Pesto rice salad is a summer mediterranean dish perfect to make ahead and enjoy in one of those lazy summer days. Made with rice coated with pesto, canned tuna, cherry tomatoes and sweet corn, this salad is a perfect weeknight light meal.
Italians love rice salads. They prepare them in so many ways, from the traditional insalata di riso to some vegan options with grilled vegetables. Truth is, there are so many ways of making rice salad, and the one I am sharing with you is only one of them.
Summer is the perfect time to eat rice salads. The vegetables in season make this dish amazingly rich in mediterranean flavors. Also, this salad is perfect to bring to any gatherings or picnics because is always served at room temperature. And the vinegar really helps to prevent the raw veggies, specially tomatoes, from going bad.
How to store pesto rice salad
Put the salad in an airtight container and place it in the fridge, preferably in the coldest spot (normally at top). This salad can be made two or three days in advance. I do not recommend freezing this dish as rice won’t thaw well.
Tips for this pesto rice salad
- The most common rice to make this kind of salads here in Italy are Parboiled or Arborio, but also Jasmine or Basmati are a good option.
- Al dente means you rice grains needs to be tender outside but a little bit hard in the center. So when you let sit the rice to cool it will finish its cooking process.
- Use another kind of pesto to make this salad. For example, tomato pesto, or zucchini pesto. Either way is delicious and you won’t need heavy or creamy dressings to flavor this salad.
More summer recipes
Pesto rice salad with tuna
- 200 gr (200 g) rice for salads (read notes)
- 5 oz (140 g) canned tuna (1 can, drained)
- 1 cup (120 g) pesto
- 1 ½ cup (200 g) cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 1 ¼ cup (200 g) sweet corn (1 can, drained)
- Extra virgin olive oil (as needed)
- Vinegar (as needed)
- Basil leaves (as needed)
- Salt & pepper (to taste)
- Cook the rice al dente according to the package instructions.
- Place the rice onto a large bowl, add the pesto, salt, pepper and mix to coat evenly. Let it cool completly.
- Discard the oil in the canned tuna and add the meat to the bowl.
- Add cherry tomatoes and corn.
- Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, some vinegar (add first 1 spoon, then adjust to taste).
- Tear basil with your fingers and add to the salad. Mix everything for one minute, adjust salt and serve.
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