Insalata di riso classica

Classic rice salad   Our original home cooking

This classic rice salad is an example of how you can make a special cold rice using traditional ingredients according to Italian style: cheese, salami, vegetables in oil, olives ... The calories of rice salad are generally high reflecting the fact that the more you enrich this cold dish with ingredients the more you have high-calorie dish. So watch out! Check all the doses if you do it for your family, certainly not for an invitation;) Pairing the wine in this case is very flexible: white, red or rosé. It depends on what you serve together.

rice salad in a little bowl ready to be served
zoom »
Classic Italian rice salad

Ingredients / Serves 8

  • 400g (14 ounces) long-grain, parboiled rice
  • 150g (5 1/3 ounces) cotto ham in a piece
  • 150g(5 1/3 ounces) emmental cheese
  • 5 hard-boiled eggs
  • 60g (2.1 ounces) stoned black olives in oil
  • 1 280g (10 ounces) can white mushrooms in oil
  • 1 280g (10 ounces) can sweet and sour bell peppers
  • 1 280g (10 ounces) can assorted vegetables in oil
  • 1 400g (14 ounces) can natural peas
  • 4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Sprigs fresh chives
  • Salt
  • Time:
    preparation: 30 - 40 minutes
    cooking: 25 minutes
    total: 60 minutes
  • Difficulty:
    easy recipe
  • How many calories in a serving?
    Calories: 485 (kcal) 25 % GDA (*)- 2029 (kJ)
    Protein: 20.6 (g) 42 % GDA
    Total fat: 25.1 (g) 36 % GDA
    Total carbohydrate: 47.0 (g) 18 % GDA
    Sugars: 1.8 (g) 2 % GDA

Look at infographic of nutrition facts

Download free PDF version (83 download).
or use QRCode with your smartphone

Recipe for classic rice salad

Preparation and cooking

  • - Bring abundant salted water to a boil to cook rice.
    Remember not to salt too much!
  • - Meanwhile ...
    ... open your cans, drain their content very well and transfer all into a large bowl.
    If any vegetable is too big cut it into little pieces.
    Look at the photo for more details.
    I generally use kitchen scissors to cut vegetables in oil ;)
  • - Now take your hard-boiled eggs and shell.
    Separate every white from its yolk for 4 of them.
    Slice and put apart the fifth egg.
    Crash whites and yolks with a fork on a plate.
    Add to other ingredients in the bowl.
  • - Wash chives and pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper.
  • - Drain your rice, run under cold water to stop its cooking and drain again, very well.
    Transfer your rice in the bowl too.
    Stir with delicacy.
  • - Cube cotto ham and cheese.
    Add in the bowl.
  • - Add chives too.
    I usually cut chives with kitchen scissors.
  • - Pour in olive oil.
    Stir all your ingredients thoroughly and gently.
    Add other salt only if necessary.
  • - Garnish with egg slices.

just before serving

  • - Let all ingredients flavor before serving, at least an hour.
  • - You can prepare this rice salad many hours ahead (in the morning for the evening).
    In this case I suggest you keep it in the fridge and bring to room temperature at least an hour before serving.
    Another tip: add cheese when you remove it from the fridge.



  • - Choose your favorite varieties of rice but be sure it doesn't overcook easily.
  • - Assorted vegetables in oil are eggplants, zucchini and sun dried tomatoes according to me but feel free to choose your favorite ones. If you read other Italian rice salad recipe of mine, you can find I also use porcini mushrooms for example.
  • - You can substitute cotto ham with other salami varieties but remember to choose soft salami.
    Change cheese too, if you don't like Emmental.
  • - My personal touch for eggs. I find that adding them to the rice salad in this manner makes the dish more delicious and creamy. Let me know if you agree ;)
  • - This cold rice dish is very similar to the traditional rice salad. Only a few ingredients are different. Compare the two recipes to see which you prefer.

Menu planning

  • - You can prepare this rice salad for your family menu but you could choose it for a get-together, alfresco dinner, BBQ menus or a meal, buffet-style.
  • - The rice salad is a versatile dish which is suitable for many different interpretations. Meanwhile, you can do it practically all year because it is always a popular choice in a meal, buffet-style.
    Remember you can serve it as first course in a meal, Italian-style.
    The latest trend in Italy is serving rice salad as starter. To know more read Italian rice salad.

Useful links for this recipe

Healthy eating

  • - If you prepare this rice salad for your family be careful with its doses. Unfortunately the rice salad can become a high-calorie dish. Then it is clear that if it happens once in a while there are no consequences on your weight but if you do it often, as soon as the scale tell you how much weight you've put on ;)
    Unfortunately, your portion will not be too big not to exceed in calories and fat.
    In addition I recommend you to complete your meal only serving fresh fruit in season.
  • - Nothing to say if you prepare this rice salad for a special event. Once in a while ... don't worry about calories, fat ...
  • - Now look well at its protein and fat. I suggest to eat a veg dish in the other main meal of the day.
  • - Here are its doses per head: 50g (1 3/4 ounces) rice, 1 tablespoon of peas, 4 or 5 olives, 5 or 6 mushrooms, a medium-size piece bell pepper, two small slices of eggplant, half boiled egg (?? Better 2 or 3 quail eggs if you live alone), 2 teaspoons olive oil, chives at will. And now ham and cheese. In theory you'll need 20 grams (3/4 ounce) per each ingredients but if you are single this can be a problem. Actually I think the solution might be to prepare this rice salad for two or three days ...
  • - Only 2 grams of fiber compared to 30 grams of its daily requirement.


What's the right wine for " Classic rice salad "?

Pair a rosé or white o red wine according to the other courses of your menu.