Insalata di Riso Recipe -- Italian Rice Salad -- Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly, Frugal and Adaptable

My friend Juli of Pandemonium Noshery and I have been bonding over our love of international frugal cooking (among other things) for a few years already, and I've shared a few of her recipes here already. She inspires me in the kitchen. Since I've been feeling overwhelmed a bit (ok a lot) lately I asked Juli if she had another recipe she wanted to share with you, and she had this delicious looking one. I can't wait to try it out.

Hey! It’s Juli again and I am so happy to be here. I wanted to share something we have been eating all summer long. Interestingly, I first heard about the dish in a local cooking group Penny added me to years ago, so it seems only fitting that she is letting me share it with you all.

So what is Insalata di Riso? Well, it translates to pretty much what it looks like, Rice Salad. It’s an Italian Dish that is eaten through the summer for a light meal. But I’ve discovered it’s great all year round, especially when you want something delicious and easy to make. It’s also great as a leftover makeover and a fridge cleaner. I love using this recipe as a way to use up leftover rice that I might not have enough of for a whole meal on its own, or I want to elevate it, or both.

As I mentioned it’s great for cleaning out the fridge too. Most of the individual items you only need a little of and not any one of them is going to make or break. It’s the variety of pickled items and fresh veggies that are the heart of this dish. Sometimes I swap around the tomatoes, have a handful of cherry tomatoes? Throw them in! Leftover chopped salami? That too! Really, it’s ideal for after a party when you have leftover charcuterie. I have a local charcuterie business so I have these items on hand, when I get low or want to use stuff up, or have a party, I chop up all the extra tidbits on hand and have a whole new meal. Any type of olives work, anything extra you have pickled on your board can be thrown in. Use it all! 

If you don't have pickled artichokes that is fine; if you have frozen artichoke hearts you can try cubing them and tossing them in.

Vinegar is anything you have on hand and like, I use a very not Italian vinegar and opt for German 13 herb vinegar. The extra flavors in there really go so well with it all. However, if I don’t have it on hand I can say from experience that white vinegar and apple cider vinegar both work.

Insalata di Riso Recipe -- Italian Rice Salad -- Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly, Frugal and Adaptable

2-3 cups freshly cooked or leftover rice (see below)
2/4 cup sliced olives, any variety
4 green onions
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 small tomato, chopped
1 carrot, minced
1/4 cup peas, frozen
1 (14 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained (optional but recommended; can be replaced with chopped frozen artichoke)
2-3 tablespoons cornichon or pickles, chopped
1 long pepper, sliced, or other non spicy pepper, diced
1 handful parsley, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vinegar
1-2 cloves garlic, grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash black pepper
Optional extras
Grated or minced hard cheese
Hard-boiled eggs
Diced, cured, meats
Flaked Tuna


1. Cover the carrots with water and microwave for 1 minute or simmer until slightly tender but not totally soft.

2. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper.

3. Add all of the vegetables to the dressing and toss to coat.

4. Cook rice and let it cool down so that it's not hot, or use leftover rice and microwave it with a bit of water to steam it and then let it cool down again. You can also use leftover cold rice, but its better if you do this first.

5. Add the rice and toss again, making sure that the vegetables we evenly distributed.

6. Add any extras you want to incorporate after the rice and vegetables are well-mixed.

7. Serve immediately.


Have you ever made something like this before? What do you put in yours? Does this look like a recipe you'd try?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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