How to make a great Italian Rice Salad (a travel worthy dish)
Rather than giving a super-specific recipe, this time I am going to give you a method and hopefully help you create your own flexible rice salad that fits what you have on hand and what you like.
  • Grain base: Cooked and chilled white or brown rice, or quinoa (or, for a heavier grain, but which isn’t gluten-free, barley, or even cooked wheat berries)
  • Vegetables ideas: Grape tomatoes, baby greens (I especially love really flavorful greens in grain salads, such as arugula, or endive), roasted or sautéed broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, onions, garlic. shredded raw carrots, peeled and seeded cucumbers, diced raw or roasted bell peppers, or whatever else catches your fancy.
  • Protein: Milder cheese, such as cheddar or feta. Beans such as chickpeas, white beans, or lentils. Leftover shredded pork or chicken, diced ham, bacon bits, salami, or other Italian cured meats. Leftover seafood, cut into small pieces, or canned tuna or salmon. Hard boiled eggs, peeled and diced.
  • Salad dressing: I prefer a really light salad dressing, such as our “Everyday Salad Dressing” from Fresh: Nourishing Salads from All Seasons. I have also enjoyed a red wine vinegar vinaigrette. While balsamic vinaigrette is a personal and family favorite, we generally don’t use it for grain salads simply because it can overpower the dish too much. Think fruity, refreshing vinegars, rather than deep or super sweet dressings.
  • Herbs: generous amount of fresh basil and/or Italian parsley, small amounts of thyme and oregano, or favorite herb of choice.
  1. Mix together desired ingredients up to 12 hours beforehand, and bring a little extra dressing, if needed, as rice tends to absorb the dressing.
Recipe by The Nourishing Gourmet at