Leftover Rice Is The Best Way To Bulk Up Your Tuna Salad

Tuna salad made with rice
Tuna salad made with rice - AS Foodstudio/Shutterstock

When it comes to fast and tasty meals, a fresh, traditional tuna salad is a great way to go. It's deliciously creamy, packed full of flavor, and works well piled atop fresh lettuce, stuffed between slices of sandwich bread, or served as a dip with chips or crackers.

Now, if you love this meal but want something a little heartier, there's an easy way to tweak your salad to achieve that — just add some leftover rice. Not only will you make use of leftover food that's been hanging around your kitchen for a while, but you'll also turn the tuna salad into a meal that can stand on its own. Or, you can always still pack it into your sandwiches or serve it with crackers -- you'll just have a slightly bulkier and more filling alternative. And, of course, it's still full of all the fishy, salty flavors that make tuna salad so endearing. Better yet, just like standard tuna salad, it's fast and easy to make and doesn't require a ton of time in the kitchen.

Read more: 5 Rice Brands To Buy, And 5 To Avoid

What To Know About Adding Leftover Rice To Your Tuna Salad

covered bowl of leftover rice
covered bowl of leftover rice - Laymul/Getty Images

When it comes to adding leftover rice to your tuna salad, you'll want to make sure to leave it out at room temperature for a little while rather than using it straight out of the fridge. The reason for this is that rice can harden and clump together when it's in the fridge. Now, even if the rice has sat out for a bit, this can still be an issue, so you can break it up with a fork to get that fluffy texture back. Alternatively, you can always use a fresh batch of rice. If you go this route, just let it cool down before starting to work with the rice.

With the rice ready to go, you'll also need to grab your tuna. You can use whichever variety of canned tuna you like, or even jarred tuna for larger chunks and a higher-quality texture. Whichever you go with, just make sure to drain it off before mixing it with the rice to avoid getting a watery, soupy tuna salad.

Adding Veggies And Choosing A Dressing

Bowl of tuna rice salad
Bowl of tuna rice salad - noemi_foodpictures/Shutterstock

Once you've got your rice and tuna sorted out, it's time to get down to the fun part of this recipe: the toppings and dressing. For the toppings, you can use any veggies you've got in your fridge. If you want a crunchy texture, crisp veggies like freshly chopped carrots, celery, and bell peppers can work well. Alternatively, you can focus more on veggies that pack flavor. You could add, for instance, diced pickles and sliced olives for a briny, salty texture that complements the tuna fish. Or, go with sweeter ingredients like corn and tomatoes. You could even add chopped eggs to the salad to pack on the protein!

Besides the mix-ins, you've also got to think about your dressing. You could stick with a classic, mayo-based version, just like for a regular tuna salad. Another choice could be to make a simple vinaigrette to add sour notes to your dish, using white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, and salt and pepper. You could also swap out the vinegar with lemon juice and zest to make a lemon juice dressing, adding citrus flavors to offset some of the saltiness of the fish. Feel free to choose a sauce that brings out your favorite tasting notes and ramps up your salad. Next time you need a quick lunch or side, this hearty alternative is a great, versatile pick!

Read the original article on Daily Meal.