Italian Rice and Antipasto Salad is a delightful salad that is hearty enough for a main course, or serve as a side salad with grilled foods you are making for Labor Day. Easy and quick to make, this is one meal you will have on repeat all year long!
Another name for this salad could be Kitchen Sink Rice! When you’ve got lots of vegetables in your refrigerator that need to be used, I look to this kind of recipe. You can add whatever ingredients that your family likes, from cold cuts to left over meats, from cauliflower to green beans and olives to artichoke hearts.
Because The Artist and I love Italian foods, we tend to have cured meats and cheeses on hand. You can have this made and on the table in about 30 minutes or less if you have leftover rice to use! This is also a perfect foil for whole grain products like brown and wild rice, quinoa, bulgur, or farro (bulgur and farro are not gluten-free.
I love the juxtaposition between the tender grains and the boldly flavored meats. They are like delicious nuggets discovered with great pleasure.
If you want a vegetarian side dish or entree, leave out the meats and use water or vegetable stock for the liquid. Increase the vegetables and sauté them for a few minutes to soften slightly. This can be the perfect side dish for grilled or roasted meats and poultry.
If you aren’t into chopping vegetables, stop by your salad bar at the grocery store – it will have lots of vegetables you can use in the salad.
If you are serving this alongside grilled meats this weekend, you can cut back on the amount of meat in the salad if you want or leave them out entirely. This recipe is very flexible and can be altered to suit your tastes and what you have in your refrigerator and pantry.
The recipe for the vinaigrette dressing is very adaptable and wonderful with mixed greens and other salads too. You can double or triple it and keep it on hand for future meals.
Have you ever wondered about the difference between regular Eureka lemons and Meyer lemons? The flavor is similar but the Meyers are slightly sweeter and less astringent. They are mostly interchangeable in recipes, but you may be able to reduce the sugar slightly if you are using Meyers.
Today’s Italian Rice and Antipasto Salad is a treat all year long and one that I can eat over and over again. It would be perfect to go alongside your grilling this holiday weekend. I hope you give it a try and feel the same!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Did you enjoy this recipe? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing from you!
Ingredients needed for Italian Rice and Antipasto Salad:
- Rice: olive oil, shallots, long grain white or brown rice, salt
- Boiling water, chicken stock, or vegetable stock
- Dressing: olive oil, fresh lemon juice, parsley, oregano
- Salad: ham, salami, mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese
- Pepperoncini, roasted red bell pepper, tomatoes, red onion
- Fresh basil, green onions (optional), grated Parmesan cheese
How to Make the Recipe Vegetarian:
Use water or vegetable stock to cook the rice. Leave out the meats and increase the amount of cheese. You can also add beans, mushrooms or additional vegetables to bulk up the salad and make it satisfying for all the vegetarians at your table. Leave out the cheese to make this vegan.
When cooking rice, it is easy for it to turn out mushy and sticky. To avoid this don’t overcook the rice and let it sit at least 10 minutes after you take it off the heat to rest. Then, using two forks and NOT a spoon, fluff the rice grains to separate them. Once rinsed and drained, pour it out on a baking sheet to make it easier to rake with forks.
How to make Italian Rice and Antipasto Salad:
- Sauté the rice in hot oil in a large saucepan and cook about 2 minutes; add stock or water to cover and cook according to package directions; rinse with cold water and drain in a colander, pour onto a baking sheet, set aside to cool and toss grains with two forks occasionally to avoid clumping
- Whisk the oil, lemon juice, parsley, and oregano in a bowl until well blended; add salt and pepper to taste and add a pinch of sugar if needed, then set aside
- Once the rice is cooled, combine it with the meats, cheese, pepperoncini, bell pepper, tomatoes, onions, and half the basil in a large bowl; pour the dressing over the top and toss to thoroughly combine, then sprinkle with some of the Parmesan
- Chill the salad, covered, until needed, bring out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving; serve cold or at room temperature, garnishing with basil and green onions, while passing additional Parmesan at the table
There are lots of ingredients to chop, slice, and mince to practice your knife skills. When I am chopping herbs or garlic, I usually hold the tip of the knife down with the palm of one hand while I move the knife in an arc with the other hand. Stop occasionally to gather your ingredients back into a pile, and then continue chopping. If you aren’t into chopping, stop by your salad bar at the grocery store – it will have lots of vegetables you can use in the salad.
Instead of whisking the dressing, I like to put all the ingredients into a clean jar with a tight lid and shake vigorously until blended and emulsified. Then you already have any leftovers in a container that will hold in the refrigerator. This is a great all-purpose dressing, feel free to double it if you want to use it for future salads.
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Make certain that the ham and salami you use are gluten-free. They can contain gluten ingredients so you have to be careful. Likewise, if you are using chicken or vegetable stock, watch to be sure they are gluten-free too.
All recommended ingredients are gluten-free as of the writing of this article. Always check to be sure the recipe hasn’t changed and is no longer safe.
- 2 tbsp (25g) olive oil
- 2 shallots, peeled and minced
- 1/4 cup minced red bell peppers
- 1 cup (100g) long grain white or brown rice (*see note below)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1-1/2 cups water, low sodium chicken or vegetable stock (gluten-free)
- 3 tbsp (38g) olive oil
- 1 tbsp (14g) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 lb (340g) thick-sliced cooked ham, diced (gluten-free)
- 1/4 lb (340g) salami, sliced thickly, then halved or cubed (gluten-free)
- 1/4 lb (340g) fresh mozzarella, bocconcini, or Monterey Jack, diced
- 2 to 3 pepperoncini, seeded and diced, optional
- 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 3 plum tomatoes, sliced thinly
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- Fresh basil leaves, julienned, plus more for garnishing
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Minced chives, green onions, or parsley, optional for garnish
- Cook the Rice: In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallots and the red bell peppers. Add the rice and stir to coat all grains with the oil. Cook about 2 minutes or until the rice becomes slightly translucent. Add water or stock. Stir in the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to low and cover with a lid. Cook according to package directions, until it is just cooked. (Mine took 15 minutes on low, then 10 minutes off the heat with the cover still on.)
- *Note: Brown rice will take considerably longer to cook than white rice. Be sure to leave enough time if you decide that is the type you want to use.
- Pour onto a baking sheet. Cool completely, tossing with two forks occasionally to break up grains.
- Make the Dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add a pinch of sugar if needed. Set aside. If you prefer you can make this in a jar with a tight-fitting lid, just shake briskly to blend and emulsify the dressing.
- Assemble the Salad: Once the rice has cooled, combine it with the meats, cheese, pepperoncini, bell pepper, tomatoes, onions, and half the basil in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the top, and toss to thoroughly combine. Sprinkle with some of the Parmesan.
- Chill the salad, covered, in the refrigerator. Bring out and set out on the counter about 30 minutes before serving to take some of the chill off of it. Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with additional basil and green onions if desired and pass additional Parmesan at the table. Serve at room temperature.
Recipe found at www.theheritagecook.com
Make certain that the ham and salami you use are gluten-free. They can contain gluten ingredients so you have to be careful. Likewise, if you are using chicken or vegetable stock, watch to be sure they are gluten-free too. Be sure to use low sodium stocks or your rice may be too salty.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 202Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 968mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 7g
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is calculated by online tools and is merely an estimate.
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