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
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.