Part of having a successful barbeque is choosing what you are going to make. When you are finally ready to cook the meat, you will want to have side dishes already prepared to save time and make things easier. This is why we love this make-ahead rice salad. You can make it up to a couple of days ahead, then just get it out of the refrigerator when you are ready to serve your barbequed food. Served chilled or at room temperature, this tasty rice salad is a great accompaniment to any kind of grilled fare, and the flavors are really good. Rice salad is a great side dish whether you are grilling chicken, fish, meat, mixed kabobs, pizza, or anything else. It is wonderfully simple to prepare too and will only take a few minutes.

Use regular white rice, microwave rice, basmati, even brown rice if you want, although white rice seems to work better with this recipe. Some people like to use another kind of grain such as pearl couscous, bulgur wheat or even macaroni. Use leftover rice if you have some, or else prepare a fresh batch. This is the first thing you should do when preparing this salad, because the rice needs to cook and then have time to cool down afterwards, before you add the rest of the ingredients to the mixture. We are keeping the dressing very simple, using extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice and a little mayonnaise which you can swap for sour cream or Italian dressing, or even leave out for a lighter finish or if the salad is going to be at room temperature for a while.

A Delicious, Balanced Salad

We are using tuna, celery, peas, corn, parsley, and more to make this salad adding not only lots of delicious texture and bite, but also plenty of appealing color. Serve this for lunch on a warm day with some grilled chicken or a steak, perhaps omitting the tuna if you prefer not to double up on the meat. It is also an economical dish to make a big batch of if you are planning to feed a crowd. Everyone will want to have a hearty spoonful of this with whatever barbequed meats they are piling on to their plates. Feel free to tweak any of the ingredients, swapping the tuna for walnut halves, adding some chopped cubes of feta cheese, switching the parsley for basil, or making any other tweaks you wish. The juicy corn and peas are wonderful with the soft rice and delicate lemon dressing, and you can stir all the ingredients into the cooled rice in a minute or two.

Throw in some seedless grapes, raisins or pineapple chunks if you want to add a touch of sweetness or a handful of shelled pistachios for a tantalizing crunch. You could also consider olives, capers, canned artichoke hearts or anything else you wish to throw in there. All kinds of ingredients suit a rice salad recipe, and you can tweak our recipe or simply use it for inspiration in making up your own make-ahead rice salad recipe. Few dishes are as easy as this one to prepare and the fact you can make it ahead of time makes it even more attractive to the home cook, freeing up your time to focus on preparing the meat, poultry or seafood you are going to cook on the barbeque and serve with the rice salad.

Easy Rice Salad with Lemon Dressing
Summary: Rice combines with tuna, corn, peas, parsley, lemon, extra-virgin olive oil and more, to make a delicious side dish everyone will want to enjoy at your next buffet or barbeque.
Cuisine: American
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 6
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 cup raw white rice
  • Water, as needed
  • Juice from a lemon
  • 2 chopped celery stalks
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons cooked corn kernels
  • 3 tablespoons cooked peas
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ½ pint quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 7 oz canned tuna, drained
  • ? chopped red onion
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. Put the rice in a pot and pour in cold water to cover the rice by an inch.
  2. Bring it to a boil.
  3. Add ½ teaspoon of salt.
  4. Cook the rice following the instructions on the package, then drain it and let it cool.
  5. Prepare the other ingredients while the rice is cooking.
  6. Stir all the other ingredients into the rice when it has cooled down enough.
  7. Taste the salad, then and add salt and black pepper to taste.
  8. Cover the salad and chill it for at least an hour before serving.

Photo Description:

This make-ahead rice salad goes nicely with any kind of barbequed meat, poultry or seafood, and it is a breeze to prepare. Once your rice is cooked you can go ahead and stir in all the other ingredients, along with some lemon, extra-virgin olive oil and mayo to make a simple yet very tasty dressing. Let the salad chill in the refrigerator. This not only ensures it is evenly chilled but also helps the flavors to blend together and mellow. This salad is a good basis for other rice salad recipes so if you fancy switching some of the ingredients for alternatives, go ahead and you can really make this dish your own.

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

My name is Christine and I am delighted to welcome you here. Easy Barbeque Recipes aims to demystify the world of barbequing and turn anyone into a brilliant backyard chef regardless of culinary knowledge or past cooking experience. Cooking with fire is not only an easy cooking method but it is the original cooking method. An open fire was used to cook before there were such things as ovens, microwaves or crockpots. Barbequing is not just a cooking method either. It is a social event. Inviting friends over and grilling food for them is always fun and adding home-cooked food to any party is a surefire way to please a crowd. Nothing beats the incredible flavor of flame-grilled food, and you can barbeque all kinds of ingredients and recipes, including meat, poultry, fish, seafood, veggies, and even pizza.


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