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!)
CAFE RIO SALAD
There are 3 parts to the salad: the rice, the pork, and the dressing.
[ LIME-CILANTRO RICE ]
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.
[ CAFE RIO PORK ]
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.
[ CREAMY TOMATILLA SALAD DRESSING ]
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.
[ SERVING ]
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.