Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mmmm...Café Rio Salad Recipes

My husband and I LOVE Café Rio with all our hearts! They have the BEST salad with the MOST AMAZING cilantro lime ranch dressing. It's so good, I've collected some recipes that come pretty darn close to the real thing.


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/3 c. tomato juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro

In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it. Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro. Use a slotted spoon to serve.


  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cloves garlic –minced
  • 1 can green chilies—or equivalent fresh
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • ½ onion
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro

Blend green chilies and onion together in food processor. Bring water to a boil and add all ingredients except the last three, simmer covered 20-25 minutes. In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.


  • 4 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Combine all ingredients.


  • 1 clove of garlic, pressed
  • 1 or 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 avocados, peeled, seeded, and mashed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 small tomato, seeded and chopped fine
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped

Combine all ingredients and serve immediately.


  • 2 c. buttermilk ranch dressing
  • 2 tomatillos, remove husk, diced
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno (If you like it SPICY keep the seeds in it. If you like it mild, remove the seeds.)

Mix all ingredients together in the blender.


You can buy some pre-made, un-cooked tortillas at Costco that taste liked the real thing when you heat them up in a pan. Another more time-consuming option is to make fresh tortillas, which definitely taste a hundred times better than store-bought, pre-packaged tortillas. My friend said she loves making tortillas from a mix you can buy at the grocery store.

Add the following ingredients to your tortilla in this order: beans, rice, romaine lettuce, a scoop of pico de gallo, guacamole, some tortilla strips, a few cilantro leaves, and don't forget the best part, the dressing!

This post was proudly featured at:
Keeping It Simple
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  1. Kendra you are AMAZING!! I actually don't care much for "the Rio", but Ben LOVES it! And there aren't many good Mexican places out here. SO, thanks for the recipes!!!

  2. Wow! I need to try those for sure. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh wow, I'm so glad I visited your blog! You have no idea how much we have missed a Cafe Rio...there was something like unto it here once, but it didn't do so well, and it didn't come NEAR the fixings of our beloved Cafe Rio. You know what I'm going to be making this weekend! Thanks!

  4. Dan saw your recipes and said, "That's too much work!" We love Cafe Rio too, but I go for the chicken or steak salads. I like their sauce too. I think I saw Rachael Ray do something like the tortilla strips when she did a recipe on her show; she just cut up the tortilla and I think toasted them in a saute pan. It's not the same thing, but it's a pretty good substitute! Maybe if the tortilla strips were deep fried -- we may try it out!

  5. Thanks for the recipes!! You don't know where to find their shredded beef do you? I've been lovin' that lately!! mmmmm

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I miss Cafe Rio so much. Jeff was supposed to go on a business trip to Utah in April and I was planning on going with him - and I couldn't stop talking about Cafe Rio. When his plans changed, I was heart broken. Thanks for the recipe! I'm going to try it.

  7. Thanks for the recipes! We are huge fans of Cafe Rio and always plan at least one meal there when we're in Utah. Can't wait to try to make it myself!

  8. Never eaten at Cafe Rio but this looked so good that I made it for dinner tonight and it was a huge hit. Thank you for posting it!

  9. This sounds fantastic! I'd love if you came and shared at our healthy food link-party :)


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