Italian Tuna and Brown Rice Salad (Riso e Tonno)

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Italian tuna and brown rice salad (Riso e Tonno) is wonderful, easy lunch using basic pantry items such as tuna, brown rice, capers and good quality chopped olives plus some frozen mixed vegetables and fresh lemon juice.

Italian tuna and brown rice salad is wonderful, easy lunch using basic pantry items such as tuna, brown rice, capers and good quality chopped olives plus some frozen mixed vegetables and fresh lemon juice.Italian Tuna Brown Rice Salad (Riso e Tonno)

You can create this easy, make-ahead, healthy salad loaded with flavor for lunch, meal prep or lunch on the go! And if you want a delicious tuna sandwich instead, try this Tuna Melt. More tuna salad recipes you may like are Chickpea Tuna Salad, Tuna Salad Wraps and Mayo-less Tuna Macaroni Salad.

Italian tuna and brown rice salad is wonderful, easy lunch using basic pantry items such as tuna, brown rice, capers and good quality chopped olives plus some frozen mixed vegetables and fresh lemon juice.

The inspiration for this recipe is a can of Rio Mare Italian Riso e Tonno someone brought back from Italy. The flavors are SO good so I set out to replicate the same exact flavor using brown rice instead.

Believe it or not, it took me a few attempts to get it JUST right. Here’s what I did – first attempt using a plain can of albacore tuna packed in water with canned black olives and all the other ingredients listed below. It was pretty dry and lacked the flavor I was trying to match. I went back to the store and picked up some canned Italian tuna packed in olive oil (I was adding oil to the salad anyway) and good quality olives. Tonno Genova was the brand of tuna I bought, it’s a little pricier than regular tuna but not by much. Each can cost me three dollars and was available in my local supermarket. It’s also available in Costco, Walmart, or buy it by the case on Amazon (affil link). Amazing the difference it makes in flavor and it wasn’t dry at all.

Tips for Brown Rice Tuna Salad:

  • I drained the tuna really well and reserved some of the olive oil to add to my salad – winner!
  • As a test, I left one refrigerated in a jar overnight to take to the beach. The next day I had it for lunch and thought it tasted even better! The flavors had a chance to meld.
  • So for those of you who are going to ask me can you use canned tuna packed in water or canned black olives – the answer is yes, but it won’t taste as good as my final recipe. Up to you!

 

Italian tuna and brown rice salad is wonderful, easy lunch using basic pantry items such as tuna, brown rice, capers and good quality chopped olives plus some frozen mixed vegetables and fresh lemon juice.
Italian tuna and brown rice salad is wonderful, easy lunch using basic pantry items such as tuna, brown rice, capers and good quality chopped olives plus some frozen mixed vegetables and fresh lemon juice.
Italian tuna and brown rice salad is wonderful, easy lunch using basic pantry items such as tuna, brown rice, capers and good quality chopped olives plus some frozen mixed vegetables and fresh lemon juice.
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4.12 from 9 votes
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Italian Tuna and Brown Rice Salad (Riso e Tonno)

232 Cals 20 Protein 21 Carbs 8 Fats
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Yield: 4 servings
COURSE: Lunch, Salad
CUISINE: Italian
Italian tuna and brown rice salad is wonderful, easy lunch using basic pantry items such as tuna, brown rice, capers and good quality chopped olives plus some frozen mixed vegetables and fresh lemon juice.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans, 4 oz each drained Italian premium yellowfin canned tuna in oil, drained
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled brown rice
  • 8 oz frozen classic  mixed vegetables, Bird's Eye cooked and cooled
  • 1/4 cup good quality sliced black olives
  • 2 tbsp drained capers, plus 1 tbsp of the brine
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil, I used from the can

Instructions

  • Drain the tuna well reserving the oil and set the oil aside.
  • In a large work bowl, combine the rice, drained tuna, vegetables, black olives, capers and bell pepper.
  • Pour 1 tablespoon of the brine from the capers into the bowl along with the juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/2 tablespoon of the oil and toss well.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup, Calories: 232kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 259mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 0.5g
WW Points Plus: 4
Keywords: brown rice salad, Italian Tuna and Brown Rice Salad, italian tuna salad, tuna and rice recipes healthy, tuna fish salad

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71 comments

  1. Maybe it’d be better with pasta? I don’t think I like cold brown rice. We ate it, but I wouldn’t make this again. I cook almost exclusively Gina’s recipes so we’ll definitely try another one tomorrow!

  2. Maybe it’d be better with pasta? I don’t think I like cold brown rice. We ate it, but I wouldn’t make this again. My whole family loves ST recipes usually.

  3. Just made this simple, clean and super delicious salad! I can already see it becoming a regular for my working mommy schedule. Absolutely yummy! Cannot wait to try it with adding some serranos or jalapeños as some of the other comments have mentioned.

  4. Just made this…followed recipe exactly except for using 10 oz mixed veggies rather than 8. Love the Mediterranean flavors and bright colors. It’s certainly a few steps up from my typical tuna salad! Yummy at room temp; can’t wait to try it cold from fridge.

  5. I’m sure this is going to be a dumb question, but, is this intended to be eaten hot or cold?

  6. I stumbled across this recipe while looking for the poke bowl post. I’m so glad I found it – I love this salad for lunches! I used the Chicken of the Sea lemon/thyme tuna infusions which probably affects the points, but I don’t mind. I also added a jalapeno and bunch of cayenne to give it a little kick.

  7. Really looking forward to making this for lunches this week because I KNOW it’ll be delicious just from the ingredients.  Still, I can’t get anywhere near the calories listed when I run it through my Lose It! app.  I know my olive calories are higher because I’m using kalamatas (in oil), but that doesn’t account for the 140 calories per serving difference. The recipe says two cans of tuna, each 4 oz drained.  Am I reading that right? I’ve got slightly larger cans of Genova Yellowfin in oil (Costco), and they’re 7 oz with a drained weight of 5.51 oz each.  That adds only 3 oz more tuna. With that I can see where I might’ve added approx. 80 cal per serving, but I still don’t know what I’m doing wrong.  Any advice? Thanks.

  8. I made this for take in-work lunches this week. I don’t like taking in green salads so I am very pleased with how much vegetable content is in this meal (I added a little more red capsicum than listed)

    I will definitely make it again, this time adding a lot more olives and capers and maybe some jalapenos as I really like the strong flavours and would like to increase them a little bit.

  9. Excellent recipe. I was looking for rice salad recipe for leftover jasmine rice. Reduced tuna, increased rice. Used a can of Trader Joe albacore tuna in oil, 1 cup of rice, 4 oz mixed veg. (I usually HATE mixed veg, find no taste, but here was great). Used Trader Joe fancy herb marinated  olives, had to pit them. Mistly black , a couple green. Used those tiny mixed color sweet  peppers. Green, red, yellow, orange. Served over iceberg lettuce torn up. Made extra dressing with more lemon juice and the tuna oil because of thd lettuce.  A little garlic pepper salt and black pepper. To die for. And this is only FIRST day! 🙂 Thsnks!!!

  10. I wanted to give this recipe some summer love.  Since I had fresh veggies on hand, I boiled a pot of water, snapped some green beans and started those cooking, then peeled and sliced carrots and added them to the pot, and finally husked an ear of corn and added it to the pot and let the whole thing go 10 min more. If you do it in that order everything is ready at once! Delicious!!

  11. Pingback: Skinny Hot + Cold Chicken Brown Rice Bowl

  12. I made this as directed but added baby spinach and kale and a little extra olive oil. Soo good!

  13. I entered this into the recipe builder on the WW site and it comes up with 6pt+ at 4 servings. Still…sounds good and I think hubby will like it!

  14. this was fantastic! wasn't expecting it to be this good, just looking for a healthy filling lunch.

  15. Loved this! I'm not fond of mixed veggies so I just used peas. Doubled the red bell pepper and added chopped, cherry tomatoes. I'll probably add scallions and switch to green olives for the next batch. The lemon juice was the perfect touch.

  16. Made this last night and had it for lunch today! So good! Thanks, Gina!

  17. Mouth watering! Headed to the grocery now to pick up ingredients….does anyone have a good substitute suggestion for the capers……which I can't stand….sorry. What about drained and rinsed black beans?

    • Olives

    • My first time with capers (had to search online to pick what kind to try) & making a salad with brown rice. Thanks to my new Zojurushi for the sprouted Basmati.
      I did follow the recipie but used 1 rice cooker cup of brown rice cooked which is more than a cup. Used the mixed veggies with asparagus too. I tried some and it was delicious…put rest up to chill.