Everyday Italian Rice Salad


This simple, rustic salad has little golden bites of soft eggs, crunchy celery and carrots, and mild rice, coated with a basil and garlic vinaigrette. Simple but delicious!

I’ve mentioned this recipe in passing several times in on this blog and have always gotten requests for it. It’s one of my stand by dinners that is very frugal and easy to make.

The thing that is nice about Italian rice salads is that you an really use what you have on hand. You can dress them up (like my Gorgonzola, Grape, and Walnut Rice salad), or they can be quite simple.


Everyday Italian Rice Salad -6-8 servings
There are so many variations and additions to a recipe like this, so be creative if you want! Nuts, leftover meat, and/or fresh herbs are all excellent additions.

    2 cups of brown long grain rice (soaked 7 hrs before hand is preferable)
    4 carrots, washed, peeled and shredded
    4 celery, thinly sliced (pick mild ones from the heart of the celery, if possible. They are also more tender. You can use the leaves too. )
    1 cup of frozen peas
    4 eggs

    1/3 cup of vinegar (I like red wine vinegar or raw apple cider vinegar, but a combo of red wine vinegar and balsamic would also be good)
    2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
    1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
    3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
    2 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced or put through a garlic press
    1 teaspoon sea salt
    plenty of freshly ground pepper

1-Make rice according to the package’s instructions. I use 4 cups of water to 2 cups of rice. After the soaking period add a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil, cover and turn down heat to the lowest setting. Cook for about 50 minutes.

2-Meanwhile, put together the dressing. Simply pour and toss everything into a mason jar and put on a lid and shake. (or whisk it in a small bowl). Then prepare the vegetables.

3-When the rice is done, take off of the heat and remove the lid. You will want to combine the rice and dressing while the rice is still warm so that the flavor permeates it, but I don’t like to do it when the rice is too hot, otherwise it starts to cook the vegetables, which you want nice and crisp. If you don’t have time to let it cool a bit, I will sometimes dump it onto a large plate or jellyroll pan and flip the rice mixture every few minutes to let it cool faster.

4-When the rice is still warm, but not hot. Scramble your eggs. In a small saucepan, add a little olive oil and place over medium heat. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl, and pour in the pan. I like to stir my eggs with a fork as it prevents the eggs from clumping into large pieces. Cook until the eggs are still moist, but cooked through and remove from heat.

5-Put it all together! Add the rice, peas, and eggs to a large bowl. For the frozen peas, simply rinse with hot water in a sieve until they are room temperature and add to the warm rice, which will heat them slightly. Pour in about 3/4’s of your dressing and gently stir. Then stir in the carrots and celery. Taste test, you may need to add the rest of the dressing now, or some more salt and pepper. As the salad sits, it will absorb more of the dressing, so you may need to refresh it with a bit of vinegar and olive oil.

Enjoy this salad, warm, room temperature, or cold.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!


  1. says

    Mmm… sounds good. I’ll have to give it a try in the next few weeks. I’ve done something similar before, but it’s usually cheating and using a bottled Italian dressing my mother enjoys 😉

  2. debbie says

    This is absolutely perfect for our dinner tonight! I had on my meal plan a curried egg & rice dish… a concoction I was planning to pull together as I cooked. But I think I’ll just follow your recipe instead. Thank you, Kimi!

  3. says

    Hi, was just introduced to your blog by a fellow food blogger Aletta.
    Have enjoyed reading your posts (especially the recent one on soya sauce) and think we have much in common when it comes to food 🙂
    Pls drop by my blog to say hello.


    KH; Welcome to my blog! Thanks for the comment! I will be sure to check out your blog too.:-)

  4. D says

    I’m wondering why soaking rice is necessary?Is it better for your health or for easier cooking? Also, have you ever heard of drinking couple tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar a day as a way to detoxifying? I know some people who swear by this and says it helps lowers their cholesterol and help with their acid reflux.

    KH: I will reply to the soaking rice question down below. But I have heard of the raw apple cider vinegar supplement before. I think it’s one of those “if it works for you” type of things. Some people have trouble with it making their stomach hurt, but others feel that it helps them in many ways (such as with energy). It’s a cheap and easy supplement, so if it helps, great!

  5. debbie says

    I did make this last night for dinner, and after his first bite, my husband dramatically closed his eyes and announced, “This is delicious.” Thank you, Kimi!

    By the way, I, too, wondered why you recommend soaking the rice, since NT suggests that it is unnecessary. I often do, simply by default, because I like to bake my brown rice, using the auto feature of my oven. But I didn’t know if it actually had any benefits.

    KH: Great! I am so glad it turned out for you guys! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂 I will reply to the soaking rice part below. 🙂

  6. says

    Last night, on impulse, I made this with left over cooked quinoa. I just warmed the quinoa up a bit and otherwise prepared it as directed. It was great! I’m sure it would be fantastic with rice, but I had been looking for a way to use up all the quinoa I had, and this really fit the bill. My husband loved it, too.

    Thanks, Kimi! 🙂

    KH: I bet it would be delicious with quinoa! Thanks for letting us know!

  7. says

    I made this last night and have enough left over for tonight. I made it with long grain white rice and added frozen peas to the warm rice after it had cooled just a little. Thawed and cooked the peas just right! I will try this dish with a number of different dressings. I used balsamic basil vinegar as a base last night. Mac in Alabama

    KH: It’s true that you can use a variety of dressings with rice salads. It’s fun to experiment, isn’t it!

    • KimiHarris says

      D and Debbie,

      You both brought up an excellent question regarding rice and soaking. D, I recommend that you soak grains because it reduces phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that can block the absorption of important minerals. You can read a little more about it here. But it is true that rice is low phytic acid, so it won’t be as big of a deal. That’s part of why I love this dish, even if I forgot to soak something I still feel that it’s okay to make. Sally recommends that if you don’t soak it, that you cook it for a long cooking period (something like 2 hours) in chicken broth, I believe. Otherwise, she says to soak it for 7 hours. Since I don’t usually want to cook my rice for such a long period of time, I try to simply soak it before hand (though it doesn’t always happen!).

  8. says

    This looks delicious, and I love finding another make-ahead, healthy lunch possibility that is out-of-the-ordinary (or, at least, our ordinary LOL!) Thanks, Kimi. Do you think a cup of frozen corn would work as well as peas? I’m not a huge peas fan….I’ll probably try it with the corn first.

    KH: I bet corn would work!

  9. Elizabeth says

    When you soak the rice, do you use the same water to cook it in or do you drain it and add fresh water before cooking?

    KH: I’ve done both. 🙂 If I cook it in the water that I soaked it in (much easier to figure out measurements), I just use either a pinch of baking soda or lemon juice. Vinegar tastes too strong if not rinsed off (to me at least). Sometimes I will not add anything, and just let it soak an extra long time. Hope that helps. 🙂

  10. says

    Kimi, to clarify what you just wrote in response to Elizabeth, you use a pinch of baking soda or lemon juice as the acid during soaking? I’m new to soaking – I’ve only done a bread recipe, and it called for kefir or buttermilk…and I don’t have Sally’s book (yet!)

  11. says

    I just made this for dinner and it is DELISH! I figured out the soaking (used about 1T lemon juice). I am so glad I tried this, thank you for a recipe that we will have many times this summer!

  12. Julia says

    I was feeling under the weather tonight and wanted a filling salad that was appropriate for Winter and easy to make. I served it with sauteed kale and onions and my four young girls all loved it. Thanks!

  13. Elizabeth says

    Thank you!

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing!

    I subbed frozen corn for the frozen peas, and used half balsamic/half red wine vinegar.

    Thanks again,

  14. Sarah says

    I made this tonight and added in two leftover porkchops, sliced thin, then diced into small pieces. Wonderful. The leftovers from this meal will be terrific after church tomorrow.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe.


  15. Lynda says

    This sounds great. I was looking for something completely different for Christmas lunch, and THIS IS IT! Thanks a lot. Have a blessed Christ feast.

  16. says

    This looks so delicious, I’m adding it to our meal plan! We are starting to eliminate dairy and wheat in my husband’s diet to hopefully reduce his inflammation, so I knew your website would be a great resource for recipes. I’ve got your Crockpot Chicken and Quinoa going right now. 🙂 Thanks so much, Kimi!

  17. says

    I found your page a couple weeks ago, and have made this recipe a couple times already! It makes for a nice summer lunch. We all enjoy it, Thank you!


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