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

A fantastic dish that requires little or no time to assemble.

One of the many ways you can use your chicken, rice, and leftovers is by making this dish economical and pure bliss during busy school nights.

As it contains protein and starch, a nice green salad or roasted vegetables will suffice to have a healthy meal during the week.

Rice Salad With Chicken



Yes, you read correctly. I do, too, sometimes have leftovers. I do not talk about much because there is never much to re-create a new meal. But this is different.

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 for 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 for refrigeration. No mayonnaise thus no risk of turning on you. That is one of my favorite attributes of this salad.

Rice Salad With Chicken

And you can add

  • Let your imagination go. Add chickpeas or cooked peas if you want to keep it completely vegetarian.
  • I also enjoyed it with tuna. Gives a spin with protein.
  • Chopped green olives give it a fresh taste with fresh summer herbs such as mint and oregano.
  • Use 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 find mild, my favorite, as well as hot. Readily available at your local grocery store.

What do you use giardiniera for?

A very versatile condiment that can be enjoyed in so many ways. Bruschetta, burgers, pasta salad, potato salad or insalata Russa , eggs, sandwiches, and more.

Rice Salad With Chicken

What type of rice shall I use?

The rice you use with this salad is important. You want rice that maintains its shape when cooked. You want to taste all the rice as you were eating pasta.

And an additional attribute to the rice is that it must work well with dressing, meaning absorbing it.

I do also cook my rice the same way I will cook pasta. A large pot of salted boiling water, adding a handful of rice for each person I want to make the dish for. Drain when done. It must still have a gentle bite to it.

I am a big fan of Uncle Ben’s long grain. It cooks well and preserves its shape.

Basmati and jasmine rice are also great alternatives.

Short on time? Pre-cooked rice works well too. Just follow the packaging instructions and then proceed with my recipe.

However, I will not suggest using Arborio, Carnaroli, or sticky rice. You will not get the same result ending up in frustration.

A couple of suggestions:

Omitting the chicken with this dish will allow one to enjoy it with grilled salmon or chicken.

Or go the vegetarian route by having grilled vegetables alongside.

If you enjoy this dish, check out these flavorful recipes:

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


Equipment and ingredients needed to make this recipe

Rice salad with Chicken - Summer classic

5 from 10 votes
Rice Salad With Chicken
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Rice salad with chicken is one of the easiest and most delicious simple salads. Cooked rice with pickled Italian giardiniera gives this dish a fantastic twist


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


  • In a large pot with salted water cook the rice until still has a light bite when tasted.
  • Place in a small bowl the Giardiniera vegetables cut in small pieces.
  • Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and mix. Let it set for 10 minutes.
  • 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.
  • Chill before serving if time permitting.


Calories: 577kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 175mg | Potassium: 106mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 0.9mg

Giangi's Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.

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Originally published on July 17, 2012, updated on August 11, 2022

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