wanting something more.
Oh, you too?? Hi! welcome 🙂 I made us the perfect salad.
Filled with the classic caprese favorites like sweet tomatoes, smooth mozzarella and a homemade basil pesto, this salad also has FARRO. Farro is an easy-to-cook ancient grain packed full of fiber, protein and nutrients like magnesium and iron. And although farro does contain gluten, it is in lower levels than traditional wheat. The addition of this ancient grain takes this salad from a delicious appetizer or side, to balanced and fulfilling meal.
But, that’s not all.
A salad wouldn’t be a salad without fruit. Ok, that’s not true, but a salad wouldn’t be a summer salad without fruit. Caprese salads and strawberries were practically made for each other so that was an easy decision. Then I looked in my refrigerator and saw some blueberries and realized it was Memorial Day Weekend and BAM! blueberries had to go in there too. I could have continued to add more (avocado, nuts or seeds), but I put on the breaks and put flowers in there instead.
just kidding. You don’t have to add flowers (although I highly recommend it- just make sure they’re edible if you actually plan on eating them).
Strawberry and Blueberry Caprese Farro Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 12 minutes (quick cook farro); 30 minutes (regular farro)
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings
Category: Gluten-Free (optional), Healthy, Salad, Spring + Summer, Vegetarian
FOR THE PESTO
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 overflowing packed cup fresh basil leaves (err on the side of more rather than less)
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil OR 1 avocado
3 tablespoons fresh parmesan cheese, grated
Juice from 1 large lemon, divided
Salt + Pepper, to taste
FOR THE SALAD
2 cups farro, rinsed
10 ounces cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
16 ounces fresh strawberries
6 ounces fresh blueberries
8 ounces fresh whole milk mozzarella pearls, liquid discarded
Prepare the farro. Rinse the farro with fresh clean water. Fill a large saucepan with cold, salted water and bring to a boil. Add the farro, stir, and reduce heat to medium low. Farro should be fully immersed in water. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until farro is cooked through. Drain completely and spread the cooked farro in a layer over a piece of parchment paper or clean baking sheet.
As the farro cooks or cools, prepare the pesto. In the bowl of a small food processor add the minced garlic, basil, pine nuts, olive oil or avocado (I chose avocado), parmesan and juice from 1/2 a lemon. Process until smooth, with little bits of the basil remaining (no need to make a puree). Season with salt + pepper, to taste.
With the farro cooled and pesto prepared, assemble your salad.
In a large salad bowl toss together the farro with the pesto and remaining lemon juice. Add the tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries and mozzarella pearls and gently toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.
**Make gluten-free by replacing farro with quinoa, rice or other gluten-free grain.
Recipe inspired by A Beautiful Plate