Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Cafe Rio" Sweet Pork Salads (Complete Recipe)

I finally did it! I've been wanting to try and recreate Cafe Rio salads at home for quite some time. Then, I got a huge craving (really huge, pregnancy style) for them a few weeks ago which was only partially satisfied by going to Chipotle. At that point I knew it was only a matter of time before I decided to be brave and give it a try.

There are a lot of recipes out there that claim to replicate various aspects of the Cafe Rio salad (a quick google search for Cafe Rio recipes will give you a glimpse of what is out there), so after looking at a bunch of them, I decided to try the recipes at Favorite Family Recipes because she had collected all the recipes in one place (the pork, rice, beans, and dressing). Also, I've made things from FFR before, and they've always turned out well!

These recipes absolutely did not disappoint! It was amazing. I took my first bite, and it was like I was back in Provo. Maybe it was a little bit enhanced for me because I'm pregnant, but it was seriously good stuff!

Here's the complete recipe! (Click on the individual components for recipes.)

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salads
large tortillas (I hear the uncooked ones at Costco are really good, but I've never tried them)
grated cheddar cheese (a small handful for each tortilla)
lettuce (not iceberg, I just bought a bag of romaine)
parmesan cheese
tortilla strips (you can buy these at a grocery store next to the croutons in the produce section)

cilantro for garnish
lime sections for garnish
sour cream

Place one tortilla in the bottom of each serving dish (oven safe). You can buy foil dishes like Cafe Rio uses at the grocery store, but we just went with metal pie tins that I had on hand. Sprinkle a small handful of cheese on each one and bake at 375 degrees for about five minutes, or until cheese is melted. Scoop a generous amount of Cilantro Lime Rice and Black Beans on top of the tortilla.

Next, add the shredded pork. If you're silly like me (or if you just really miss Cafe Rio) yell "Extra Meat!" when making your husband's salad. ;)

On top of that add a generous amount of lettuce. And then top it all off with a scoop of pico de gallo, some tortilla strips, a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, and a sprig of cilantro for garnish. Serve with tomatillo sauce on the side so that (if you're me) you can keep adding it to your salad as you go because you can never get enough. ;)

I was in a big hurry to eat, so please ignore the sauce splatters and other messes in my pictures. I usually try to avoid showing off the messy-after-cooking kitchen in my pictures. My excuse this time is that Paul was the photographer, and he just doesn't notice these things. ;) Hopefully you will all forgive me once you give these amazing recipes a try!

Oh, and big thanks to Erica over at Favorite Family Recipes! She has provided all of us non-Utah residents a great service by mastering these recipes for us.

Note: I gave this recipe a 1-2 hour time length because I decided not to count the slow cooker time. It was a rather big production, but in the end, I put most of it together in two hours. And I know I'll be a bit faster next time (not looking up recipes at the last second and all that). Enjoy!


Paula said...

Jennie, thank you so much for posting all of these "cafe rio" recipes! I know it took a ton of time. The food looks amazing and I'm so excited to try all of them.

Robin said...

my sister (not Amanda:) made this whole shebang this weekend- she LOVED it. Here's what she said in her post entitled Delicious.

Every once in a while I check out Robin's What's for dinner blog site and I saw a recipe for Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salads. I had to try it because Eric LOVES anything with lots of cilantro in it and it looked scrumptious. So, I tried it for our Sunday dinner and the laud I received from everyone, even Bryce, my picky eater, was impressive. This recipe is SO good. It did take a while to prepare and the time was well worth the meal and two days of lunch left overs. I made the pico de gallo and dressing in the morning after starting the pork in the crockpot and I love that the rice is made in the rice cooker. For large families I would definitely double the pico de gallo, rice, and bean portions recommended.

Robin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robin said...

Now I have to give it a try.

This might just have to be my Sudnay meal- yum yum

Robin said...

We made a meatless version last night. I made extra beans and also made corn. It was super good this way. Also- too lazy to make that dressing from scratch, so we added the jalapeno, the garlic, the lime, and the cilantro to a 1/4 cup of Ranch dressing. Yummo.

Jennie said...

Oh fun! That sounds yummy. :)

Emily said...

My family loved the Cafe Rio salads! I substituted Dr. Pepper for the Pepsi (that's what Costa Vida uses, and Aaron likes Costa Vida better...), and fulfilled my lifelong dream of swigging the cooking sherry in between pours (substituting Dr. Pepper for cooking Sherry of course). While I was at it, I also contemplated swigging the dressing because it was sooooo delicious, but I held off and just drenched my salad instead. I made it out of a leftover pork roast that was already cooked, and the low-fat meat was plenty tender after marinating and slow re-cooking. I also used two cans of black beans but didn't need to double the spices on them. Thanks for a great recipe!