Enjoy this recipe for a traditional Italian rice dish, known as riso freddo.
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.
Let’s take “Riso Freddo” for example. This typical Italian Rice Salad, 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.
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.
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!
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!
- 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
- 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.
- In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients for the seasoning. Stir well and pour the rice over it, mixing thoroughly.
- 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?!
Born and raised in Italy, Ambra is a healthy recipe developer, food and travel writer with a passion for healthy living and wellness. She is the founder of 'Little Bites of Beauty" and the author of the cookbooks "Healthy Italian Desserts Made Simple" and "The AIP Italian Cookbook". She shares her daily food & travel adventures on her Instagram @LittleBitesofBeauty