Rice salad with Chicken

  • 35 mins total
  • 15 mins prep
  • 20 mins cook
  • serves 4 

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Rice salad with chicken is one of the easiest and quite delicious summer salads. Cooked rice with pickled Italian giardiniera gives this dish a fantastic twist.

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I love to roast chicken but when time is pressing or it is too hot to have the oven on, our local grocery store has a great roasting chicken that only needs to be taken home and cut up into desired pieces. Cooking the rice the night before saves time as well.

This recipe of rice salad has been in the family since I can remember. My grandmother as well as my mom made it frequently during the summer months in Italy. It can be served a room temperature or just out of the refrigerator.  Perfect for a quick lunch, dinner al fresco, BBQ, picnic, or potluck.

Stores well as well as can stay out with no need of refrigeration. No mayonnaise thus no risk of turning on you. That is one of my favorite attributes of this salad.

And you can add

  • Let your imagination go. If you want to keep it completely vegetarian, add some chickpeas or cooked peas.
  • I enjoyed it also with tuna. Gives a spin with protein.
  • Chopped green olives give it a fresh taste with some fresh summer herbs such as mint, oregano.
  • Use your good olive oil with this salad, you will not regret it.

What is Giardiniera

Giardiniera is an assortment of Italian vinegar-preserved vegetables. Carrots, green beans, cauliflower, celery, bell peppers, and pepperoncini. You will be able to found mild, my favorite, as well as hot.  Readily available at your local grocery store.

If you want to omit the chicken with the rice, this dish is perfect alongside grilled salmon or chicken.

Hungry for more yummy recipes?  Why not try making:

Seared Salmon with Peas, Potatoes, and Mint
Carnitas Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce and Avocado
New York Steaks with Mustard and Mushrooms Sauce


Giangi's Kitchen Signature
Nutrition Facts
Rice salad with Chicken - Summer classic
Amount Per Serving
Calories 577 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Sodium 175mg8%
Potassium 106mg3%
Carbohydrates 78g26%
Fiber 1g4%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin C 0.7mg1%
Calcium 26mg3%
Iron 0.9mg5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Rice salad with Chicken - Summer classic

  • 35 mins total
  • 15 mins prep
  • 20 mins cook
  • serves 4 


Original recipe yields 4 servings

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  • 1 whole roasted chicken
  • 2 cups Uncle Ben's rice
  • 6 to 7 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 16 ounces jar Giardiniera


  1. In a large pot with salted water cook the rice until still has a light bite when tasted.

  2. Place in a small bowl the Giardiniera vegetables cut in small pieces.

  3. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and mix. Let it set for 10 minutes.

  4. When the rice has cool down add the pieces of chicken, the Giardiniera and the olive oil. Blend well and add vinegar ½ teaspoons at a time and taste in between. It should not be overpowered by vinegar.

  5. Chill before serving if time permitting.

Recipe originally posted on July 17, 2012


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Comments (20) Post a Reply

  1. Cindy Mom the Lunch Lady says:

    This would be a fantastic low point salad for me this summer. I always have giardiniera in my fridge as I love snacking on it!

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      You too! I love giardiniera and I use it constantly but found that I eat more by itself than use it in my cooking. Glad to know I am alone.
      Bon Appetit!

  2. Colette Zaharko says:

    I am in Arizona; it is so hot here, so I need more recipes like this. I agree with you; I don’t like turning the oven on in the summer because the house gets too hot. 😂
    Hey, can I use regular rice, or does it have to be Uncle Ben rice?

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      Hi Colette! I am in Arizona too and I do have quite a few not prepared in the oven recipes on the website. Sign up for my newsletter and more are coming up this summer too.
      Yes, you can use jasmine, basmati rice. The only rice I do not recommend is Italian Arborio as it gets sticky, which is perfect for risotto but not for salads.
      I hope this helps.

  3. AISilva says:

    Thank you for this great recipe! I’ve been trying to have more salads at lunch but have found myself hungry after, but I think the rice from this dish will do the trick! My kids would love this too. Will try it soon!

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      Thank you for stopping by. Yes, this salad is fantastic for any occasion: lunch, dinner, BBQ, potluck, picnic…. you name it you can have it.
      One of my favorite just because of that.

  4. Gina Abernathy says:

    I love everything about this recipe. Looks great and would be perfect for a summertime lunch.

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      Thank you Gina! Absolutely. You and your family will love it. Easy and can be prepare the night before and stores well too.

  5. Gabriela Herrera says:

    I love the simplicity of this recipe. It easy to make, packed with flavor and so nutritious.

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      Thank you! The simpler the better during the hot summer months.

  6. Mihaela | https://theworldisanoyster.com/ says:

    Your recipes are always simple to follow and so inviting! This salad seems so light and perfect for summer – on my list for weekdays meals! Have you tried homemade giardiniera? I’m tempted:))

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      I never tried homemade giardiniera but I would love to try to make it.
      Thank you for your kind compliment.

  7. Gregory Halpen says:

    So easy and delicious! I will add this to the “things I want to make” list. I’m always looking for simple recipes with minimal ingredients and this one is perfect!

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      Thank you Gregory! Yes, this recipe is very easy and you can have fun adding protein or not.

  8. Marita says:

    Oh, this looks great. I am going to make it to our next BBQ. This is also perfect for our leftover roast chicken.

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      Absolutely! You will love how easy it is to make and even easier to enjoy it.

  9. Kalin says:

    This looks so satisfying! I’d love to try making my own Giardiniera. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      My pleasure. Thank you for stopping by.

  10. Ghanashyam K says:

    This looks so good and its so simple too! One term I didn’t know about was Giardiniera but you covered it well here. Thank you for the knowledge and the recipe!

    1. Giangi Townsend says:

      It is my pleasure, thank you for your kind words. The simplicity of this dish makes it a summer favorite.

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