Rice Salad (Insalata di Riso)

Finished rice salad - with herbs, lemon juice, canned tuna in olive oil, chickpeas, etc.

Insalata di Riso or rice salad has always been a popular dish in Italy and, unlike it’s cousin risotto, is easy to prepare, flexible in terms of ingredients, and stores well for days.  Most Italians prepare rice salads during the summer months, but I like to make it throughout the year.  Our rice salads are a reflection of what’s available in our pantry and fridge and are often accompanied by freshly sliced tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil and few pieces of salumi, including Parma ham or high quality cacciatore.


  • 1/2 cup of rice (no need to use superfine arborio, carnaroli or vialone nano rice; standard “Carolina” rice is fine and you can certainly use any variant of brown rice, if you prefer it)
  • 1 medium sized red onion or 4-5 pieces of scallion – finely minced
  • Handful of good Italian olives; remove the pits and chop finely
  • 1 can of Italian tuna packed in olive oil
  • 2-3 pieces of Italian anchovies, roughly diced
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 radishes, finely diced
  • 1 bunch of parsley, finely diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup of chickpeas
The raw ingredients for rice salad - lemon juice, olives, parsley, chickpeas, good canned Italian tuna in olive oil, etc.


The process is straightforward: combine the above ingredients in a large bowl and mix very well.  Taste the mixture and adjust for seasoning.  The ingredients list is very flexible so please feel free to substitute appropriate ingredients (including various cheeses, beans, canned fish, finely diced sun dried tomatoes cured in olive oil, etc.).


  1. Looks fantastic Vincent! Only thing is the ingredients list; it seems darn long! If only I wasn’t so lazy. By the way Vincent, last night I had fusilli alla genovese and it was one of the best Italian dishes I have ever had! It was pasta al ferretto, white wine, caramelised onions and braised baby veal with an al dente bite to it. 

    You should do a write up of something similar because it was a dish I’d definitely get off the couch to cook!

    • Hi

      You can certainly omit some of the ingredients, one of the nice things about the salad is all of the flavors created by the many ingredients. Rice, by itself, is pretty bland so I find with this particular dish the more ingredients the better it turns out!

      I’ve never had fusilli alla genovese but I’ll give it a try!

  2. I made this for my wife for her birthday (without the sardines/anchovies) along with some bbq chicken and green salad.  She loved it!  

  3. Argh so many good and tasty recipes, it’s to hard to choose.

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