Italian Rice Salad

One of my favorite things about being in Italy is spending time with husband's family out on their boat off the coast of Tuscany.  We all pile on to Il Piccino, head out to a beautiful bay, anchor, go for a swim in the Mediterranean and then gather around the table for a feast of delicious salads and snacks.  The sun, the salty air beautiful surroundings will make just about anything taste delicious, but I think you'll agree that this salad is pretty tasty no matter where you are enjoying it.  


INGREDIENTS:

  • Small box organic wild rice
  • Fresh, organic Mozzarella cheese (ideally in small balls)
  • Organic, non-GMO corn
  • Pepperoncini peppers
  • Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes
  • Pitted, Castelvetrano Olives (sub green or kalamata if you can't find Castelvetrano)
  • 2-3 jars of Tonnino tuna fillets in olive oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper 


INSTRUCTIONS:
Follow the instructions on the rice package and cook the rice.  This can take up to an hour and a half depending on the type of wild rice, so plan ahead.  Pro tip: Be sure to salt the water when cooking rice just like you would when making pasta.  Adding a fistful of salt to the pot will infuse flavor into each grain.  While the rice is cooking, cut your tomatoes in half, slice the olives and pepperoncini peppers.  Drain the tuna and mozzarella.  In a separate bowl break apart the tuna fillets into smaller chunks.

When the rice is finished cooking, strain it and allow it to cool.  Once room temperature, combine with all of your ingredients in a very large mixing bowl.  Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste (I like a very generous coating of Olive Oil).  Serve on a beautiful platter or plate individually.  Serves approximately 6ppl.

WHY I LOVE THIS:
As you can see, this salad is easy to make.  It's packed with Italian flavors and saves well in the fridge, making it a great option for packed lunches at work or for school kids.  You can also add arugula for more greens and nutrients.  Simply toss it in.  Aside from being tasty, it's packed with fiber, protein and vegetable phytochemicals to keep you satisfied and fueled with the energy you need to power through your day.