I have never been a fan of caprese salads, my reasoning being threefold: 1) from a nutritional standpoint, they are pretty lame 2) slabs of mozzarella just don’t do anything for me 3) in general, I try to avoid any dish that involves dousing with olive oil.
Having gotten that off my chest, here is a caprese dish I can get along with. Farro and barley are nutritional superstars of the grain world – packed with dietary fiber, minerals, amino acids, and protein. From a culinary standpoint, they are incredibly versatile and add a nuttiness and depth of flavor to any dish.
Serves 8 to 12, as a side or main course
2 cups uncooked farro or pearled barley
1/2 tsp salt
1 pint grape tomatoes
¼ cup fresh basil
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp honey
¼ cup olive oil
Add the farro and salt along with 2 3/4 cups water to pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off burner and let sit, covered, for 5 more minutes. Spread out on a rimmed sheet pan and let cool completely.
While the farro cools, cut the mozzarella into small cubes, and the tomatoes in half or quarters, depending on the size. Whisk together the vinegar, honey, and oil to prepare the dressing. Pour the dressing over the ingredients and stir well to combine, using a long wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Season with salt and pepper. The salad is ready to serve, but can also be made and stored in the fridge to have on hand for snacking.