Pesto Rice Salad with Dried Tomatoes & Fresh Mozzarella

Tired of the usual pasta salad?  Why not get creative with Pesto Rice Salad, full of flavorful dried tomatoes, crunchy pine nuts and chunks of fresh mozzarella. Good warm or cold.  

Tired of the usual pasta salad? Why not get creative with Pesto Rice Salad, full of flavorful dried tomatoes, crunchy pine nuts and chunks of fresh mozzarella. Good warm or cold.

Pesto Rice Salad Mixed Up

Lately I’ve been cooking a lot with rice.  A side dish here, some stuffed peppers there… And it all comes from eating local this year.   

Now when people toss around the term “eating local,” they do it almost as freely as the word “natural.” But we’re eating completely local (with just a few exceptions), which means no pasta unless it’s made by a local company using local flour.   

Tired of the usual pasta salad? Why not get creative with Pesto Rice Salad, full of flavorful dried tomatoes, crunchy pine nuts and chunks of fresh mozzarella. Good warm or cold.

Pesto Rice Salad – An Easy Side

Now truthfully, I’m not really a pasta salad kinda’ gal in the first place.  I think I was served one too many bland pasta salads in my youth.   

But luckily, I have a nice stash of local rice – which is amazing in a side salad!  

Harvest Brown Rice Salad with Sweet Potatoes & Cranberries has an earthy feel that reminds you of the goodness of the harvest. You might almost forget it’s winter. 

Harvest Brown Rice Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Cranberries

My first was Brown Rice Salad, with Sweet Potatoes & Cranberries.  And the second is this Pesto Rice Salad, thanks to the pesto I freeze every summer for a winter pick-me-up. 

Today’s recipe includes “prepared pesto” because many people have their own favorite recipe.  But if you need one, check out mine here.  That recipe is for an arugula pesto, but it can be made with the classic basil as well.  I’ve even made pesto with lemon balm and cilantro!  

Yup, go wild!

Tired of the usual pasta salad? Why not get creative with Pesto Rice Salad, full of flavorful dried tomatoes, crunchy pine nuts and chunks of fresh mozzarella. Good warm or cold.

Pesto Rice Salad

Now in the interest of full disclosure I have to tell you that my husband and I have a big disagreement about both of these rice salads.  I prefer them chilled, and he likes them warm.  We finally agreed to disagree — you can take your pick too!  

Pesto Rice Salad
Serves 10
Tired of the usual pasta salad? Why not get creative with Pesto Rice Salad, full of flavorful dried tomatoes, crunchy pine nuts and chunks of fresh mozzarella. Good warm or cold.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
428 calories
22 g
18 g
35 g
8 g
7 g
154 g
151 g
2 g
0 g
26 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
154g
Servings
10
Amount Per Serving
Calories 428
Calories from Fat 309
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 35g
54%
Saturated Fat 7g
35%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 22g
Cholesterol 18mg
6%
Sodium 151mg
6%
Total Carbohydrates 22g
7%
Dietary Fiber 2g
9%
Sugars 2g
Protein 8g
Vitamin A
7%
Vitamin C
4%
Calcium
13%
Iron
8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 6 - 8 ounces asparagus
  2. 4 cups cooked brown rice
  3. ½ cup dried tomatoes (in oil or rehydrated, drained)
  4. 1 cup prepared pesto
  5. ¼ cup extra oil for mixing (if needed)
  6. 8 ounces fresh mozzarella (see note)
  7. ¼ cup pine nuts (or any other nut)
Instructions
  1. Steam asparagus until just tender then cut into 1 inch pieces.
  2. Mix rice, asparagus, dried tomatoes and pesto until well combined. If needed for mixing, you can add some olive oil.
  3. If using small mozzarella balls in oil, drain, then add to rice. Otherwise cut into bite sized pieces as needed and add to rice mixture. Add half of the pine nuts and stir everything together.
  4. Top with remaining pine nuts for garnish.
  5. Serve warm or cold.
Notes
  1. Fresh mozzarella comes in many forms and you can use whatever is available. The bite sized balls marinated in oil and herbs are ideal, just drain and add (you can even use some of the marinating liquid in the salad if needed). For larger forms of fresh mozzarella, just cut into bite-sized pieces before adding.
beta
calories
428
fat
35g
protein
8g
carbs
22g
more
Art of Natural Living https://artofnaturalliving.com/

6 thoughts on “Pesto Rice Salad with Dried Tomatoes & Fresh Mozzarella

  1. David

    I love rice salads! This sounds so good – and lends itself to aadditions (if cleaning out the fridge!) like little bits of prosciutto, or chicken!

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