Italian Rice Salad

By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:

During summertime across Italy, we always prepare a traditional cold dish called Insalata di Riso. This colorful recipe is healthy and easy to make . . . and every family has its own recipe. There are several variations of this rice salad, but today I’d love to share my own family's version. It is packed with flavor!

You can use canned tuna, würstel, ham, mortadella dices, boiled eggs—whatever you want to use to personalize your recipe. The only important thing is to choose the right kind of rice, and it must be cooked al dente!

You can choose from several types of rice. The most common is called Ribe, which is used for most parboiled rice dishes because it can hold together without being overcooked. You could also choose Arborio rice (fairly large and resistant grains) or the robust Baldo. Avoid Carnaroli and keep it for risotto instead.

This dish can be prepared in advance and can be kept for up to two or three days in the fridge. It is perfect for a picnic or to feed many guests during a barbecue party. It also makes a perfect light lunch at work or for a trip to the beach.

Insalata di Riso

Serves 4 people

2 cups raw rice

2–3 German-style wieners, thinly sliced (and/or cooked ham, cubed)

100 g Swiss cheese, cut into small cubes

Mixed pickled vegetables

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Optional additions:

Fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar



Chopped parsley or other herbs

Bring the water and rice to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender but still firm to the bite—about 14 minutes. Drain excess water; let cool, 10 to 15 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, slice the meat and cut up the cheese along with the various veggies and other condiments of your choice.