This is a fantastic copycat Mexican salad fully loaded with our favorite salad ingredients and then drizzled with an awesome Creamy Tomatillo Dressing.
Within a few months of moving to Ohio last year, my family was lamenting the fact that we no longer lived near a Cafe Rio Mexican Grill. Cafe Rio serves fresh options for salads, burritos, tacos, and more.
Yes, I just realized this sounds like an ad for the restaurant. But alas, it is not. Unfortunately, only in my dreams am I paid to rave about Cafe Rio.
If you’ve ever lived near one of their restaurants and enjoyed their salads on the regular you may understand our lamentations at now living so far away from this deliciousness.
Fortunately for all of us, it’s as easy as can be to make your own Cafe Rio salad at home!
Cafe Rio Salads
The restaurant builds their salads starting with a crisp warm tortilla in the bowl. The tortilla is non-negotiable.
Now, while I don’t always have the motivation to make Homemade Tortillas or Gluten Free Tortillas for these salads, taking the time to warm up a good store-bought tortilla and sprinkling cheese over it is always worth the effort.
That freshly made cheesy tortilla is filled with romaine lettuce and then topped with black or pinto beans, cilantro-lime rice, and your choice of beef, chicken, or pork.
Add a scoop of pico de gallo or your favorite salsa, guacamole, sour cream, a squeeze of fresh lime, tortilla strips, cotija cheese, and fresh cilantro. Drizzle with the Creamy Tomatillo Dressing just before serving.
Cafe Rio Salad Recipe
Making a copycat salad is as easy as layering your favorite ingredients into a large bowl!
- large flour tortilla
- shredded Mexican blend cheese
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- black or pinto beans
- shredded chicken, grilled chicken, grilled steak, pulled pork, or ground beef
- romaine lettuce
- Pico de Gallo
- sour cream
- tortilla strips
- Cotija cheese
- chopped fresh cilantro
- Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
If you’ve been lucky enough to visit a Cafe Rio regularly, you know that they tend to be super generous with the cilantro on their salads. I recommend chopping the cilantro as I’ve directed in the recipe.
However, for the most authentic Cafe Rio salads possible at home, throw the whole bunch of cilantro on top of your salad, stems and all.
Cafe Rio Salad
- 1 large flour tortilla
- ¼ -½ cup shredded cheese Mexican blend
- ⅓ cup Cilantro Lime Rice
- ⅓ black beans
- ½ cup shredded chicken grilled chicken, grilled steak, pulled pork, ground beef
- 2 cups romaine lettuce
- ¼ cup Pico de Gallo
- ¼ cup Guacamole
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1/4 cup mini tortilla strips
- 1 tablespoon Cotija cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped (or just through the whole bunch on there and gnaw through it all)
- 1/4 cup Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
- Heat a large skillet or grill pan over high heat and toast a tortilla in the dry skillet. Flip the tortilla over, sprinkle with cheese, and cover with lid to melt.
- Place the cheesy tortilla in a large bowl and fill with romaine lettuce, beans, rice, and your choice of beef, chicken, or pork. Add the optional toppings of your choice.
- Drizzle with the Creamy Tomatillo Dressing just before serving. Enjoy!