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Easy Italian Rice Salad Recipe (Insalata Di Riso)

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5 from 2 reviews

Easy Italian Rice Salad Recipe (Insalata Di Riso)- is a refreshing and colorful dish made with tender short-grain rice mixed with various fresh vegetables, herbs, a light dressing, and optional meat or meat seafood. It’s delightful!

  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x


Units Scale


  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or white wine or red wine vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and left whole


  • 1 cup arborio rice (or short-grain white rice)
  • 4 cups water
  • Pinch of salt

Italian Rice Salad Add-Ins

  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cups cherry or plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup frozen corn thawed and cooked according to package instructions (or canned drained corn)-OR- 1 cup frozen peas thawed and cooked according to package instructions (or canned drained peas)-OR- use 1/2 cup of each
  • 1/2 cup green, pimento-stuffed green olives, or black olives (or combination), sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 hardboiled eggs cooked to your doneness preference, peeled and quartered

Optional Protein Extras

  • 1 cup cubed diced ham, prosciutto, or prosciutto cotto
  • 1 can Italian-style tuna packed in oil, excess oil removed
  • 1 cup mozzarella balls
  • 1 16oz. jar of giardiniera salad, drained, chopped into smaller pieces



  1. Place all dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake until combined. Alternatively, add them to a small bowl and whisk them together. Set aside. Take out the garlic clove, and shake again before adding it to the rice salad. 


  1. Rinse rice under running water until the water comes out clear. Rinsing the rice for rice salad removes some of the starches, so the rice isn’t gluey or overly sticky.
  2. Cook rice according to package directions until slightly al dente (about 15 minutes)- no mushy rice! For the rice to be al dente, remove the pot from the heat and drain it two minutes before the cooking time indicated on the package. The rice won’t absorb all the water like a normal pot of rice. In the center, the grain should be a little hard.
  3. Once cooked, drain in a colander and lay flat on a baking sheet to cool while preparing the other salad ingredients. 


  1. Make hard-boiled eggs cooked to your doneness preference- I like them cooked for 6-7 minutes in boiling water. Run under cold water, peel, and cut them in quarters. Set aside. 
  2. Place cooked rice in a large mixing bowl and add the Italian salad vegetable ingredients (except hard-boiled eggs). Pour the dressing over and gently toss with salad tongs until all the ingredients are together. Transfer to a large serving platter or bowl and garnish with fresh parsley, basil, and hard-boiled eggs. Buon Appitito. 


Top tips

    • The right rice: Use short-grain rice such as Arborio or Carnaroli rice to absorb the dressing and hold its shape well.

    • Rinse the rice: Rinse the rice thoroughly before cooking to remove excess starch, which can make the rice sticky.

    • Cook the rice properly: Cook the rice until it is tender but still slightly firm, so that it retains its shape and texture.

    • Cool the rice: Once the rice is cooked, spread it out on a baking sheet and let it cool to room temperature before mixing it with the other ingredients. This will prevent the vegetables from wilting and the dressing from being absorbed too quickly.

    • Use fresh, seasonal ingredients: Use the freshest and most flavorful ingredients. Seasonal vegetables are best and add brightness and texture to the salad.

    • Cut the ingredients evenly: Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces and try to keep them all about the same size to mix evenly with the rice.

    • Don’t overdo the dressing: Start with a little dressing and add more as needed. You want the dressing to coat the ingredients but not overwhelm them.

    • Chill before serving: Refrigerate the salad for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.


  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian