Cheese Ball Basil Salad

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Cheese Ball Basil Salad 6

I have developed some new fav foods over the summer. Especially farro!

Farro has a high protein and fiber content and a nutty, chewy texture (similar to barley) that makes it great for grain salads, soups, stuffings, and pilafs. Buy pearled farro, it makes the cooking process so much easier. Having a rice or pressure cooker is nice too…..cuts back on cooking time.


So……… could you fry farro up like fried rice? I tried it with great results, but what about just frying/toasting it like breadcrumbs????? Nutty, chewy, and crispy!!!! I could use it to sprinkle on a salad. How about I make a salad for you??

By this time of year, my basil has gone…..for lack of better terms ape-shit! I’m not sure which is more out of control….basil or tarragon……the tarragon is another story.

Basil is my herb of choice…mixed with a spring lettuce mix it makes the perfect salad bed.

Cheese Ball Basil Salad 5

 

Fennel is another of my favorite veggies, with it’s light anise flavor,
fennel bulbs can be braised, grilled, sautéed or sliced thinly and served in salads…….and I’m making a salad. Fun fact: fennel is from the carrot family….who knew????

Raspberries……a little bit sweet….a little bit tart…….a lot a bit in this salad.

I think I must use red onions in every salad I make. Just a few thin slices add a sweet colorful onion flavor to a salad. So, they are in…….

Tim and I have been on a goat cheese kick lately , and guess what……. some was in my frig.

Cheese Ball Basil Salad

I usually buy my goat cheese in a 4 ounce log. It’s the perfect size for two. I was cutting it in quarters and thought maybe I would roll them in some chopped basil. Now, I shouldn’t tell on myself, but there was a little bit of the goat cheese left inside the package. So I dug my finger in and popped it in my mouth and being the pig I can sometimes be, I also threw a little handful of the toasted farro in my mouth at the same time………OMG it was awesome!!!!! I rolled those goat cheese balls in that toasted farro……….that’s right……rolled it in the farro.

Cheese Ball Basil Salad 3
These nutty, chewy, tangy, slightly crunchy little gems were going right on top of this salad.

A really great dressing was in order. It needs to be a vinaigrette…..olive oil, balsamic, ooooh raspberry balsamic, a handful of red raspberries, and some honey for sweetness….golden.

There is something about balsamic vinegar that bring out an amazing flavor in berries. I know it sounds weird, but it is really brings out the flavor of the berries.

I christened this salad Cheese Ball Basil Salad. Mixed greens, fennel, raspberries, red onion, and those super yummy goat cheese balls, rolled in farro. Dressed with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette and you have a light lunch or supper. Serve with grilled chicken for an elegant, special dinner for two.

Cheese Ball Basil Salad Collage

Cheese Ball Basil Salad
Author: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • ½ cup toasted farro*
  • 3 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cups lightly packed lettuce mix( your choice)
  • 1medium fennel bulb trimmed, halved, cored, and very thinly sliced
  • 1 cups fresh raspberries divided
  • ½ cup red onion, sliced thinly
  • ⅓ cup raspberry balsamic vinegar
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. For toasted farro, cook farro according to package directions. Drain well. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup cooked farro. Reserve remaining farrow for another use. Cook and stir frequently until toasted, about 8 minutes. Cool.
  2. Slice the goat cheese into 4 even slices. Roll into balls. Press into farro to coat. Reserve remaining farrow for garnish. Keep cheese balls refrigerated until serving time.
  3. Mix basil and lettuce in a large bowl, divide between two serving plates. Arrange fennel, ¾ cup raspberries and onion on top of lettuce mixture. For dressing, combine the vinegar, oil, ¼ cup raspberries, and honey. Blend to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange cheese balls over salad and drizzle with dressing.
  4. Sprinkle with remaining toasted farro if desired.

 

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