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Warm Rice Salad with Grape Tomatoes and Pesto Recipe-252

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Preparing this rice salad is a snap because it calls for a foolproof standby, a jar of pesto, and you can cut the tomatoes and kalamata olives in half and toast the pine nuts while the rice is cooking. Delicious as a side dish, the salad turns into a pretty main dish if you pile it on a ceramic platter and surround it with skewers of grilled shrimp.

Yield: Serves 6 as a Side Dish


  • Salt (optional), for cooking the rice
  • 1½ cups jasmine or Arborio rice
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¾ cup pesto or more if needed


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Pour 3 cups of water and the salt, if using, in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the rice, cover the pan, and reduce the heat to low. Let the rice simmer until done, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes and olives in half. Toast the pine nuts: Place them in a pie pan and bake them until they are golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes.

4. Transfer the cooked rice to a shallow bowl and fluff it with a fork to separate the grains. Let cool 5 minutes.

5. Pour the pesto over the rice and stir to combine well. Fold in the tomato and olive halves. Transfer the salad to a serving platter and top it with the toasted pine nuts. Serve warm.


To Prep and Cook: 25 minutes

Many commercial pesto sauces are quite delicious, but others are just so-so. I like the Alessi brand of pesto found in the pasta aisle of the supermarket as well as the refrigerated pestos sold both at supermarkets and at wholesale clubs. If the pesto is thick and seems like it will be difficult to mix into the rice, thin it with a little warm water.

© 2003 Anne Byrn

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

389kcal (19%)
455mg (19%)
20g (31%)
3g (15%)
10mg (3%)
23mcg RAE (1%)
6mg (11%)
16mg (2%)
1mg (5%)

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