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Shredded Chicken Cafe Rio Salad

This homemade Cafe Rio salad recipe features juicy shredded chicken, cilantro lime rice, and beans covered in fresh lettuce, pico de gallo, cotija cheese, and a delicious tomatillo dressing. It’s incredibly flavorful and delicious!

Homemade Cafe Rio salad in white bowl with lettuce, tortilla strips, pico, guacamole, and creamy dressing on white table.

The first time I had Cafe Rio was in high school.

I had never heard of it, but someone at work got a salad and shared some with me.

From that moment on I was hooked!

So hooked in fact, that I’ve never gotten anything else at Cafe Rio besides the shredded chicken salad.

I just love it too much! Thankfully my husband is a little more adventurous so I’ve tried the other menu items, but the chicken salad is by far my favorite.

If you’re craving that delicious, fresh Mexican flavor at home, or you’ve never had Cafe Rio and want to see what all the hype is about, here’s an easy way to recreate the salad.

Step-by-Step Instructions

PREPARE the cilantro lime rice and shredded chicken following the recipes beforehand.

SPRAY a large frying pan with non-stick cooking spray and place over low heat. Add 1 large tortilla to the pan and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese. Allow cheese to melt and repeat with remaining tortillas.

Shredded chicken, black beans, and cilantro lime rice in a tortilla all in white bowl.

CREATE your salads by layering a tortilla with cilantro lime rice, warmed black or pinto beans, shredded chicken, and shredded romaine lettuce.

Cafe Rio chicken salad in white bowl with lettuce, tortilla strips, pico, guacamole, and creamy dressing on white table.

FINISH the salad with a scoop of pico de gallo, scoop of guacamole, a handful of tortilla strips and cilantro stems, and sprinkle of cotija cheese, a lime wedge, and plenty of creamy tomatillo dressing.

Recipe Tips and Substitutions

Cafe Rio salad recipe in white bowl surrounded by bowl of limes, cilantro, a white kitchen towel, and gold utensils.

You can make your Cafe Rio salad however you want, but if you want a truly authentic version at home, it should have all of these components:

  • Large flour tortilla with melted cheese
  • Cilantro lime rice
  • Black or pinto beans
  • Shredded chicken
  • Thinly shredded romaine lettuce
  • Pico de gallo
  • Guacamole
  • Tortilla strips
  • Cotija cheese (or one of these substitutes)
  • Cilantro stems
  • Lime wedges
  • Tomatillo dressing

When it comes to the flour tortillas, you’ll get the most authentic taste by making your own or using the uncooked version that you prepare at home. We use the La Flor De Valle brand.

You can use whatever store-bought creamy cilantro dressing you like or you can make your own. To save time, we like to keep a bottle of the Cafe Rio dressing in our fridge at all times. It’s has the most authentic flavor!

More Like This

Cafe Rio salad dressing on chicken salad with lettuce, tortilla strips, pico, and guacamole.

Looking for more fresh salads and bowls? You’ll love these!

I hope your family loves this shredded chicken Cafe Rio salad recipe! If you make it, be sure to take a picture and tag me on Instagram with @ashcroftfamilytable and use the hashtag #ashcroftfamilytable!

 

And if you’d like to get a 4-week meal plan featuring my recipes, just enter your email in the form above and you’ll get it straight to your inbox!

Homemad Cafe Rio salad on white table.

Shredded Chicken Cafe Rio Salad

The Ashcroft Family Table
This homemade Cafe Rio salad recipe features juicy shredded chicken, cilantro lime rice, and beans covered in fresh lettuce, pico de gallo, cotija cheese, and tomatillo dressing. It's incredibly flavorful and delicious!
5 from 1 vote
Cook Time 10 mins
Additional Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 servings
Calories 707 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 8 large flour tortillas, we like the uncooked version you fry at home
  • 2 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • 6 cups cilantro lime rice
  • 2 15.25 ounce cans black or pinto beans
  • 4 cups shredded Cafe Rio chicken
  • 1-2 heads romaine lettuce, thinly shredded
  • 2 cups pico de gallo
  • 2 cups guacamole
  • 1 3.5 ounce bag tortilla strips
  • 1/2 cup cotija cheese
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • Creamy tomatillo cilantro dressing

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the cilantro lime rice and shredded Cafe Rio chicken following the recipes beforehand.
  • Spray a large frying pan with non-stick cooking spray and place over low heat. Add 1 large tortilla to the pan and sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Allow cheese to melt and repeat with remaining tortillas.
  • Create your salads by layering a tortilla with cilantro lime rice, warmed black or pinto beans, shredded chicken, and shredded romaine lettuce.
  • Finish the salad with a scoop of pico de gallo, scoop of guacamole, a handful of tortilla strips and cilantro stems, a sprinkle of cotija cheese, a lime wedge, and plenty of creamy tomatillo dressing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 707kcalCarbohydrates: 94gProtein: 24gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 1546mgFiber: 12gSugar: 4g
Keyword cafe rio chicken, cafe rio rice, cafe rio salad, cafe rio salad recipe, shredded chicken cafe rio salad
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Pinterest graphic with text and bowl with Cafe Rio salad.
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