Some ideas include:
colour - sweetcorn, peas, beetroot, avocado, bell peppers, carrots, asparagus
crunch - sunflower seeds, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds. raw vegetables.
saltiness - olives, capers, cheese
sweetness - sweetcorn, beetroot, peas
acidity/tang/pungency - gherkins, sundried tomatoes, spring onions, olives, preserved lemon, chives
non-veg additions - tuna, cooked ham, crispy pancetta, shredded roast chicken, prawns
That said, there are a few ‘rules’:
1. For safety reasons, be sure to cool the rice quickly and thoroughly, and store the salad in the fridge
2. A 50-50 ratio for rice to non-rice is good, to avoid the salad being too stodgy
3. Avoid ‘wet’ ingredients like fresh tomatoes, to avoid the salad going soggy
4. All the non-rice ingredients must be chopped into cubes or sliced very thinly.
Other than that, go mad! My version is certainly 'imaginative' by Italian standards...
Pots/pans to be washed up afterwards: 1, plus a baking tray and a salad bowl
Prep time: 10-20 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins
300 g rice (short or long grain, but not too sticky)
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 beetroot, cubed
a few gherkins, cubed
1 tin of sweetcorn
4-5 radishes, thinly sliced
handful of sundried tomatoes, chopped
150 g firm cheese, cubed (emmentaler, provolone, cheddar)
handful of fresh herbs, finely chopped (parsley, oregano, dill, marjoram)
pumpkin seeds, toasted
Boil the rice until al dente, then spread immediately in an oven dish or baking tray to help it to cool down quickly.
Serve at room temperature with the avocado and pumpkin seeds sprinkled over the top. Great with a glass of white wine at a BBQ…