Tuna Rice Salad Italian Style

tuna rice salad
Italian style tuna rice salad.

This tuna rice salad is a delicious, simple, light throw together rice salad packed with flavors and made with a fresh, homemade lemon, herb and olive oil vinaigrette, no mayo.

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Simply toss together tuna, veggies, herbs, mozzarella and sprinkle with the beautiful bright green citrus dressing. This lemon, basil and parsley dressing is great with the tuna salad. If you don’t have ingredients to prepare the vinaigrette, the salad works well with just a splash of olive oil and lime.

For a delicious creamy tuna pasta salad recipe, see our Healthy Tuna Pasta Salad; a simple, creamy pasta salad made with tuna, Greek yoghurt (or sour cream), peas and parmesan cheese.

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Colorful and a great side, but we often make this tuna rice salad as a stand alone dish in summer. I really like the corn in here. A quick family favorite to prepare in summer, we love making this traveling, we just buy tuna, rice and mozzarella and combine with veggies and spices we can find. This is a no mayo salad packed with incredible flavor from amazing ingredients. Super easy to make, healthy and gluten free.

How to make this light tuna rice salad

This is a simple throw together salad. Cook your rice just past al dente. Make the lemon and herb vinaigrette by mixing and chopping all the dressing ingredients in a blender. Mix the all the salad ingredients; rice, tuna, corn, bell pepper, olives, cucumber, parsley, basil, mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with the lemon and herb vinaigrette.

ingredients to prepare Italian tuna rice salad
Ingredients to prepare Italian tuna rice salad; cherry tomatoes, olives, rice, mozzarella, tuna, corn, bell pepper, parsley and onion.

How to Cook the Rice

  • Rinse the rice.
  • Add 2 cups of water to a sauce pan with a lid, bring water to a boil.
  • Add 1 cup of rice, add a pinch of salt and simmer on low heat for 18 minutes.
  • If not cooked enough place it back on the heat, constantly monitoring.
  • Drain the water, let it rest for a couple of minutes with the lid on.
  • Fluff it with a fork, make sure the rice does not stick together.

Green Citrus and Herb Vinaigrette

We love this bright green citus and herb vinaigrette. Vinaigrette is made by mixing an oil with something acidic. In this vinaigrette we mix vinegar and lemon juice (acidic) with olive oil and enhance the mixture with salt, pepper, oregano, parsley and basil, combining it in a blender.

Variations in tuna rice salad

This dish developed from a throw together pantry creation, so spice it up or adjust it with whatever you have in your kitchen!

Rice – brown rice, white rice or basmati rice can be used to replace wild rice/long grain rice mix. Just remember that wild rice contains fewer calories than the same serving of brown or white rice. Wild rice or brown rice is preferred for the mediterranean diet

Cheese – I have used cheddar cut into blocks instead of the mozzarella, but mozzarella is preferred if you want to stick to the mediterranean diet.

tuna rice salad ingredients
Mix the tuna rice salad ingredients; rice, tuna, corn, bell pepper, olives, cucumber, parsley and mozzarella cheese.

Portion size for this recipe

The portion size for this recipe is a healthy portion of this tuna rice salad as a side dish as can be seen from the image. The salad was prepared as per recipe to serve 6 without scaling.

tuna rice salad portion size
The photo shows the portion size when this recipe is prepared without scaling to serve 6 people.

Italian Style Tuna Rice Salad

A simple, light tuna rice salad, easy and quick to prepare. Toss together tuna, veggies, herbs, mozzarella and sprinkle with the beautiful bright green citrus dressing. 
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6


  • 210 gram wild rice/long grain rice mix  (1 cup)
  • 240 gram Tuna in Olive Oil (2 cans)
  • 90 gram Corn of the cob (1 cob/can sweetcorn)
  • 110 gram mozzarella cheese ball (3/4 cup)
  • 30 gram black olives, chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 40 gram red onion chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 40 gram bell pepper chopped (1/4 cup)
  • 75 gram cucumber chopped (1/3 avg size fruit)
  • 7 gram fresh parsley chopped (2 tbsp)
  • 150 gram cherry tomatoes (1 cup)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Fresh Basil and Parsley Vinaigrette

  • 45 ml extra virgin olive oil (3 tbsp)
  • 30 ml lemon juice (2 tbsp) about 1/2 lemon
  • 15 ml white wine vinegar (1 tbsp)
  • 5 gram garlic chopped (1 clove)
  • 7 gram fresh parsley (2 tbsp)
  • 5 gram fresh basil (2 tbsp)
  • 1/2 tsp dry organum


  • Bring water to the boil in a large pot, add rice. Boil your rice al dente. It will take about 20 minutes. Let the rice drain and cool down, transfer to the salad bowl.
  • Drain the tuna and flake in a bowl.
  • Open a can of corn or boil a cob of corn and remove corn from the cob.
  • Chop all the vegetables.
  • Cut the mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes in half.
  • Add tuna, mozzarella and all the cut and chopped ingredients to the rice.
  • Sprinkle with the prepared vinaigrette.
  • Spice with salt and pepper to taste, mix,  let it rest for at least an hour before serving.

Green Basil Parsley Vinaigrette

  • Add all the vinaigrette ingredients to a blender; olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, basil, parsley, organum, salt, pepper. Blend until all the herbs are chopped up.
Keyword chicken salad, mediteranean, rice, tuna


The Mediterranean diet is based on the foods that people traditionally used to eat in countries like Italy and Greece back in 1960. It was seen that people on this diet are exceptionally healthy compared to people on a more traditional American diet and had a low risk of many lifestyle diseases. This tuna rice salad developed from left overs in our fridge.

Wild rice

Wild rice is a whole grain aquatic grass like rice, but is not rice, it has a nutty, smokey flavor and cooks a bit longer than white rice, it is black in color. Long grain rice is also recognized as a whole grain and contains about three times more fiber and significantly more protein than white rice, making it a more filling choice. A mix of long grain and wild rice is sold by many supermarkets. 

As a whole grain it is ideal for the Mediterranean diet in this tuna rice salad. 


There are many different species of tuna; in a can usually “white” is albacore tuna, “light” is skipjack tuna and “premium,” “gourmet” or “tonno” tuna is usually yellowfin tuna. They all make a great salad, albacore is the most popular tuna to use. We prefer to use tuna packed in olive oil, it has a great flavor.

tuna rice salad
Italian style tuna rice salad.

Salad Nutrition

Nutritional data was calculated with an online tool and is accurate to the best of my knowledge. You can verify it using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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