Cafe Rio Style Vegan Salad

I got parts of this awesome recipe (the rice and beans) from the blog at We’ve tweaked it to our own preference of “perfection”.

If you get the “vegetarian salad” at cafe rio it still TOTALLY rocks without any meat. I dare you to try it. šŸ™‚


1 c. uncooked rice (long-grain, white rice)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 can (15 oz) chicken broth (make homemade vegan chicken broth!)
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tsp. sugar (optional, we omit)
3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

In a saucepan combine rice, garlic, 1 tsp. lime, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15-20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl combine lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.


8 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp. ground cumin
4 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups water
2 tsp. salt
1 bunch green onions
4 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro

In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it. Add beans, 2 cups water, salt, and green onion. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro.

3 Avocados
Red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic pwd)
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 ripe tomatoes
Juice of 1 lime (or 1 Tbs lime juice)

Vegan Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing (My own combination of recipes!)

There is a Ranch dressing in the store that has no eggs or milk. It was called “Cucumber Ranch”. Check the ingredients. It will save you from having to make it from scratch. Then you can just add cilantro, lime juice, tomatillos, half a jalapeno, garlic, and salt to taste.

First prepare Vegan Mayo: (Happy Herbivore book)
1 package soft tofu
3 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp agave nectar (or honey)
dash garlic powder

Mix in blender, then add in the ingredients for the Cilantro Lime Ranch Mix:
1/2 bunch spinach
1/2 c walnuts
1/2 c almond milk (or soy or rice milk)
1/2 tsp chives
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp dill weed
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black peper
1 cup fresh cilantro

Slice a few corn tortillas and brown them in a skillet over med/high heat for the chips on top.

Make some pico de gallo using chopped fresh tomatoes and cilantro with a dash of lime juice.

Chop up some green leaf lettuce, throw it all over a wheat tortilla and you’ve got a Cafe Rio style salad!

OPTIONAL MEAT-SUBSTITUTE ADDITIONS (We don’t ever make these, and we still love it)
Chicken-Style Tofu
1 pkg Firm Tofu, drained and cut into cubes
1/2 Tbsp Garlic
1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder
1/2 Tbsp Ground Cumin

Saute the tofu with the spices till it browns a little. No oil is needed.

Another great meat-substitute that goes well with this Salad is beef-style TVP if you don’t want to use tofu.
Beef-style TVP (For Cafe Rio sweet pork style salad)
2 cups beef flavored TVP (found in Macey’s food storage section)
2 8oz cans tomato sauce
24 oz (fill 3 cans) of water
2 Tb Brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp onion pwdr (or 1/2 an onion)
1/4 tsp garlic (or 1 clove garlic)
1 tsp chili pwdr
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
Heat until TVP soaks up most of the liquid and flavors.

This entry was posted in Mexican Dishes, Salads and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Cafe Rio Style Vegan Salad

  1. Pingback: Southwestern Egg Rolls- Totally Vegan & Delicious! | Plants Only

  2. Pingback: Restaurants we Love, and a Carnivore-Kid-Friendly Week! | Plants Only

  3. Brinda says:

    Oh my goodness this is fantastic!!! Thanks for sharing šŸ™‚

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