Insalata di Riso

Insalata di Riso

Insalata di riso is an inexpensive summer comfort food that is a quintessential meal in every Italian household. It’s light and flavourful, yet filling and so simple to make. With its bold flavours and simple preparation, it typifies classic, rustic Italian fare in every single bite. It can be served as a hearty main dish for a luncheon, or packed up for a picnic at the park or beach. You can enjoy this at any time of the day (except for breakfast, maybe!).

I always associate this rice salad with summer vacations spent in Sardinia, Italy. The familiar flavours of this summertime meal has become a year-round comfort food for me. I’ve been eating this rice salad for as long as I can remember. It reminds of long days at the beach, sitting under the umbrella eating lunch, and warm summer evenings spent sitting around the table with family and friends. Although the recipe seems basic enough, it lends to variety of interpretations, which makes every single recipe unique and just as delicious as the next. The beauty of this insalata di riso is that you can’t mess it up. I mean, it’s nearly impossible. (That is, unless you don’t know how to cook rice!).

Insalata di Riso

This Italian rice salad is simply boiled rice (specifically parboiled), mixed with a variety of condiments, seasoned with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, sometimes a dollop of mayo, and salt and pepper. Be sure to use good quality extra virgin olive oil in this recipe as it can make or break the recipe. Choose an extra virgin olive oil with a deep green hue for best results.

The traditional insalata di riso recipe calls Condiriso. It’s a delicious blend of preserved vegetables-artichokes, mushrooms, capers, carrots, peas, and more. Most specialty grocery stores stock this item however, if you cannot find it, don’t be deterred from making this recipe. It tastes just as delicious without it!

Over the years I’ve developed my own version of the traditional recipe, and although I have a specific one, the recipe often gets reinvented depending on the availability of seasonal ingredients, or just simply what I’m in the mood for at the time I prepare it. My recipe is only a guideline since insalata di riso is more about the type of preparation as opposed to specific ingredients. In fact, this recipe is totally open to improvisation.

Some delicious ingredients you can add in are: grilled zucchini or eggplant, roasted red peppers, artichokes (canned variety, drained), navy beans or black beans, black or green olives, cubed pieces of prosciutto or cooked ham, Parmesan cheese, smoked salmon, fresh capers, grated mozzarella cheese, pearl onions, canned corn

Serve this insalata di riso cold or at room temperature. Whichever way you prepare or serve it, it’s delicious!

Insalata di Riso

If you try this recipe (and love it!) be sure to snap a pic and tag me onInstagram with #bitesforfoodies so I can see your creation!

Insalata di Riso

: Serves 4-6
: 10 min
: 20 min

Insalata di riso is an inexpensive summer comfort food that is a quintessential meal in every Italian household. It’s light and flavourful, yet filling and so simple to make. With its bold flavours and simple preparation, it typifies classic, rustic Italian fare in every single bite. It can be served as a hearty main dish for a […]


Insalata di Riso
    2 cups parboiled rice (or Arborio rice)
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 jar of Condiriso, drained
  • 1 cup bocconcini mozzarella, halved or quartered
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 1/3 cup black or green olives
  • 2 cans tuna packed in olive oil, drained
  • 2-4 tbs. light mayonnaise (optional)
  • 1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil (or more as needed)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Rice preparation
Bring about 8 cups of water to a boil in large pot. Once boiling, season with 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Add the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes LESS than the suggested cooking time on the box (about 20 minutes). This ensures the rice will be perfectly al dente. Drain the rice in a large colander and set aside to cool.

In the meantime, bring water to a boil in a small pot to prepare the hard-boiled eggs. Once boiling, add the eggs to the water and cook on medium heat for 10-12 minutes. Drain and set aside until cool to the touch. Remove the shells and cut into cubes.

Transfer the rice and eggs to a large mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix gently with a large wooden spoon until combined. Season with salt, pepper, and mayonnaise to taste. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving. The longer this insalata di riso sits, the better it tastes. In fact, it tastes even better the day after its prepared!

30 thoughts on “Insalata di Riso”

  • Hello delicious! I have never thought to make an Italian rice salad before, but you make it look so easy. I would love to swap out my boring pasta salad side dishes for something like this. It would be really fun to bring this to a BBQ!

  • A RICE salad?! This would put a fun spin on the same ol’ same ol’ pasta salads we always have at family gatherings.

  • Dawn Gibson-Thigpen 8 years ago

    oh my this looks sooo dang good. you had me at the eggs. I have loved them since I was a kid.

  • Susan Pazera 8 years ago

    I totally just bookmarked this post! This recipe looks so so good! I love artichokes in anything but this recipe has so many things I love in it…can’t wait to try it!

  • strangedaze 8 years ago

    This looks so healthy and delicious. I love rice dishes, rice salads, risottos! Yum!

  • This looks so good. I haven’t heard of some of the ingredients. I might have to try this. I’m looking for some new healthy recipes.

  • This looks amazing. I’m addicted to the preserved veggies alone, so I can just imagine how much I’d love this dish. Pinned for later!

  • Oh I love salad and rice. This looks so good for a cool meal this summer

  • What an interesting dish, never thought about making something like a rice salad before. Interesting!

  • Rebecca Swenor 8 years ago

    My grandmother was Italian and I remember her along with my great grandmother making a salad like this when I was younger. This is a recipe I will have to use for the family gathering this weekend. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • Definitely going on my try this summer. It looks so yummy.

  • Belle Vie A Deux 8 years ago

    This sounds amazing! My hubby loves rice so this would make him so happy! 🙂 I am going to pin this to try out later this summer! 🙂

  • Jaclyn Anne @ Dorky’s Deals 8 years ago

    I need to give this rice salad a try! As an Italian, I am shocked that I have never had it before! Yum!

  • My kids are obsessed with rice! I never thought ot make a salad like this with rice, I know my kids would love it!

    • This can be so easily personalized…the kids could even choose which ingredients they want in theirs. Just make the rice and then everyone make their own rice salad!

  • I have to admit I am not a fan of plain salads but this sounds right up my street – I might just have to try it! x

  • Jeanine @ 8 years ago

    yum! now this looks delicious and is probably something my gestational diet could devour no problems. I will have to see and give it a try. This will for sure be a family favourite.

  • Perfect timing I find this recipe. I was just telling the hubs the other day I need to step up my lunchtime cooking. Sandwiches day after day…getting a bit old, ya know? I love this! Colorful, fresh and something my ten year old stepdaughter would actually eat!

  • This sounds like such a delicious salad! I would love to try this rice salad for dinner one night! I’m always looking for easy, convenient meals like this!

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