Cold Rice Salad / Insalata di Riso

Serves 6 to 8

One of the dishes we had in the summertime was a cold rice salad that was filling enough to serve as the main course. There was no rhyme or reason as to what went into this dish; it just evolved as various leftovers were taken out of the refrigerator.


  • 2 cups Arborio or long-grain rice
  • 3 One1/2-ounce can tuna packed in olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dried tomatoes packed in oil, homemade or store-bought, drained and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 small sweet white or red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fennel bulb
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Fresh basil leaves


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 6 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add the rice and bring back to the boil. Cover, lower the heat to medium, and cook the rice until al dente, about 20 minutes. Drain the rice and let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the rice, tuna, dried tomatoes, red pepper, olives, onion, fennel, and chopped basil. Add salt and pepper to taste, if you wish, and mix well. Pack the mixture tightly into a 6-cup round mold or an elongated 12- by 4-inch loaf pan. Cover the mold with foil. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or overnight.
  3. Unmold the rice onto a platter and garnish with sliced fresh tomatoes and basil leaves.
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