I would say, without question, that Rice Salad (“Insalata di Riso”) is the SUMMER ITALIAN CLASSIC – as much as “Italian meatballs” are a WINTER ITALIAN CLASSIC! Every Italian, from Sicily to the North of Italy, knows what an Insalata di Riso is, and all cook it in the same way (with maybe a few exceptions due to the local products of the various Regions). It is a fresh dish, super easy to prepare, and able to be prepared ahead of time. A rice salad would never be missing from any Italian summer party or picnic.
As any other rice salad, this dish is composed by a base of boiled white rice, enriched with meat (frankfurters and ham), fish (tuna), veggies (pickled, fresh, or frozen), eggs, and cheese. Very quick to prepare, perfect for picnics or lunch boxes (as is the tuna and lemon pasta salad) and particularly suitable for parties (as much as “Tartine“) not only because it can be served cool, but especially because it looks colorful and tempting.
As for all the ingredients that this salad needs, I usually make a big bowl of it, so we can consume it during all the week, and my husband loves it because is the perfect alternative to a sandwich to be eaten for lunch at the office.
Even though I usually try to be very precise with the quantities, I would suggest you make this salad by adjusting the ingredients according to your individual tastes (I mean, if you don’t like tuna, you can skip it, and add more ham instead, or viceversa). I will try to give you an idea of how I make it, using pictures, and approximate quantities.
INGREDIENTS for a big bowl
3 cups white rice cooked “al dente”
2 big cans tuna in oil
1 small pack ham cubes
1 small pack frozen peas, boiled
1 jar Italian mix giardiniera
1 handful cappers
1 cup green olives chopped
half jar cocktail onions cut in two
a handful of sweet roasted peppers
a handful of Asiago cheese cut in cubes
a couple of sliced eggs
mayonnaise to decorate
Cook the rice as it was pasta “al dente” (don’t forget to salt the water!), drain it, and rinse it under cool water. Be careful not to overcook the rice because if you let it cook too long, once drained all the grains will stick together, ruining both the taste and appearance of the salad.
I took a pictures of all the ingredients together, but you don’t need to dirty so many dishes, as I did! 😉
Just add all the ingredients to the rice, and mix them together!
Put the salad in the refrigerator and enjoy it when cooled.
Add to your portion some Asiago cheese cubes, few slices of boiled egg, and – if you like some extra taste – a few lines of mayonnaise.
LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
TIPS: – If you decide to make this rice salad for a cook out (which sounds like an awesome idea), remember not to mix the mayonnaise with the salad, as to avoid it spoiling too quickly in the heat.
– If you make this salad for a party, use the eggs and mayonnaise not only as ingredients but as decorations: your dish will look gorgeously alluring!
– According to my personal experience, kids don’t appreciate this plate. My daughters like most of the ingredients of this salad separated, but once mixed all together, they just don’t want to take even a bite!
I really hope you like this recipe, and please, if you do,
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