Colorful Summer-like Tuna Rice Salad

by Tatiana
tuna rice salad with sauteed veggies

The tuna rice salad is the summer dish par excellence, it is fresh, light, and full of appetizing condiments. It is a versatile dish to customize according to your taste, as long as they are colorful and tasty. You can have fun playing and always blend new combinations using different ingredients to find your perfect summer-like tuna salad. 

There are many rice salad recipes, but the thing that all the best recipes have in common is the variety and richness of the ingredients. The rice salad I will share with you today has many typical ingredients of the summer. These include the best tuna in oil, roasted peppers, pickled capers and green olives to form a combination of a truly irresistible rice salad for the summer menus. To add a note of freshness to the salad, I add plenty of fresh parsley, it is always much appreciated, especially in hot evenings. 

italian rice salad recipe with tuna

What is a Rice Salad?

Rice salad is a dish with a thousand variations, ideally served as an appetizer or as a main dish. Quick and easy to make, it can be prepared in advance and kept in the refrigerator until ready to be served. The tuna rice salad will bring joy on your table each time when served, and thanks to its captivating colors, children will also enjoy it. Follow my recipe or change it and enrich it with any other flavors according to your taste.

ingredients for tuna salad

Ingredients for Tuna Rice Salad

As the title suggests, the main ingredient of this rice salad is the rice and the tuna, canned in our case. Then I went for the ingredients I find to combine best with this fish. Therefore, I opted for pickled capers to balance the intense tuna taste, some green olives for the same reason, and fresh parsley. Then to add more flavor and color to my salad, I sauteed one onion, some carrots, and bell peppers of different colors. Seasoning for this dish includes ground black pepper, salt and plenty of olive oil to have it well coated. As you can see, the ingredients are very simple and easy to find in any grocery store at any time of the year, however, this salad is best served during the hot period of the year because it is served cold. Here is the list of the needed ingredients:

  • Rice
  • Canned tuna
  • Pickled capers
  • Green olives
  • Fresh parsley
  • Onion
  • Carrots
  • Bell peppers
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive Oil

What rice to use for the rice salad?

Just like countless other recipes, a rice salad is a very easy dish. However, it becomes a gourmet dish if the main ingredients are of excellent quality. This is especially valid for rice in this case. I strongly recommend using either Carnaroli or Arborio rice. When done, the rice is rinsed in cold water to stop the cooking process, and the result is nothing but an “al dente” rice, perfectly separated, grain by grain.

tuna salad

How to boil rice?

As a first thing, always follow the instruction on the package. As a general rule, you will need about 3 oz of raw rice to feed one person. The rice must be boiled in salted water triple the quantity of the rice. Boil the rice at low heat with the lid on. Never stir the rice while it cooks. Let is soak in the water slowly until ready. I recommend cooking the rice about 1 minute less than the recommended time as to get the “al dente” effect, this is needed so that later the rice absorbs the juices of the rest of the ingredients and become flavorful. Once cooked, drain the rice and rinse it under cold running water. This way you stop the cooking process of the rice. Now set aside, you will need it a bit later. 

how to sautee vegetables

How to sautee the veggies?

Wash the carrot and the bell peppers. Peel the onion, the carrots, and the bell peppers and cut them in thin sliced. Make sure to use a sharp knife and try to slice them all of equal size and thickness. It is time to heat a frying pan and trickle in some olive oil. When the surface is hot enough, add all the ingredients and sprinkle a pinch of salt and black ground pepper. 

If we need low heat when cooking the rice, it is the exact opposite when sauteeing the veggies. Turn on the stove at high heat and let the vegetable roast a bit, stir continuously to avoid getting them burnt. 

About 4-5 minutes will be enough to have penetrated yet crispy veggies. Set aside and let them cool. You will shortly need them to create a vivid rice salad. 

how to make tuna rice salad

How to make rice salad?

Once the rice is ready and the veggies have cooled down a bit, it is time to combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Start by pouring in the rice, then add the sauteed veggies with its liquid, transfer in the canned tuna along with the sliced olives, and the pickled capers. In the end, add the chopped parsley and season with salt, pepper, and olive oil. 

How easy and fast is that? This tuna rice salad is the perfect example of easy and fast recipes yet hearty and comforting. Also, just like I previously said, you can let free your imagination and play with the ingredients and the quantities. 

How to serve Tuna rice salad?

Serve the salad solely as a main dish because due to its rich composition of ingredients it doesn’t need any adjutants to be the perfect dinner on its own. 

How to store tuna rice salad?

You can have the salad refrigerated for a couple of days, it will only become better. The juices of the other ingredients will only blend better and the rice will get even more perfumed and aromatic. Make sure you hermetically store it. 

rice salad with tuna and vegetables

tuna rice salad with sauteed veggies

Colorful Summer-like Tuna Rice Salad

The tuna rice salad is the summer dish par excellence, it is fresh, light, and full of appetizing condiments. It is a versatile dish to customize according to your taste, as long as they are colorful and tasty. You can have fun playing and always blend new combinations using different ingredients to find your perfect summer-like tuna salad. 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 people
Calories 405 kcal


  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 cup canned tuna
  • 2 medium bell peppers red and yellow or orange
  • 2 small carrots
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3.5 oz pickled capers
  • 3.5 oz green olives sliced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 handful fresh parsley


  • Boil the rice according to package instruction
  • When cooked, rinse the rice under running cold water and set aside
  • Peel the onion, carrots and bell peppers. Slice them equally
  • Saute the veggies with olive oil for 5 minutes on high heat. Set aside to cool
  • Place the rice in a big bowl, add the sauteed veggies with its juices and mix
  • Add the capers and the sliced green olives, mix
  • Chop and add the fresh parsley
  • Season with salt, ground pepper, and olive oil
  • Mix well and let everything blend well for about 10 minutes prior to serving


Calories: 405kcalCarbohydrates: 56gProtein: 10gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 726mgPotassium: 295mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 4218IUVitamin C: 55mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 1mg
Keyword arugula salad, Avocado Tuna Salad, cold salad, italian salad, rice salad, summer salad, tuna rice salad
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