Cafe Rio Taco Salad

Cafe Rio Taco Salad

Cafe Rio Taco Salad……Oh so good!

My good friend Janelle gave me this recipe a while ago and I kept forgetting to take a picture so I could share it with you.  It is one of our all time favorites.

I really put it to the test last week when I cooked for 130 people at our churches Girls Camp.  It was hands down the favorite meal of the week.

The chicken is cooked in a slow cooker all day and then shredded.  My house always smells so good on Cafe Rio day.   Today I was a bit behind, so I cooked it in my pressure cooker on high pressure for 9 minutes and let it natural release for another 10 minutes before releasing the pressure.  It worked great.

The recipe is for the chicken, rice and vinaigrette.  You can add whatever toppings you like.  We line the bowl with a soft flour tortilla and then build up with salad, rice, black beans, chicken, cheese, tomatoes, crushed tortilla chips and top with the vinaigrette.  You could add sour cream or guacamole too.  Each person can decide how they want to build theirs to their own taste.

To save time, you can cook the chicken overnight, shred and keep in the fridge until you are ready to warm it up for dinner.  For girls camp, I cooked the chicken up the week before and froze it.  The vinaigrette can be made up ahead of time too.
This recipe makes a lot.  My family likes to have left overs.

Cafe Rio Taco Salad
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
A great blend of flavors for a memorable meal.

  • Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette
  • 16 oz buttermilk ranch dressing
  • 2 tomatillos
  • ½ bunch cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded

  • Cafe Rio Rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 4 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ bunch cilantro
  • 1 4 oz can green chilies
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 3 cups rice
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp butter

  • Cafe Rio Chicken
  • 12 oz zesty Italian salad dressing
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3-4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  1. In a blender, combine ingredients and blend well. Refrigerate before serving.
  1. Puree cilantro, green chilies and onion in the blender. (You may need to add some water for this step. Just subtract the amount from the 3 cups of water to cook the rice in.)
  2. Bring the water to a boil and add all ingredients. Simmer covered for 30 minutes. (I make this rice by throwing it all in my rice cooker)
  1. Cook all together in a slow cooker on low for 7 hours.
  2. Shred chicken near end of cooking time.
  1. Place a large flour tortilla in a bowl.
  2. Add rice, beans, chicken, salad greens, salsa, tomatoes, guacamole and crushed tortilla chips in any order you like.
  3. Pour vinaigrette over and enjoy!