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  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

Insalata di Riso | Cold Italian Rice Salad Recipe

While Italians do eat pasta salads, many prefer a cold rice salad on a hot day. With the correct rice, such a salad maintains an al dente texture much longer than cold pasta can. This refreshing recipe is perfect to take on a picnic, or anywhere you need to bring a delicious dish that can't be reheated!

Insalata di Riso | Cold Italian Rice Salad

Like many Italian dishes, insalata di riso has a near infinite number of variations. Feel free to adapt it to your own preferences! Don't like eggs? Leave them out. Want to add your favorite vegetable? Go for it!

A quick note on the choice of rice: parboiled rice is best, as it maintains an "al dente" texture very well and is difficult to overcook. You can also use carnaroli or arborio rice, but you'll want to monitor the cooking much more carefully to avoid overcooking.

Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:

Serves 4-5.

For this recipe, you will need:

- 200g (about 1 1/8 cup) parboiled medium grain rice

- "Giardiniera Mix" Italian veggies in vinegar, to taste (we use about 1 1/2 cup)

- 100g (3.5oz) cubed ham, or to taste

- 15g (about 2 tbsp) sliced black olives, or to taste

- 125g (4.5oz) cubed provolone cheese, or to taste

- 1 can (about 145g, or 5oz) solid tuna

- 1 hardboiled egg, chopped

- Extra virgin olive oil

- The juice of 1 lemon

- Salt

Bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil. Salt it generously: we're talking 2-3 small handfuls. Add the rice and stir to prevent sticking.

Use the recommended cook time of your rice as a guide, but don't follow any instructions regarding steaming or water quantity. The idea is to cook it like pasta! Parboiled rice is difficult to overcook, so just taste it occasionally. You want an "al dente" texture: soft enough to chew but still quite firm.

While the rice cooks, chop the giardiniera mix and add into a large mixing bowl. To this, add the ham, olives, cheese, and egg. Use your hands to flake the solid tuna into the bowl. The amounts given above are simply a reflection of how much we used, but feel free to adjust as you like!

When the rice is cooked to your liking, drain it with a fine strainer (you don't want to lose your precious rice down the drain!) and add it into the mixing bowl. Finish with a generous drizzle of olive oil and the lemon juice, then mix all together.

Cover and refrigerate until cold.

Buon appetito!

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Aaron Williams
Aaron Williams
Jul 25, 2022

I made this as part of a full course meal based on your recipes for my wife's birthday a couple of weeks ago, it was the primo. We loved it!


Sandy Prislac
Sandy Prislac
Jun 23, 2022

Excellent recipe Eva! I’ve made this several times and my family loves it! It is one of my favorite summertime salad recipes.


Terry Vermilion
Terry Vermilion
Aug 25, 2021

This is so good!! I made it as presented. It reminded me of a trip I took several years ago to Italy. Thank you so much for sharing these authentic dishes!


Jun 22, 2021

I would love a Sicilian food video!

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