Insalata di Riso

Insalata di Riso

‘Insalata di Riso’ (rice salad) is an informal Italian dish that is especially popular in the summer as an appetizer or as a refreshing first course, particularly for lunch. Its main component is Parboiled rice, which is the most appropriate for this preparation as its grains remain firm and separated when cooked, and stay soft when they get cold. The cooled rice is lightly dressed with olive oil and lemon juice and flavored with a variety of add-ins, according to personal preference, but also following the tradition.

Insalata di Riso

Yield: 3-4 servings

Total Time: 45 minutes

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Insalata di Riso



    • 1 cup parboiled rice
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
    • 100 g mild cheese (Fontina, Montasio, Raclette, Gouda), cubed
    • ½ cup Italian pickled cucumbers (no dill and no garlic!)
    • ½ cup Italian mixed 'sottaceti' (vinegar-preserved vegetables, e.g.: peppers, corn, capers, carrots, olives, fennel, artichokes)
    • ¼ cup sliced olives
    • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
    • the juice of 1 lemon
    • salt


    • pickled 'cipolline' (small onions), halved
    • pickled bell peppers, cut in small pieces
    • tuna in olive oil, crushed
    • ham, diced
    • cold roast beef or chicken, cut in small pieces


    1. Boil or steam the rice then spread it over a cloth and let it cool down, by the end the rice should be dry and fluffy.
    2. Meanwhile, hard boil the eggs and cook the peas, then let them also cool down.
    3. Move the rice into a bowl (fig. 1) and gently mix in the olive oil. Gather the pickled veggies (fig. 2).
    4. Gather peas, eggs (fig. 3) and diced cheese (fig. 4).
    5. Mix all of the add-ins together with the rice, then stir in the lemon juice.
    6. Adjust the salt and let the salad rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

    10 thoughts on “Insalata di Riso”

    1. Always a great summer dish in all of its variation! Even the sandy one I ate as a kid on the beach (I wasn't great with cups and utensils and sand always ended up in my salad!!).

    2. Paola, you are correct, this is a great dish to take to the beach or on a picnic, sand or bugs aside 🙂

      Philippe, you definitely know me! I'm not too big on pasta salads… They can be made by using quality durum short pasta, cooked al dente and quickly rinsed under cold water to interrupt the cooking process and eliminate the excess starch. However, even with these expedients, cold pasta always turns out a bit gummy and too soft.

    3. I agree with you 100%! I like insalata di riso but not pasta salads. I think it is because I am a bit obsessed with eating my pasta hot and al dente! Also, interestingly enough, my husband (who is of Indian origin) does not eat insalata di riso as to him rice must be enjoyed warm… 😉

    4. I love your version of Insalata di Riso…just the right ingredients used in them. Your blog is beautiful and very nicely organzied with wonderful recipes and photos.
      Thank you for visiting my blog, and commenting!
      I will certainly be back again to see your latest!

    5. I don't quite agree with Paolo this time (which is very unusual). As long as it's prepared the right way i think Insalata di Pasta is a great summer dish too. The best types of pasta are Penne or Farfalle, and of course it must be cooked 'al dente'. As far as the other ingredients it's similar to rice salad: you can use tuna in olive oil, diced tomatoes, diced cheese, artichokes, olives, corn, sundried tomatoes, capers, etc… you can use pretty much anything you want, however, it must not be too rich/oily. I would also NEVER use pesto.
      anyway, rice or pasta, at the end of the day it's a matter of personal preference.

    6. trive, I actually don't disagree with you 🙂 I'm not too big on pasta salad, but many Italians like it – especially if properly made. Thanks for pointing this out!

    7. Paolo, this sounds like a great summer salad! And how interesting about the pasta salad. I thought it's Italian thing. I like how you guys are picky about al dente. I am very picky about how rice is cooked too. =) Have a great weekend!

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