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Riso Freddo: Cold Italian Rice Salad

Riso Freddo: Cold Italian Rice Salad

Italian Riso Freddo Recipe

Italian Riso Freddo is a refreshing and versatile cold rice salad – perfect for summer gatherings or as a light meal.

Italian cuisine of course has many classics that are famous around the world. But the country has many more traditions that are fairly unknown to the masses, mainly because they typically are home-cooked dishes that aren’t found on restaurant menus.

Case in point – Riso Freddo. This traditional rice salad 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 lunch at home.

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 separated when cooked.

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Since Riso Freddo is so popular in Italy, there are many brands that make specific condiments for it: jars of mixed cocktail vegetables called “Condiriso”. But even if you don’t have access to them, Riso Freddo is really easy to make, and with this recipe you can be assured you’ll creat a delicious summery dish that any Italian would be proud of.

Italian Riso Freddo Recipe


How to Make Riso Freddo: Cold Italian Rice Salad


Cooking the Rice

  1. Boil the Rice:
    • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the type of rice. It should be tender but not mushy.
  2. Cool the Rice:
    • Strain the rice and rinse it under cold water to cool it down quickly. This also stops the cooking process. Transfer the cooled rice to a large bowl.
  3. Add Saffron (Optional):
    • If using saffron, mix it into the rice at this point to infuse the rice with its distinctive flavor and color.

Preparing the Seasoning

  1. Prepare the Vegetables:
    • In a large bowl, combine the mixed pickled vegetables, green peas or corn, halved cherry tomatoes, capers, chopped black olives, and finely chopped celery (if using).
  2. Add Tuna and Herbs:
    • Drain the canned tuna and add it to the bowl. Then add the finely chopped basil and pistachios.
  3. Season the Mixture:
    • Season the mixture with Himalayan salt and black pepper to taste. Add extra virgin olive oil and mix well to combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Combining the Rice and Seasoning

  1. Combine Ingredients:
    • Pour the seasoned vegetable and tuna mixture over the cooled rice. Mix everything thoroughly to ensure the rice is evenly coated with the seasoning.
  2. Serve:
    • You can serve the riso freddo immediately if you prefer it slightly warm. Alternatively, let it cool completely in the refrigerator for at least an hour and serve it cold.

Recipe Notes

  • Rice Choice: Parboiled long-grain rice works well for this recipe as it stays firm after cooking and cooling.
  • Vegetable Variations: Feel free to substitute or add other vegetables like bell peppers or cucumbers.
  • Herbs: Fresh herbs like parsley or dill can be added for extra flavor.
  • Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Print
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Italian Riso Freddo Recipe

Riso Freddo: Cold Italian Rice Salad


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.8 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Ambra Torelli
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

Italian Riso Freddo is a refreshing and versatile cold rice salad – perfect for summer gatherings or as a light meal.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 1/4 cups parboiled rice (250 g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron (optional)
  • 120 g mixed pickled vegetables (4.2 oz) (onions, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, red peppers)
  • 1/2 can green peas or 1/2 can corn (200 g / 7 oz)
  • 1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved (about 150 g / 5.3 oz)
  • 4 tablespoons capers (60 ml)
  • 4 tablespoons black olives, chopped (60 ml)
  • 300 g wild tuna in olive oil, canned (10.6 oz)
  • 1/2 stalk celery, finely chopped (optional) (about 50 g / 1.8 oz)
  • 1 handful basil, finely chopped (about 20 g / 0.7 oz)
  • 4 tablespoons pistachios (60 ml)
  • Himalayan salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil (about 3 tablespoons / 45 ml)

Instructions

Cooking the Rice

  1. Boil the Rice:
    • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the rice and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the type of rice. It should be tender but not mushy.
  2. Cool the Rice:
    • Strain the rice and rinse it under cold water to cool it down quickly. This also stops the cooking process. Transfer the cooled rice to a large bowl.
  3. Add Saffron (Optional):
    • If using saffron, mix it into the rice at this point to infuse the rice with its distinctive flavor and color.

Preparing the Seasoning

  1. Prepare the Vegetables:
    • In a large bowl, combine the mixed pickled vegetables, green peas or corn, halved cherry tomatoes, capers, chopped black olives, and finely chopped celery (if using).
  2. Add Tuna and Herbs:
    • Drain the canned tuna and add it to the bowl. Then add the finely chopped basil and pistachios.
  3. Season the Mixture:
    • Season the mixture with Himalayan salt and black pepper to taste. Add extra virgin olive oil and mix well to combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Combining the Rice and Seasoning

  1. Combine Ingredients:
    • Pour the seasoned vegetable and tuna mixture over the cooled rice. Mix everything thoroughly to ensure the rice is evenly coated with the seasoning.
  2. Serve:
    • You can serve the riso freddo immediately if you prefer it slightly warm. Alternatively, let it cool completely in the refrigerator for at least an hour and serve it cold.

Notes

  • Vegetable Variations: Feel free to substitute or add other vegetables like bell peppers or cucumbers.
  • Herbs: Fresh herbs like parsley or dill can be added for extra flavor.
  • Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Italian

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 320
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 580mg
  • Fat: 14g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 12g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 32g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 16g
  • Cholesterol: 25mg
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