Rice Salad

Summer is the perfect time to make rice salad, because it's delicious and very light.  I find myself enjoying it several times during the year with variations on this particular recipe; I either leave it vegetarian or I add the best canned tuna or salmon, depending on what I feel like having.  Served cold or at room temperature, this salad is a perfect no-fuss dish to have for lunch or dinner.  I always search for the freshest Jersey tomatoes from my farmer's market, along with the firmest kirby cucumbers and the sweetest of onions.  A salad will only be as tasty as its ingredients, so choose the best of the best available to you.  Steaming and cooling down the rice ahead of time is the only step which may seem a bit involved when composing this salad, but with a bit of planning, the ingredients come together very quickly.  Delicious for work lunches or when entertaining, my rice salad is also good on the days when you just don't feel like working over a hot stove.  Tasty, satisfying, bright in color & flavor, Rice Salad will hopefully become a go-to recipe for some of you.

Rice Salad with flavorful tonno.

Steamed Rice Ingredients
  • 1 cup {195 grams} long-grain rice (I use white)
  • 1  3/4 cups {410 milliliters} cold water
In a pot with a tight-fitting lid, add the rice and cold water.  Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat to low and cover with the lid.  Set your timer and steam for 18 minutes or until the rice has completely absorbed the water.  Let it sit for 10 minutes undisturbed. 

Fluff the rice with a fork, remove it from the pot and place it in a single layer on a wide platter.  Let the rice cool down completely to room temperature.

Salad Ingredients
  • 4 cups cooked rice, cooled to room temperature (entire recipe above)
  • 1 medium size tomato (about 1 cup), chopped
  • 2 kirby cucumbers or 1 seedless English cucumber (about 2 cups), diced
  • 1/2 cup finely diced Vidalia or Walla Walla onion; red onion can be substituted
  • 3 tablespoons Non-pareil capers packed in brine, drained
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) minced Italian flat-leaf parsley
Vinaigrette Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) {60 milliliters}, strained lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons {30 milliliters} extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
Optional Ingredients
  • One 6-ounce {170 grams} container, pole-caught tuna packed in olive oil, drained & flaked
  • One 6-7ounce container wild caught red salmon, drained & flaked
Rice Salad Ingredients

In a large bowl, add the cooled rice, tomato, cucumber, capers, onion & minced parsley.  Drizzle the vinaigrette ingredients over the bowl, salt & pepper to taste.  Toss everything with a silicone spatula very gently.  Add the optional tuna or salmon now & toss gently.

Yield: 6-8 servings

The rice salad is delicious served at room temperature or chilled.  The salad can be made up to 1 day in advance, held in the refrigerator well covered until serving time.  However, I strongly advise that you add the tuna or salmon right before serving for the best flavor. 

As I said, the salad can be left vegetarian if you wish to have it that way.  I don't always eat tuna or salmon, so it's good to enjoy it with just the vegetables, but every now and then it's nice to add a bit of protein to it.  When served with tuna, the rice salad can become a main course.  Serve it with some spinach salad or some crudites for a light, spa-like meal on those days when you don't want anything heavy.  I've thought of trying my salad with wheat berries or quinoa instead of regular long-grain rice, so I may do that in the future.  From my home to yours, enjoy this rice salad just as much as we do!