Caprese Wheatberry Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
This week was my daughter's annual birthday party where adults outnumber the kids significantly thereby requiring me to serve more than just pizza. Every year I spend lots of time coming up with interesting salads to make to serve to my guests who travel a few hours to get to the party. This year the salads were the biggest hit and this was one of them. This is my take on the classic Italian Caprese salad which is usually slices of fresh mozzarella and tomato and fresh basil leaves but with the heartiness of my favorite grain, the wheat berry. Here, the basil element is in the form of the vinaigrette and since I love basil so much I added lots of fresh basil to the salad as well. Dressing the wheat berries while they are warm is key to them absorbing the most flavor and if you can avoid devouring this salad right away, keep it in the fridge for a day because it tastes even better the next day, just re-season with a little salt and pepper and you are good to go. Enjoy!
3 cups wheat berries or farro
2 cups red cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 cups yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
8 oz or 1 cup baby mozzarella balls or whole mozzarella sliced into cubes (the Gad brand in Israel makes small pearl mozzarella balls
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Rinse the wheat berries with cold water and place in a pot. Fill the pot with triple the amount of water as there is wheat berries, salt the water as you would with pasta and bring to a boil. Cook the wheat berries for about 25-30 minutes (some brands need to cook longer, some shorter) until tender (wheat berries when fully cooked will still have a chewy texture) While they are cooking assemble the vinaigrette. Drain the wheat berries and add 3/4 of the dressing to the wheat berries while they are still warm. Cool the wheat berries and add the tomatoes, mozzarella, the rest of the dressing and the chopped fresh basil.
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
1 tsp sugar
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.