Our delicious, healthy, Italian Style Rice Salad Recipe is so easy to make. Chopped salad with perfectly cooked cold long grain rice mixed with homemade olive oil, lemon, herb and garlic dressing.
This authentic mediterranean recipe is great served as a main for vegetarians and vegans or as a simple side salad in the spring. Also, it is a fantastic BBQ or Party cold-sharing dish in the Summer.
See our step-by-step slide show on how we make our rice salad.
Use the below button to jump straight to the recipe card, or continue reading for more tips.Jump to Recipe
How to make rice suitable for a salad?
To make rice suitable for a salad, the key is to cook the rice grains in a way that keeps them separated so they don't all stick together once cooked.
The correct ratio for making rice suitable for a salad is 1 cup rice to 1 ¼ cup cold water.
It does not matter if you do not own American measurement cups.
You can use a teacup, wine glass or mug, as long as you use the above measurement of 1 rice to 1 ¼ cold water.
Rinse the rice first until the water runs clear to remove starch.
Put the drained rice and the correct amount of water into a pan and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, place the lid on and set the time for 8 minutes. Do not lift the lid. The rice will cook perfectly during this time and will not need stirring!
After 8 minutes, turn the heat off and leave the lid on for 2 minutes. Finally, use a fork to fluff up the grains.
Transfer cooked rice into a bowl and place it in the fridge to help it cool down quicker while you prepare the rest of your salad!
What type of rice can be used in a salad?
We tend to use long-grain rice, but basmati rice will work for this recipe too.
Alternatively, use brown rice or wild rice, but you will need to adjust the measurements and cooking times.
How to make a homemade Italian style rice salad dressing?
Italian salad dressings are so simple and easy to make; all you need is to mix the following ingredients!
We use a small clip top jar for quick and easy mixing; seal the lid and shake!
- 5 tbsp Olive oil
- ½ a lemon juice
- 1 tbsp of Italian Seasoning/ Dried Herbs (ours contained a mix of Oregano, Thyme, Basil, Parsley, Sage, Red Pepper Flakes.)
- 2 tsp garlic puree or four cloves minced
Now it's time to get busy chopping all your salad bits!
What to put into an Italian Salad?
We used sun-dried tomatoes, orange pepper, cucumber, red onion, plum tomatoes, sweetcorn, green and black olives, pine nuts, fresh basil & parsley.
But you can use whatever you like best, or whatever is in your fridge!?
It looks great served up for a BBQ like this for everyone to choose a scoop of whatever they like to add.
Or mix the cooked rice, salad and olive oil dressing together, and you are ready to serve!
Such a great-looking salad! Top with some extra fresh herbs.
Serving Suggestions for Rice Salad
Stick with the Italian theme, fry up some chopped pancetta with the oil from the sundried tomatoes, and mix in the final step!
We also sometimes add tuna to make it into a tasty main course, or for a more substantial meal, try serving with a whole cooked sea bream.
📖 Step by Step Recipe
Italian Style Rice Salad
- 200 grams Long Grain Rice (1 cup) (uncooked) makes 600 grams (3 cups) once cooked Can use basmati rice instead
- 310 mls Cold water ( 1 ¼ cup)
Italian Dressing Ingredients (make your own or buy shop brought one)
- 5 tablespoon Olive oil
- ½ Lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning/ Dried Herbs mix of Oregano, Thyme, Basil, Parsley, Sage, Red Pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoon Garlic puree or 4 cloves minced
Italian Salad (this is what we used but get creative and use what you like/have!)
- 8 Sundried Tomatoes Chopped
- 1 Orange Pepper Diced
- ½ Cucumber Diced
- 1 Red Onion Diced
- 100 gram Cherry or Plum Tomatoes (¾ cup) quartered
- 100 g Sweetcorn (¾ cup) we used tinned
- 60 g Green or/and Black Olives (½ cup)
- 4 tablespoon Pine Nuts
- 3 tablespoon Fresh Basil chopped
- 2 tablespoon Fresh Parsley chopped
- 130 gram Cooked Diced Pancetta fry in the Oil from sundried tomato jar
- 1 tin Tuna drained
- 200 g Mozzarella Balls or chopped
- Cook 200 grams Long Grain Rice (1 cup) (uncooked) in 310 mls Cold water ( 1 ¼ cup) beforehand. Giving it time for it to cool off. Follow the instructions in the notes below to make sure you cook the rice correctly. If adding 130 gram Cooked Diced Pancetta, cook that off in the sundried tomato oil and allow time to cool.
- Make the dressing by mixing all the Italian Dressing ingredients 5 tablespoon Olive oil, ½ Lemon , 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning/ Dried Herbs, 2 teaspoon Garlic puree.
- Put cooked rice in a mixing bowl and add all the chopped Italian Salad ingredients. We used 8 Sundried Tomatoes, 1 Orange Pepper, ½ Cucumber, 1 Red Onion , 100 gram Cherry or Plum Tomatoes (¾ cup), 100 g Sweetcorn (¾ cup), 60 g Green or/and Black Olives (½ cup), 4 tablespoon Pine Nuts, 3 tablespoon Fresh Basil, and 2 tablespoon Fresh ParsleyPour the dressing over and mix all in together.
- Serve up in a large bowl or large plate with more fresh herbs.
How to cook rice for salad recipe?We want to make sure that the rice grains stay separate and doesn't stick together once cooked. Correct ratio for making rice suitable for a salad is 1 cup rice ( 200g) : 1 ¼ cup (310 ml) cold water. It does not matter if you do not own American measurement cups you can use a teacup, wine glass or mug as long as you use the above measurement of 1 rice to 1 ¼ cold water. We used long grain rice but basmati rice will be the same!
- Rinse the rice first until water runs clear to remove starch.
- Put the drained rice and the correct amount of water into a pan, bring to the boil.
- Once boiling, turn down to simmer, place the lid on and time for 8 minutes. Do not lift the lid the rice will cook perfectly in this time and will not need stirring!
- After 8 minutes turn the heat off and leave the lid on for 5-10 minutes. Finally use a fork to fluff up the grains.
- Transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge to help it cool down quicker whilst you prepare the rest of your salad!
This Italian Rice Salad Recipe has been updated on 26th November 2023, with an easier-to-follow recipe card and improvements on the blog post.
We hope you enjoy this Italian Style Rice Salad as much as we did!
Please leave us a comment below; we love to hear what you add when making these cold rice salad recipes.
If you can't find the recipe you want, let us know, and we will do our best to create it for you!