Mediterranean Tuna Rice Salad

Recipe contributed by Cecilia Kiker; photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  6 servings (6 cups total)
Prep Time:  20 minutes Cook Time:  0 minutes

Mediterranean Tuna Rice Salad

This recipe is the my family’s go-to picnic fare. You can make it ahead of time, it’s perfect at room temperature, it travels well, and it only gets better with time. The olives, cornichons, capers, and lemon zest give the rice a salty brininess that is refreshing and addicting. With the addition of lots of fresh herbs and a few cans of rich oil-packed tuna, this rice salad is a simple one-dish meal that will be a summer staple. -- Cecilia Kiker


2 cups cooked white rice

10 ounces oil-packed tuna, jarred, Ortiz brand (or any Italian line-caught, dolphin-safe brand) preferred

10 cornichons, chopped

1 medium red onion, cut in small dice (see Kitchen Tip)

3 tablespoons capers, drained

¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

¾ cup chopped fresh mint leaves

¾ cup chopped fresh parsley

Juice of 3 lemons

Zest of 2 lemons

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

1½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Combine the cooked rice, tuna, cornichons, red onion, capers, olives, mint, and parsley in a large bowl.
  2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour over the rice mixture, and toss to coat.
  3. Cover and allow the salad to rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, and up to 48 hours. The salad will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for a week.

Kitchen Tips

Heating onions mellows them, but these onions are used raw. If you like them a little milder, soak them in cold water for ½ hour before using.

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Gosh I haven’t made rice salad in so long — overdue. This one looks refreshing, perfect on a hot summer day, still some to come.

Ronnie Fein - August 27, 2014

This is a smash up of a few of my favorite things – loving it!

Sarah Klinkowitz - September 7, 2014

I really like rice salad and I love tuna. So easy.

Tami Weiser - November 12, 2014

I am gluten free and this looked like an easy lunch to put together. I did not have cornichons and used green onions instead of red onion. Did not have fresh parsely/mint either so used seasoned olive oil. Used combo of 1 tsp red wine vinegar and 1 tsp seasoned rice wine vinegar as did not have white wine vinegar. Added diced avocado. Very good and unleashed my creative side for the items I did not have. Thank you for the recipe.

Solina - January 3, 2016

Solina. I am so pleased to read that you tried the recipe, and more important – that it unchained you to the page and your let those creative ideas flow! Recipes are blueprints. What you did is EXACTLY what I love to hear. So, now I have questions for you.
I love the avocado addition- did it add a creaminess? A slight vegetal backbone?
What kind of olive oil did you use?
Did you use anything to add a pinch of briney-ness( capers,caper berries a few jarred green peppercorns, pickled okra,green beans or even some dills?)

Tami Weiser - January 10, 2016