Recipes to Share

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

cafe rio pork salad

Cafe Rio is a fantastic Mexican grill found in Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. Their food is de-LISH and some friends found a great knock-off recipe for their famous salad. We've all been enjoying making this for years now. (This calls for a little shout-out to my Cleveland Coterie. Hey girls!)


There are 3 parts to the salad: the rice, the pork, and the dressing.


2 Tbsp. oil
4 c. long grain rice (6 c. water)
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
juice of 2 limes
2 tsp. crushed garlic

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add rice, cilantro, and garlic. Saute 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add water and lime juice and bring to boil. Then reduce heat and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed by the rice (about 20 minutes). You can also use a rice cooker if you have one.


pork roast
1 (16 oz.) bottle of salsa
1 can coke
2 c. brown sugar

Place pork in crock-pot and fill it half way up with water. Cook roast on high for 5 hours. Drain off water. Cut pork in thirds. Mix together ingredients (salsa, coke, brown sugar) and put on top of pork. Cook an additional 3 hours on high. Shred pork with forks. Leave it on low until ready to serve.


1 packet hidden valley ranch buttermilk dressing
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. mayo or sour cream
2-3 tomatillas (peel off outer leaf/shell)
1 tsp. crushed garlic
¾ bunch fresh cilantro
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
juice from 1 lime (about 2 tsp.)
salt & pepper

Blend all ingredients in the blender. Refrigerate.


Of course you can assemble everything burrito-style. I prefer salad-style. For one serving, I first put a tortilla on a plate (or a large serving bowl, like the pasta bowl shown in the photo). Then put rice, pork, some chopped lettuce, and the dressing. Finally, garnish your salad with shredded cheese, tomatoes, sliced avocados, or whatever you want.

Note: I strongly prefer and recommend the uncooked tortillas over regular ol' packaged tortillas. Check the refrigerated section of your local grocery store. Our Costco carries them too. Just throw the tortilla in a pan over the stove top, give it a few flips, and it's cooked.


Blogger smileyfish76 said...

This dish looks fantastic. Thanks for the new recipe.

January 22, 2009 at 6:54 AM  
Blogger momoftwo said...

Oh my goodness! This looks fantastic! Thanks so much!

January 22, 2009 at 7:37 AM  
Blogger Sailkat said...

Thanks Becky, this is one I am going to try at our next Saturday crop with the ladies.

January 22, 2009 at 7:41 AM  
Blogger TKL said...

I think I will try this for dinner tonght! Becky your web site is just wonderful. Thanks for all your help with giving us great ideas for the 365 project, and great ideas for dinner! Keep up the great work Becky.

January 22, 2009 at 7:56 AM  
Blogger Kathi said...

I have this recipe and love it. It is one meal everyone in my family can agree on. I also have a mango salsa to go with it. Here it is.


1 mango, cubed
2 avacados, cubed
2 limes, juiced
1 Tbs. cilantro, chopped

Mix together, season with salt, serve.

We eat the salsa on top of the salad. Delicious!!! Just thinking about it makes me want to run to the store and get cooking.

Keep those great ideas coming.

Kathi in UT

January 22, 2009 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Wow - this looks amazing and very different from anything I've ever had. I *LOVE* cilantro and tomatillos. I'm definitely going to try this soon! THANKS FOR SHARING!!!

January 22, 2009 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger Jodi said...

I have to share my tip for shredding cooked meat (instead of forks)... it will save you TONS of time! :) Use your hand mixer... yep, regular old beaters will shred it perfectly. I do this with beef, pork, chicken, etc. and it is super fast and easy!

January 22, 2009 at 11:22 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

i really need to find the uncooked tortillas. what brand are yours from costco? i can never find them. this recipe looks delicious. thanks for sharing.

January 22, 2009 at 3:21 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I just made this last week. My MIL gave me a recipe book from her ward and the recipe for this was in there. Sooo good!

January 22, 2009 at 3:29 PM  
Blogger David and Janalee said...

so excited for this recipe, we eat at Cafe Rio everytime we go home to Utah to visit our families. Now I can get my fix without the 10 hour drive from CA...with five kids in the car! SWEET!
Thanks Becky,

January 23, 2009 at 8:52 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

OHH--the rice sounds SO YUMMY and just like the kind they serve at Chipotle that I've been DYING to reproduce.

This is definitely going on our dinner menu for next week!

Thanks bunches---

January 23, 2009 at 12:39 PM  
Blogger Michelle- A look at our lovely life said...

You've got to be kidding me. I LOVE Cafe Rio. This is such a treasure, Becky. I am sure this will be another hit in our household.

January 23, 2009 at 3:38 PM  
Blogger Melissa A said...

Oh my...this sounds Yummy! I was needing to come up with something to serve at my scrapbook day at my house with friends next month...this will be perfect. Thanks for posting!

January 24, 2009 at 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had this recipe today for a family party. It was so delicious and everyone loved it. Thanks for sharing. My daughter,who is a picky eater, filled her plate to the top and ate the whole thing.

January 25, 2009 at 5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

another one right on target! served the pork and sauce over the rice and everybody loved it! i'm such an awesome cook (yeah, right!).
thanks for your wonderful ideas!

January 26, 2009 at 11:57 AM  
Blogger jill said...

Thank you Thank you Thank you for figuring out this dressing...I haven't been able to get it quite right, and this is the best yet! now if only I can figure out the vinegarette one...

January 27, 2009 at 5:18 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I halfed the rice recipe last night and made it to go along with my hubby's jerk chicken. YUM! We'll definitely have this again! :)

January 30, 2009 at 9:22 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

DELICIOUS! I shared with my hubby and friends last night and they were LOVING it! Thank you for making me a HERO in the kitchen!

January 31, 2009 at 8:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I made this for dinner tonight and LOVED it. We lived in Utah and had to move to the east and I was MISSING my Cafe rio. Thanks so much for posting this one.

January 31, 2009 at 5:49 PM  
Blogger Lisa C. said...

I made this for dinner tonight and we all loved it! I only used half the sugar in the meat and it was still plenty sweet for me. The tastes all together are so wonderful. Thanks for sharing this.

February 4, 2009 at 5:00 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

WOW! I made this for my husband and some friends last night and we all loved it! What great dinner for serving others! I'm from VA, so I've never heard of Cafe Rio, but I now know that I'm a fan!

February 8, 2009 at 8:03 AM  
Blogger { lori } said...

My family says "its a keeper!" Thanks Becky

February 11, 2009 at 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Wow! This was great! My husband and I loved it! I was a little skepitcal when I made the dressing - but Wow! This salad is awesome! Thanks for sharing!

April 7, 2009 at 6:47 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

Hey cutie! I did a search for this silly recipe and was so excited to see your name. I hope you are doing well. Miss you!

May 4, 2009 at 3:40 PM  
Blogger Paul n Kim said...

Do you think you could use another type of meat like beef or chicken instead of pork with this recipe?? I am serving a crowd and a couple people don't eat pork for religious reasons and I would like to be accommodating but I really want to make this for them since I LOVE cafe rio salad.

November 15, 2009 at 4:25 PM  
Blogger marcia said...


March 6, 2010 at 9:44 AM  
Blogger proudmama said...

Becky, i just wanted to let you know that i made this for dinner last night and I loved it!! thanks so much for the recipe!

March 17, 2010 at 6:11 PM  
Blogger Meredith Shepherd said...

hubby says my version tastes better than the restaurant!

TIP: I served this for a big group and for the first time the meat didn't cook to tender and it was time to eat. So I pulled out the pressure cooker and put the pork & sauce in and cooked it for 7 minutes. It was AMAZING! Pork was not only tender - it was infused with the sauce and so much better than just doing it with the crockpot.

Next time I will try cooking it all in my pressure cooker. Wish me luck!

keep the recipes coming

March 27, 2010 at 8:26 AM  
Blogger myshel_01 said...


April 5, 2010 at 2:00 PM  
Blogger smileynann said...

FYI, the tortillas are "Tortillaland" brand, and they come in a huge package at Costco, but you can find them in some other stores in packages of 12. The huge package is great, though, because it comes in two packages, and you can freeze one package so it stays "fresh" for longer. I've tried at least three different others, and they are HANDS DOWN the BEST! They don't have that baking-soda/preservative taste that normal tortillas have, either. SO YUMMY!

April 20, 2010 at 8:11 PM  
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