Round 2 of Cafe Rio copycat recipes!
Yes, there is more than one this time. Actually, this one includes three: their pulled chicken, their cilantro-lime rice, and their famous creamy tomatillo ranch dressing (my personal favorite).
After today, I promise I’ll shut up about Cafe Rio for a while. Well…I mean I’ll have to considering I won’t be near one of the restaurants for almost a whole month—yikes, how will I survive?
The salads are my very favorite thing to get at Cafe Rio, and it’s totally because of their dressing. The stuff is ridiculously good. So good, in fact, that I have actually seen people order burritos, and then ask for the dressing to be poured over top enchilada-style. It makes people crazy.
I tried my hand at making a version of their salad, with a few small changes: I used a much smaller tortilla, I left out the beans, and I swapped guacamole and pico for sliced avocado and cherry tomatoes. Um, it was AWESOME. You can also make the salad with the Sweet Pork Barbacoa that I posted, yesterday (actually that’s how I usually order the salad, but the chicken is super tasty, as well).
The chicken is even easier to make than the pork, because there is only one step: pour it all into the slow-cooker and forget it for 5 hours. There’s no marinating, or swapping out the liquids, like with the pork. I will say, this recipe used ingredients that I’m usually a bit freaked out about cooking with—bottled zesty italian dressing and ranch seasoning—but, it turned out so freaking tasty that I don’t even care.
The rice is flavored with fresh lime juice, cilantro, and green chilies. It’s super flavorful, and would be great served with just about anything. I like it in the salad because it kinda soaks up the chicken juices and extra dressing. Okay, and can we just talk about this dressing for a second? It’s creamy, and yet refreshing. It’s loaded with fresh cilantro, lime, and tomatillos, and has a little kick from just a single jalapeño. This also makes use of the Ranch dressing seasoning packets, and I have to say, after this, I’m 100% on board with those, now.
One thing you totally can’t forget in your salad is a flour tortilla with melted, shredded cheese on it. In the restaurants, they serve the salad inside of a giant one that lines your bowl. It’s perfect for scooping up your salad, or making a little salad burrito.