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Rice Salad - Cold Dish Recipe

Updated on November 9, 2015
Robie Benve profile image

Born and raised in Italy, Robie loves good and healthy food, even better if easy to cook. :) She proudly raised 2 kids that eat everything.

4.5 stars from 2 ratings of Rice Salad

The Rice Salad is a classic summer Italian dish whose ingredients and appearance varies quite a bit from cook to cook. Whatever the recipe, it is a great food for a picnic, a potluck party, or just a summer family dinner. In Italy many people pack rice salad for a day at the beach, so it can be a dish that brings back happy memories all year long.

Colorful and fresh, the Rice Salad brings joy to the table, and because of the bright colors is usually loved by grownups and children alike. I always make extra and pack the leftover for my children's lunch on a school day, they love it.

Rice Salad is good as appetizer but can be a complete meal, since it has all the nutritional elements needed in well balanced diet. It's colorful, tasty, and nutritious; a fun dish for everyone.

Source

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 35 min
Yields: Serves 8 people

Rice Salad Ingredients

  • 3 cups Parboiled Rice, cooked and cooled
  • 1/2 cup Cheese, diced
  • 2 cans Tuna
  • 1 1/2 cup Fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup Olives, sliced
  • 5 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Hard-boiled eggs, diced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Lemon Juice, to taste
These are the ingredients that I used for the rice salad in the picture above. The mixed veggies in the center are actually from a jar, an Italian product called "Condiriso" that contains a mix of carrots, olives, artichoke hearts, and peppers.
These are the ingredients that I used for the rice salad in the picture above. The mixed veggies in the center are actually from a jar, an Italian product called "Condiriso" that contains a mix of carrots, olives, artichoke hearts, and peppers. | Source

Instructions:

  1. Boil the rice in salty water according to cooking instructions on package, usually for about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool. Optional: quickly rinse the cooked rice with running cold water.
  2. Dice all the ingredients, vegetables, cheese, and meats, and break the tuna into small pieces.
  3. When the rice is cooled, place in a big bowl and add all the ingredients, including the extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Stir well until there are no areas of white rice.
  5. Add some of the ingredients to the top for garnish, like cherry tomatoes cut in half, olives, or slices of hard boiled eggs, and some parsley. Adjust salt as needed.
  6. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
  7. Serve cold.

The Rice Salad Tastes Better if Made a Day Earlier

To enhance the taste of your Rice Salad, I recommend preparing it one or two days in advance and let it rest in the refrigerator, covered.

This will allow the rice to absorb the aromas of all ingredients, and really get the best taste.


Make Your Own Rice Salad Recipe

The rice salad is a very flexible dish. You can make it with many variations of ingredients, and it's a great way to use some leftovers.

You can also get creative with the rice, using different grains and different color rice, like basmati rice and wild rice.

Here are some alternative ingredients that you may want to include, and they all work well together, just remember to dice them up.

Note: The only ingredients that I never add are spices and herbs, because they may be too powerful and overpower the all dish, but that is a personal choice. You can try to add anything you think of to a small portion and taste to see if you like the combination of flavors.

Add some lemon juice

Optional: serve with a slice of lemon.

I love to add some freshly squeezed lemon juice on my rice salad, it adds a nice zest to it. You can try lime juice as well.


You Can Really Get Creative with the Ingredients!

Depending on what you put into it, the rice salad can become more or less tasty.

My staple ingredients that I always include, as the minimum, are:

- Something acid (like capers, cocktail onions, etc.)

- Some kind of cubed cheese, the tastier the better (aged cheese is better than fresh for taste)

- Canned tuna. it goes particularly well with the acidic ingredients.

- Something salty, like olives.

- Some color: diced tomatoes, corn, boiled carrot cubes, parsley, etc.

Enjoy!

Alternative ingredients for rice salad

Veggies:
Cheese:
Meat/Fish:
Cocktail onions
Provolone
Chicken breast
Capers
Asiago
Ham
Rosted bell peppers
Manchego
Turkey
Corn
Feta
Bologna
Peas
Mozzarella
Hot dogs
Celery
Cheddar
Steamed shrimp
Chives
Havarti
Mussels
Pickles
Gouda
Smoked salmon
Carrots
 
Clams
Green beans
 
Canned tuna
Make sure you have a good balance of flavors: salty, acid, smokey... This dish is not really meant to be spicey, but that's up to you if you want to try, of course. :)

© 2012 Robie Benve

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    • Robie Benve profile image
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      Robie Benve 2 years ago from Ohio

      Hi peachpurple! We all love rice salad too, and it's a great alternative when it comes to packing school lunches. Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoy it!

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Lovely dish to satisfy everyone in my family, voted up

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks a lot vacation trip! And you can make it taste a little different every time. :)

    • Vacation Trip profile image

      Susan 4 years ago from India

      This recipe sounds good and interesting. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 4 years ago from Ohio

      Heather, I make this often in the summer because it's fresh, and I like to make it in winter too because it's an easy pack for lunches. I hope you like it, let me know how it goes. :) Thanks!

    • Heather Says profile image

      Heather Rode 4 years ago from Buckeye, Arizona

      This looks great. You had me at rice and hard-boiled eggs! I love all of the ingredients and look forward to trying this. Thanks for the recipe :)

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 4 years ago from Ohio

      Kelley, I hope you'll like it. And the fun part is that you can mix and match some of your favorite ingredients to make this rice salad! :) Thanks for the comment and pinning. :)

    • profile image

      kelleyward 4 years ago

      This looks amazing. I gave it 5 stars! I'm always looking for lighter dishes to eat during the summer and I will try this one soon. Your pictures were great! Voted up and Pinned! Take care, Kelley

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 4 years ago from Ohio

      Docmo, I'm glad you stopped by and found it yummy. Hope you will enjoy it! :)

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 4 years ago from UK

      Oh yum. Only recently I tried a couple of varieties of rice salad in a buffet and wanted to make something different of my own. This is a wonderful recipe- easy to follow- flavorsome and healthy too! thanks for this- voted up and awesome!

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 4 years ago from Ohio

      Hi RTalloni, it sure is a nice recipe to have on hand. I made it again for yesterday's party, and everyone loved it.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. :)

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 4 years ago from Ohio

      rmcleve, I never tried a rice salad with pecans, it sounds very yummy! I hope your boyfriend liked my recipe as well. :)

      Thanks!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Really nice recipe to have on hand--thanks!

    • rmcleve profile image

      Rachael Cleveland 5 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

      Excellent! I was just looking for a rice salad recipe and this is a perfect recipe to add and adjust for rice salad optimization.

      For my boyfriend's birthday, I made a roasted garlic and parsley vinaigrette. The rice salad had capers, dried cranberries, pecans, and quite a few other things. He's been pestering me for the recipe since he loved it so much, but I couldn't find it. I'll be sending him yours instead!

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 5 years ago from Ohio

      You are so right rjsadowski, lots of pasta salads at parties, very rarely a rice salad. I actually did not think of that until I read your comment, thank you. :)

    • rjsadowski profile image

      rjsadowski 5 years ago

      Thanks for reminding us that rice can be used to make salads, not just pasta.

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 5 years ago from Ohio

      Hi Marcy, I think cucumbers would give it a nice and fresh taste. I actually had them in the veggie variation list, then I took them off, just because personally I never tried to add cucumbers.

      Let me know how it goes. :)

      Thanks!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      What a perfect recipe for summer weather - also sounds great for a luncheon or a potluck. I love all the ingredients in the basic recipe, as well as the variations; it sounds like you can do a lot with just this one theme. Do you think cucumbers will work, too?

      Thanks for publishing this! Voted up!

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