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“Riso Freddo” {Italian Rice Salad}

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“Riso Freddo” {Italian Rice Salad}

Italian food has many classics that are worldly renown, and many more traditions that are instead unknown to the masses, mainly because they are mostly home cooked dishes that one would never find in a restaurant.

Riso Freddo

Let’s take “Riso Freddo” (Italian Rice Salad) for example. This typical Italian dish, that’s naturally gluten free, is a must for every Italian in the period between June and September. It’s probably the most eaten food at the beach, during picnics, and even as a quick but delicious lunch at home.

Italian Rice Salad

Especially when there are a lot of people at the table (and you know Italians love that stuff…), a yummy Rice Salad is always the best bet to feed them something delicious without worrying too much about it getting overcooked, mushy or cold.

riso freddo Italian Rice Salad

The varietal of rice I like to use for this salad, “parboiled”, has been partially boiled in the husk.This process alters the nature of the starch, and it makes the graininess sticky and more separate when cooked. Also, because this rice salad is supposed to be eaten cold, you can store in the fridge for up to 3 days and enjoy it when you want a fun snack!

Italian summer Salad

Since in Italy Riso  Freddo is so popular, we have many brands that provide seasoning for it: jars of mixed cocktail vegetables called “Condiriso”. Even if you don’t have access to them, this Italian rice salad is really easy to make and with this quick and easy recipe you can stay assured you’ll put on the table a delicious summery dish that any Italian would be proud of!

“Riso Freddo” {Italian Rice Salad}

riso freddo Italian Rice Salad





No. of


  • 250 gr Parboiled Rice
  • ¼ Tsp Saffron (optional)
  • 120 gr
mixed pickled Vegetables (onions, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, red peppers)
  • ½ can of Green Peas or ½ can of Corn
  • 1 handful Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tbsp Capers
  • 4 tbsp Black Olives, chopped
  • 300 gr Wild Tuna in Olive Oil (canned)
  • ½ stalk of Celery, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 handful of Basil, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp Pistachios
  • Himalayan Salt, to taste
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. Cook the rice in boiling water (it should take about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the kind of rice you use), strain it and pass it under cold water in order to cool it and transfer it in a bowl. If you do want to add the saffron, mix it in at this point.
  2. In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients for the seasoning. Stir well and pour the rice over it, mixing thoroughly.
  3. Done! You can either enjoy this dish right away (when still lukewarm) or let it cool down completely and serve it cold.

As you can imagine, there are a million ways to prepare Riso Freddo and every Italian family makes their own Rice Saladin their own personal way.

Experiment with the ingredients and find out your favorite combinations too! I can’t wait to see what you come up with and I am excited to hear your feedback on this recipe! Did you know it was one of the most popular Italian summer dishes?!

Un bacio!!


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Ambra Torelli
Born and raised in Italy, Ambra visited over 20 countries and now she divides her time in between Italy and the US, where her husband is from and where she moved in 2011 work as university professor of Italian Literature. She writes about food, travel and things that inspire her! more about ambra

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1 Comment

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    Bethany December 14, 2016 5:49 pm

    This looks really good!

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