Cafe Rio at Home

I’ve only been to Cafe Rio once, but it was really good. If you have not been there or have no idea what I’m talking about Cafe Rio is a lot like Chipotle, or really any build your own Mexican food restaurant. And if you’ve never been to anything like that, you need to; it will change your life. My Fiancee loves Cafe Rio so I decided to make a bunch of copy cat recipes for us to eat it at home.

I made:

Shredded Chicken, Cilantro Lime Rice, Cilantro Ranch Dressing, Pico De Gallo, and Black Beans

Cafe Rio Shredded Chicken:

Here’s What You Need:

  • 2 pounds chicken breasts
  • ½ cup zesty italian dressing
  • ¾ tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1 oz package dry ranch dressing mix
  • ½ cup water
  • Optional toppings:
  • minced cilantro
  • roma tomatoes, chopped
  • olives
  • fresh lettuce
  • cilantro ranch dressing


  • Spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all of the ingredients except for the chicken into your slow cooker. Mix until combined.
  • Add the chicken and cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high 3-4 hours until the chicken is no longer pink and cooked throughout.
  • Remove chicken from the slow cooker and shred. Replace the chicken back in the slow cooker and mix with the juices

Cafe Rio Cilantro Lime Rice:

Here’s What You Need:

  • 2 cups rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 can (4oz) diced green chiles


  • pour everything in a rice cooker and follow product instructions, or in a pot, heat to a boil and then add the lid and turn down to low for 20-30 minutes or until tender.
  • remove the lid, stir to combine everything and serve immediately.

Cafe Rio Cilantro Ranch Dressing:

Here’s What You Need:

  • 1 packet TRADITIONAL Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not BUTTERMILK)
  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 2 tomatillos, remove husk, diced
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno (we like it SPICY so we kept the seeds in it, if you like it mild, just remove the seeds)


  • Mix all ingredients together in the blender

Cafe Rio Pico De Gallo:

Here’s What You Need:

  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded or chopped
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves freshly minced garlic
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 avocado, cubed (optional)


  • Combine tomato, onions, jalapeno, garlic, and cilantro (and avacado if you are using it). Season with salt and pepper. Stir until evenly distributed. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Cafe Rio Black Beans:

Here’s What You Need:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/3 c. tomato juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 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, tomato juice, and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro.

Chefs Notes:

I had so much fun making this meal. Unfortunately I only made it for 2 people so I had lots of left overs, but I didn’t mind eating it for the rest of the week. The black beans were a little salty for my taste but everything  else was amazing, especially the pico de gallo!


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