The Complete Cafe Rio Pork Salad Recipe

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad

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We LOVE Cafe Rio and Costa Vida. We have tried and tried to duplicate the Cafe Rio sweet pork salad.. and tonight.. we nailed it! It was DELICIOUS!! We have tried different sweet pork recipes but something seemed to be missing from each one.. so we combined a few and made our own! I promise, we are VERY VERY picky about our Cafe Rio pork and this tasted EXACTLY like it. We also played around with the rice, the beans, and the ranch. At dinner tonight, we felt like we were having Cafe Rio take-out. However, we liked our recipe even BETTER!!! Don’t believe us? Try it out for yourself and you will see!

It really is easier than it looks. It only took me about an hour to make (after the pork was in the crock pot). The rice and beans are SUPER easy, you definitely want the beans and rice to get the whole experience! Also, be generous with the cilantro! Try it and let me know what you think! I KNOW you won’t be disappointed!!

Update: We have had some AMAZING feedback on this recipe! Thank you so much for making us the #1 Site for Cafe Rio recipes! If you have tried this recipe, please leave a comment below to tell us what you think!

To view ALL of our Cafe Rio Copycat Recipes click HERE!

Erica’s Complete Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad (Copycat Recipe)

Erica’s Complete Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad (Copycat Recipe)

Ingredients

  • 6 large Tortillas (click HERE)
  • Shredded cheese, Mexican blend
  • Cafe Rio Rice (click HERE)
  • Cafe Rio Black Beans (click HERE)
  • Cafe Rio Sweet Pork (click HERE)
  • Lettuce (NOT iceberg, use leafy green or Romaine)
  • Diced tomato, onion, and cilantro (pico de gallo)
  • Guacamole (click HERE)
  • Sour cream
  • Tortilla Strips (click HERE)
  • Cotija cheese, crumbled (or you can use Parmesan)
  • Cafe Rio Cilantro Ranch (click HERE)
  • OR Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette (click HERE)

Instructions

  • Here is how we put it all together: First of all, we bought the aluminum deep-dish pans (they had these at the grocery store, you will know when you see them.. they look JUST like the Cafe Rio tins). Lay a tortilla in the bottom of the pan, sprinkle cheese on it, and put in the oven at 375 for about 5 min or until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven, add beans, rice, pork, then lettuce and a little scoop of diced tomato and onions (pico de gallo). Add guacamole (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) and sour cream. Add crushed tortilla chips, a shake of Parmesan cheese, and top with a few cilantro leaves. Serve with the cilantro ranch or vinaigrette dressing and there you have it! (makes about 6 salads)
http://www.favfamilyrecipes.com/jared-and-i-love-cafe-rio.html

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Comments

  1. Kendra says:

    I am so excited to try this one out. this is my favorite thing to eat when I visit family in Utah. My girlfriends are also so excited!

  2. Kendra says:

    You got the pork right on. All the other Cafe Rio copycat recipes I’ve tried have been too dry and barely resemble the original. Thank you so much!!

  3. Roseann says:

    what kind of cheese do you use?

  4. Erica says:

    The cheddar that is REALLY thinly shredded. I think it’s best if you grate your own, but the bagged kind is good too :)

    • Carrie says:

      Do you have a recipe for Cafe Rio Shredded Chicken? I really want to make that today!

      • Erica says:

        We do but it is in our cookbook.. as well as the enchilada and pinto beans recipe!:)

  5. Shaylyn says:

    THis recipe was awesome…thanks!

  6. Jones says:

    I cannot believe how spot on this recipe is!!! Thank you so much for doing all the leg work to get the right flavor!

  7. Anonymous says:

    just slice up tostada shells for your tortilla strips, or sometimes you can find them at smith’s in the produce section.

  8. Kristen T. says:

    I am so excited to try this one out as well!! I have all the ingredients I need printed up and I am ready to head to the store. :)

    I did find online that “Fresh Gourmet” makes tortilla strips that are sold at Smith’s and Albertson’s. They are the same maker of croutons, so they might be in that section.

    Thanks for all of your hard work! :)

  9. Heather B says:

    I stumbled on this recipe when I googled Cafe Rio Pork and we tried it yesterday. It was a HUGE hit and I’m sure we’ll make it again and again! Thanks so much!

  10. Cathi :-) says:

    We found your site when I googled sweet pork salad. We made the entire meal of the Sweet Pork Salad for a family get together dinner and LOVED it! I think it’s better than the real thing!

    We also loved reading all about you and Jared, and the BYU-H phone call that got it all started. I have a son currently attending BYU, and a daughter living in the same BYU-approved complex and attending UVU, so the connection was more than just one recipe.

    Thanks for sharing all your recipes and ideas! I’ll be back to visit off and on.

  11. Lindsay says:

    I have been looking for a great Cafe Rio Pork recipe for a long time. I am planning on using your recipe tomorrow. I have high hopes!

    I would like to ask if you’ve ever tried using Dr Pepper in one of your previous attempts?

    Looking at the many recipes online some say use Coke others say Dr Pepper. I’ve tried both in the past and the soda never seemed to make a difference in the end flavor. What do you think?

    The marinating is a great idea!

  12. Erica says:

    We have tried both, too. It doesn’t make a big difference to me. Some people like the taste of Coke, others Dr. Pepper. We just use whatever is easiest.

    I THINK that Cafe Rio actually uses Coke though. One day when we were there we saw them filling a HUGE bucket full of Coke in the back. We just assumed it was for the pork.

    –Erica

  13. Jen Long says:

    I have been wanting to try the pork recipe for a long time. But I found so many different recipes, that I was afraid to try one, and end up hating it. But this looks like THE one! Question before I try it though… how much does your pork recipe make??

  14. Jen Long says:

    oh, p.s. I have made the rice, bean and ranch dressing recipe before… my ranch dressing recipe is a little different… but I’m sure they taste just the same. The rice and beans are awesome!!!

  15. Jen Long says:

    okay, sorry for so many comments…. but I forgot something…. I’m not sure if you know, but you can buy uncooked tortillas at costco. They taste just like cafe rio, cause you heat them up yourself, so they are fresh. You had just mentioned heating your tortillas in an oven… so I wasn’t sure if you knew about those. You should try it. they are AMAZING!

  16. Erica says:

    I hope you like it! It makes about 4-6 servings. Depends on how much pork you put in each one. :)

  17. Erica says:

    Yeah, I LOVE those Costco tortillas that you warm yourself! That is EXACTLY what we use!

  18. Tim, Crista and Addy says:

    I stumbled across you blog and I am SO excited! Wow, you put a lot of work into it and I am going to love trying your recipes! Thank you!

    ps….I go to Chili’s (or another similar establishment since I live in Delaware!) and just purchase their crunchy tortilla strips for things…yummy with other salads and soups :)

  19. kristenita says:

    thank you!!! this is by far the best cafe rio recipe I have tried!

    to make the tortilla strips: you can slice up corn tortillas, toss with a bit of oil & broil for a few minutes in the oven, turning & watching that they don't burn.

  20. Britley says:

    Loved it! I didn’t make the dressing and just had a burrito. My husband ate 3 when he came home!

  21. Chalece says:

    I stumbled on your website while searching for this recipe and I just made it today. It was all SO good! I haven’t lived in Utah for almost 2 years and have greatly missed this. Thanks so much!

  22. Angelyn says:

    Do you happen to have a recipe for the lime-vinaigrette salad dressing? My husband and I have tried to duplicate it, but we haven’t been successful.

  23. Erica says:

    K, it’s funny that you should ask that. I have been trying FOREVER to duplicate it! My mom has been trying too, both of us have come REALLY close, but haven’t been able to nail it yet. You had better believe we will post it as soon as we get it figured out though! Let me know if you figure it out!

  24. Anonymous says:

    I have 4 teenage couples coming for “Girls Pref” on saturday night. They have requested this meal. I am excited for my daughter and i to make it together.
    thanks

  25. Nik says:

    Um, can I just say thank you for posting this entire recipe?! I did a blog search for crockpot recipes and came across your blog, then I found this GEM! I am SO trying it this week!
    Wish me luck!

  26. studydaze says:

    What cut of pork do you use? What kind of roast? I have pork chops but don’t think it will work as well.

  27. studydaze says:

    What cut of pork do you use? What kind of roast? I have pork chops but don’t think it will work as well.

  28. studydaze says:

    sorry, forgot to ask this one as well – what kind of tortillas are you using? flour or corn? We are on the East Coast and don’t have a Cafe Rio anywhere near us but the recipe sounds like something my husband would love so I’m going to give it a try. Thanks for posting it!

  29. Erica says:

    We actually like to use the boneless pork ribs. You can use pork roast though and it will turn out pretty much the same. We like to use flour tortillas.. that is what they have at cafe rio. It’s really good if you do home-made flour tortillas! Hope you like the recipe! You are in for a treat if you have never had Cafe Rio before!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Can you freeze the salad dressing?

  31. Erica says:

    haha I have never tried it. Let me know how it works out if you do it!

  32. Anonymous says:

    I tried your pork recipe tonight. Very tasty. I don’t have the luxury of going to Cafe Rio anymore (not living in Utah), so I was thrilled to find your recipe (and to have the pork taste like the restaurant). Do you have one for the shredded chicken???

  33. Erica says:

    I don’t have one for the chicken. That will have to be what I work on next! I don’t order the chicken there enough to know what I could do to duplicate it.. I always get the pork! I will have to go one day and just get a side of their chicken and see if I can do it.

  34. Debbie says:

    I just made your pork recipe! It was so good! My husband and I absolutely loved it. The black beans and rice were great too. Thank you very much.

  35. Mary Karlee says:

    We had a Cafe Rio party at my house Saturday night at my house. We split the recipes and extra toppings between five couples and it was a smashing hit. Thanks so much! Cafe Rio in Houston at last! :)

  36. Meredith says:

    Regarding Coke vs. Dr. Pepper, I heard from a friend in the know that they acutally use Coke syrup in the original recipe. So there you go.

    My sister is making most of this tomorrow, I am making the dressing, she is making everything else. I get off easy. I am sooo excited!

  37. Anonymous says:

    I also found your blog through a google search for Cafe Rio pork and have a couple questions. I’m planning on making this for my sister for her birthday (she has a SERIOUS Cafe Rio obsession), and she used to always order their pinto beans. Would it work to use the same recipe that you posted for the black beans, or does Cafe Rio do something different with their pinto beans? I’m hoping to have it as authentic as possible for her. :) Also, you mentioned that leaving the seeds in for the dressing makes it spicier- is the spicy version closest to what you get at Cafe Rio or does taking the seeds out get you closer to the original? Thanks so much for your hard work and for posting all this!

  38. Kami and Phil says:

    Here is the Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette Recipe. I used to dream about this dressing so I was so excited to find it. Thanks for this site, we are living in North Dakota now and we miss Cafe rio.

    Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette Dressing
    3 Tbsp vegetable oil
    3 Tbsp olive oil
    1/4 c. fresh chopped cilantro
    2 Tbsp lime juice
    2 cloves minced garlic
    1 tsp sugar
    1 Tbsp vinegar
    1 small jalepeno, seeded & diced

    Combine in blender or food processor.

    • sarah says:

      i moved to fl and i when i visit family out west i literally eat there twice a day the dressing is what makes the salad. thank you so much. amazing. all my friends out here have tried it and love it. :)

  39. Acker Family says:

    Everything is so wonderful! I live in Kansas and we only get our Cafae Rio fix about once a year, I was craving it and found your site and have tried everything! Thanks for sharing…do you by chnce know how many calories are in everything? I hear so many rumors about how terrible the calorie count is and after making it, I don’t think it’s that bad…any idea?

  40. Erica says:

    Anonymous:
    I’m sorry, I don’t know the pinto bean recipe… I will try to find it out though! I think Cafe Rio ranch is less spicy so probably do it without jalapeno seeds.

    Kami and Phil:
    Thank you SO much for this recipe! I can’t wait to try it!!!

    Acker Family:
    Yes, I hear the calorie count in this dish is ridiculous, I don’t know exactly how many calories though.. to be honest.. I don’t even want to know what it is, we love this too much. I think in this case ignorance is bliss :) haha

  41. Jennalee says:

    I like how you have all of the recipes combines. Great Job!!

  42. Lisa says:

    Thank you for posting this!!! We live in CA but travel to UT periodically, and we always have to go to Cafe Rio at least once to get the sweet pork salad. I made your pork the other night and we ate it as burritos…it was perfect! I’m so excited to try the whole salad!

  43. Amber and Mackay says:

    Does anyone know whether the enchilada sauce is green or red?

  44. Erica says:

    RED.

  45. Danielle Spangler says:

    What is the size of enchilada sauce? Also, what happens if you use diet soda? Just wondering!

  46. Erica says:

    Danielle-
    I use the 12 or 14 oz can.. not the big 20oz. or whatever it is can. I think there is something in the diet soda that will break down the meat funny. I haven’t TRIED it yet, but that is just what I have heard.. it’s not worth wasting a good roast to see what exactly will happen.

  47. Danielle Spangler says:

    I just tried this recipe but with a few modifications based upon what I had in the cupboard. It still turned out AMAZING! Instead of pork I used chicken tenderloins with Caff-Free/Diet Coke. I figured that it was just chicken and if it was bad then I would have bean burritos! The only thing that I had to do was add a few tsp. of white sugar with the diet coke. The chicken shredded perfectly after 2 hours. It tasted fabulous! I am even more excited to try this with the pork and real Coke! Thanks for the recipe!

  48. Kylee says:

    Thanks so much! I live in California now with NO CAFE RIO and have been MISSING it! This came so close that my craving was cured! Ive tried other recipies for the pork and they don’t hold a candle next to this one! Thanks!

  49. Erica says:

    I am so happy to hear it! Thanks for your comments!!

  50. The Clarks says:

    THIS IS AWESOME!!! WE LOVE IT! Thank you! I don’t even know how I came across your blog but I love everything I’ve tried!

  51. Anonymous says:

    Hey! Thanks for posting these recipes. We’ve made this salad and it is so good. I’m making it for a large crowd this weekend. (17 adults and 7 kids) and I’m wondering how much you think I need to make. Also, does it matter what kind of pork I use? If you could email me I’d really appreciate it. I love your blog! hutchyhutch87@yahoo.com

  52. Anonymous says:

    Thank you SOOOO Much for these recipes. I have already tried it and we LOVE it. My husband was shocked at the pork, so thanks for making me look good.

    I have a party coming up tomorrow :) and I will be making this for about 25 adults, do you think doubling the recipe be enough.

    Please email me at warlat@yahoo.com

    THANKS SOOOO MUCH!!!!

  53. Griffiths Family says:

    I have lived in Utah all my life up until this past Nov. I am expecting a child and have been CRAVING the Sweet Pork Burritos so bad! I am so excited to make this recipe after reading the reviews!
    Do you happen to know the recipe for the mild green sauce?

  54. Erica says:

    I don’t have a recipe for the mild sauce.. To be honest I don’t think I have ever tried that sauce. I usually get the medium… and I haven’t tried to make that one either. I will have to buy jut a little cup of it and see what I can do!

  55. Leesa says:

    I can’t wait to try this out! Last year for my husband’s birthday I called Cafe Rio and begged them to overnight an order to us since we no longer live in UT. They said they couldn’t because of liability reasons.. He will be shocked when I surprise him with this on Sunday!!! Thanks for all your work!

  56. Fife Family Forever says:

    Thanks so much for this yummy recipe. We live overseas and it's nice to have a taste of home!
    However, I used the Mild sauce, not really paying attention. I will def. need to get the Medium next time. Oh well, still delicious.

  57. Melissa says:

    This was so delicious. I've made it 3 times in the past month! Thanks for the great recipe and I'm glad I came across your blog.

  58. Jolene Huff says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I've tried others & this was right on! Thanks for doing all the work so we can enjoy Cafe Rio at home!

  59. Anonymous says:

    Tortilla Strips: I have a friend who owns a Costa Vida. When I asked her about how they do their tortilla strips, she said they use a paper shredder and shred regular corn tortillas. Then they fry them up in hot oil, let them drain on paper towel and then give them a light spray with a lime spritzer (that you can buy in the salad dressing isle.)
    We used a pasta cutter instead of paper shredder to slice them, but they worked perfectly and are exactly like the real McCoy!

  60. Allie says:

    Thanks so much for the recipes!! I have a very similar one for the dressing but I find that mine is really runny and sometimes the taste of cilantro is too strong. I'm going to try your recipe but thought I would ask if yours is the same at all? Thanks!

  61. Erica says:

    Allie- sometimes it is a little runny. I don't think it is too cilantro-y though. I think it has a nice balance. Try it and let me know your opinion! Thanks for the comment!

  62. ML & C Burgoyne says:

    I tried Erica's recipes and they were wonderful! A great hit with the 30 people at our family gathering. The pork was sooo tender and delicious. I think the marinade is the real trick to that one. It was yummy before adding the enchilada sauce, chili's and sugar.
    Mary Lou

  63. ML & C Burgoyne says:

    I tried Erica's recipes and they were wonderful! A great hit with the 30 people at our family gathering. The pork was sooo tender and delicious. I think the marinade is the real trick to that one. It was yummy before adding the enchilada sauce, chili's and sugar.
    Mary Lou

  64. Anonymous says:

    I did this last night for my family and everyone loved it. Someone asked about the "mild" sauce. I use canned green enchilada sauce. I've tried several different brands and they all taste just about the same, and very close to Cafe Rio.

  65. LizzieB says:

    Try using cotija cheese instead of parmesean – it's more the type they use.

  66. Marijke says:

    I was going to say the same thing as LizzieB. Cotija cheese is what they use. I think the flavor of cotija is perfect. I bought some at Smith's.

    Your pork recipe looks like the best one I've seen. I'm making this tomorrow night and can't wait. Thanks!

    Also, you can buy tortilla strips and tortillas from Cafe Rio. I believe they sell them in packs of 10. Yum!

  67. Kortney Val and Joy Lynne says:

    I've got the same question as the other commenters wondering how to expand the recipe. Maybe make this one public on here: how successful is it to make it for a crowd? If this recipe works for 4-6, how much do you think is safe to make in one batch? I need to make it for about 30 peeps. Thanks!

  68. Erica says:

    I would say.. it depends on how big your crock pot is! If you have a huge one, triple the recipe–even quadruple if it will fit. I have had a lot of emails and comments saying it is a crowd pleaser. Good luck!! Email me or leave another comment if you have more questions or if my reply didn't help..

  69. A says:

    Erica
    I want to make this for my family reunion in 3 weeks. We plan on about 75 adults so need enough to serve about 85-90 people. Can you give me any suggestions as to increasing it? I hate to overbuy but I don't want to run out of food.
    I especially have no idea how far the dressing goes, and how much I need to make.
    I will await your response.
    Thanks

  70. Erica says:

    A-

    Yikes, I don't know what to tell you. The dressing probably makes 2-3 cups if I remember correctly. As far as the pork goes.. I would say make 10-15 times the amount given. That is saying that each serving of pork will feed 4-6 people. It depends on how many big eaters you guys have! If this doesn't help you or you have further questions, email me at favfamilyrecipes@gmail.com

    Erica

  71. Anonymous says:

    If you want it to be lower cal use coke zero does not alter the taste enuf to matter also use splenda instead of sugar in the rice

  72. Shauna says:

    I made this today and YUM! My only problem is I had to drain the black beans after adding 1 1/3 C. of tomato juice. Is there a larger size can of black beans or are they really supposed to be that runny? Or should I let the excess liquid cook off?

    Thanks!

  73. Laura says:

    I've only eaten at Cafe Rio twice in my life and had never had the pork, but so many people around here RAVE about Cafe Rio (especially the pork) that I decided I wanted to try to make it. After looking at many copycat recipes online I found yours and it seemed to be the best one. I LOVE how easy you made the directions! We have made the pork, rice, and beans twice now and both times they were AMAZING!!! We don't have anything to compare it to, but we've invited friends/family over both times who are huge CR fans and they LOVED it! These recipes are now a staple at our house!!!

  74. Anonymous says:

    What about Pepsi instead of Coke? Will that make a difference? I don't know that I can bring myself to buy Coke :)

  75. Erica says:

    sure, I am sure Pepsi would work. Let me know how it turns out!

  76. Anonymous says:

    Do you think root beer would work? Does the soda need caffeine or cola flavoring, or is it more the carbonation and sugar that makes the difference?

  77. Corina says:

    In our family we try to avoid too much sugar so I used the Coke Zero and didn't notice a taste difference. Thanks for the great recipe!

  78. Anonymous says:

    What size deep dish pans did you use?

  79. Erica says:

    I think they are like 9" maybe. they are just the general size pans they sell at the store.

  80. toblertribe says:

    Have you had the rice turn out mushy with the 3:1 ratio?

  81. Kelly and Heather says:

    Made this Salad on Saturday…tasted EXACTLY if not better than Cafe Rio. Thank you so much!! We had so much fun making it and even more fun eating it!! Not only one night but several nights!

  82. Rahjaun says:

    I Made this for dinner last night- it was HUGE hit…Thank you for sharing such a fabulous recipe- we loved it and plan on having it many many more times to come.Thank you again

    R. Warner
    SLC, UT

  83. DJ and Candra Probert says:

    We have a HUGE crush on cafe rio and have really missed it. I've tried a few different cafe rio look-alike recipes but this is BY FAR the BEST we've tried. I was practically drinking the dressing!! Mmmm!

    Thank you!!

  84. Britt Riggin says:

    We pulled it off and it was a success! My Sister-in-law and I had both had cafe rio before and thought this was amazing! especially the dressing, I could drink that stuff (ok not really, but yum!) the rest of my family hadn't had cafe rio before and were obsessed with the sweet pork. Thanks!

  85. Michelle Meadows says:

    I love this! I was so excited when I stumbled across this recipe. I go to school in Utah, and would go through serious Cafe Rio withdrawals when home in North Carolina! Thanks for the cure!

  86. Barbara Bakes says:

    Thanks for sharing your recipes. I posted about Cafe Rio salads today and linked back to your site.

  87. Kate Ricks says:

    Thank you so much! My husband and I live in England and dream about Cafe Rio! It's our first stop every time we go back to Utah. We made this last night and it was fantastic. Thank you x

  88. One- says:

    Lived in Las Vegas and visited Utah frequently, until we finally got our Cafe Rios…yey, then we moved to Washington. It has been a year since I had my favorite salad. My sister found your recipes and suprised our whole family and made everything. AWESOME!! The dressing is so yummy. The sweetness of the pork with the spicy of the dressing, makes life worth living. haha

  89. SHILLIG4FAMILY says:

    My love at cafe rio is the green mild sauce on the burritos, lots of it! do you know of a place to find that recipe!?

    I'm so excited to try this one!

  90. Nena says:

    Thanks for the recipe! Just wanted to report that I used Pepsi and it was delicious. Just like Cafe Rio. I live in Utah and have Cafe Rio often. Today eating this at home, I felt like I was having CR take-out. Great copycat :)

  91. Leslie says:

    we made this last weekend when fellow CR addicts came for dinner, and everyone loved it. My husband even suggested that we start having people over for dinner regularly and that I serve this(He is usually not a socialite)!It was delicious, thank you.

  92. Carol says:

    Amazingly yummy!!!!!! Enough said . . .thanks for sharing!!!

  93. littlewadmod says:

    I moved to West Virginia over a year ago and haven't been home to UT in two years. I made the dressing and tortilla strips tonight and a delicious salad. I am planning on making the pork tomorrow and giving my guests the option of salads or burritos. My question is: do you think it would be okay to cook the pork on low for like 7 hours vs. on high for 3-4 hours for the first part of the cooking process? If I do, should I cook it for less after adding the enchilada sauce combo? I would like to be able to let it cook while I'm at work but I don't want to dry it out. Thanks so much!

  94. Erica says:

    I think it tastes BETTER when you cook it longer on low. It will turn out great. Just make sure when you are cooking it on low there is enough liquid so it doesn't dry out. You can cook it the same (2 hours on low) after adding the enchilada sauce. You are going to love it!!!

  95. Bonnie Lyman says:

    How many people does this recipe serve?

  96. Molly says:

    Has anyone had trouble with the dressing turning bitter?
    I have made this recipe at least 10 different times, and more often that not, the dressing comes out unbearably bitter.
    I have tried everything to remedy this (from using only the leaves of the cilantro to roasting the tomatillo).
    Suggestions?

  97. Jill says:

    Loved it! Tried it for the first time today. Cafe Rio is just down the hill from us but I think we'll be cooking at home! Thanks for the great recipes!

  98. krbailey says:

    I make a dressing that's practically the same but with a few modifications and it turned out great! Here it is:

    1 buttermilk ranch dressing packet (make as per recipe)
    2 tomatillos (tomato like vegetable with a husk around them)
    ½ bunch of cilantro
    1 clove garlic
    Juice of 1 lime
    1 jalapeño (Use the seeds too if you like it spicy. You could substitute a few drops of green tobasco for the jalapeno.)

    Use a food processor to blend all the ingredients well. Refrigerate.

  99. krbailey says:

    I forgot to mention to make the ranch packet as directed then mix in with everything else!

  100. lydia says:

    I'm very excited to try this recipe! My questions are: Have you tried freezing the pork (after it's all made) for later use? How long does the dressing last in the fridge? Do you feel like you save money doing this yourself, or do you just like to make it instead of eating out?

    Thanks Erica, I will definitely be browsing your other recipes as well.

  101. Erica says:

    @ Lydia-

    Yes you can freeze the pork, just heat it up in a pot on the stovetop when you are ready to use it. It will last probably 5 days in the fridge. I feel like I save $$ because it makes 4-6 salads.. which at Cafe Rio that would be 30-40 bucks. I also make it because we moved to Washington state and there are no Cafe Rios here so we have to make our own to satisfy our cravings! Hope this helps! Thanks for checking out our site!

  102. Becca says:

    So I found you through a google search when my pregnancy cravings and very long distance from a Cafe Rio led me to believe I might DIE if I didn't get some soon! So I invited over a bunch of people today and followed this to a T and I have to say it was incredible!! We used the tins and everything and everyone was raving and raving about how "good it felt to be back in Utah." So much fun. Thank you!! :)

  103. Laurel says:

    Big hit, making this for the second time in my house tomorrow! Need to copy the recipes to my own cards!

  104. Hizzeather says:

    You rock…thanks so much for posting this. I got ambitious and did a 10 pound roast….needless to say, it took a lot longer, but it tastes soooo good and we are going to be grubbin' Cafe Rio style for a week now! Thanks!!! :)

  105. Pollypickles says:

    Hi there,

    I didn't read through all of the previous comments to see if this question was already asked but I was curious as to what size cans you used for both the green chilis and enchilada sauce. Also, I am assumming that you used the red enchilada sauce and not the chili verde (green) kind?

    Thanks so much for posting this. I am looking forward to trying it.

  106. Erica says:

    Yes, it's the 10oz RED enchilada sauce. I will put it on the recipe, it is a common question!

  107. Garret says:

    I put in the whole jalapeño into the ranch and my mouth is on FIRE!!! I even removed the seeds!

  108. Erica says:

    Really?? I wonder if the jalapeno you got was just super spicy? I have never had the ranch turn out spicy, even when we have served it to people who can't handle spicy. I don't know what to tell you… that is unusual!

  109. Steph says:

    THANK YOU!!! I made this last week and everyone that ate it could not get over how much it tasted like the real thing. Your recipes are spot on.

  110. Julie says:

    My husband has been begging for me to make this… luckily he helped. It was very delicious but I would have to say you must be a master chef for it to take only an hour (after meat is in the crock pot) or maybe you separated all your recipes out because that took forever to do. Delicious though. We did the pork recipe, the ranch but slightly different version, the tortilla strips, the beans, the rice, and guacamole… that is 6 recipes!!! I'm tired. :)

    For anyone who does Bountiful Baaskets… the mexi pack come with all the ingredients you would need… also you can buy their tortilla pack and it has 36 of those large cafe rio style tortillas along with 24 small flour and 24 corn! (When these are available as add ons though, I have seen it once in the past month or so and grabbed them well I could).

    I LOVE all the recipes on your blog… we are going to be trying out a bunch more!

  111. Julie says:

    Oh instead of jalepenos I used serranno peppers, we already had them and they just aren't as hot as the jalepenos but still give a good kick.

  112. Jeanne Anderson says:

    Thank You, THANK YOU! It takes quite a bit of preparation and work, but we do it together as a family, which makes it fun. And its so great to impress company with! One Question: How much water do you add while its cooking in the crock pot? Should it be totally submersed with the coke?

  113. Erica says:

    @ J Anderson- The past few times I haven't put in any water and JUST did coke. No, it should not be completely submerged. One can of coke should do it.

  114. stonemaster says:

    Oh my gosh, thank you!! I've been craving this since I first tried it a year ago and resigned secretly hoped that cafe rio would eventually come to NZ. This receipe was amazing!!

  115. Bethanie says:

    I am also a huge fan of the cafe rio pork salad! I found your website and used your recipes for the lime rice and the tortilla strips, it turned out awesome!

  116. Rachel says:

    So I made a sweet pork recipe a while back, and it was good…but I have a party I am hosting that I want to make it for. The recipe I used is very similar but instead of enchilada sauce, it uses tomato sauce and taco seasoning…I really want to use your version for the party, but I am nervous because I don't have time to try it out. Have you used the version I have used before, and you still really like your version better?? Thank you!

  117. Erica says:

    @ Rachel—
    I haven't used that version before.. sorry! It would probably taste close to the same. I guess all I can say is read the reviews/comments above!

  118. Tim and Tric says:

    Thanks for this recipe! I am excited to try it. I bought all the ingredients yesterday and realized I didn't pack my crockpot when I moved. Do you know how I could convert the pork recipe to cook it in the oven instead. I have a casserole dish if I can cook it in that. Thanks :)

  119. Erica says:

    If the casserole has an oven safe lid, that would be GREAT.. just cook at 250-degrees for about 8 hours. A covered dutch oven would work great too. Good luck and let me know how it turns out!

  120. Tim and Tric says:

    Thanks!! I used my casserole dish at 250 for 8 hours and it was great!! It was a little dry so when I made it again I used tin foil to cover it instead of my casserole lid so less moisture got out and I only cooked it for 6 hours total and it turned out perfect! Again thanks! This recipe is delicious and will tide us over until we can have cafe rio again!!

  121. J and L says:

    How many people does the salad recipe feed? We've tried the pulled pork and it is the best recipe I've tried! Definitely the closest to the real thing! BUT we're wanting to do the salads for a dinner party and are not sure how many the recipe feeds.
    Thanks!

  122. Erica says:

    @J and L — This recipe feeds about 4-6 depending on how hungry people are!

  123. J and L says:

    Thanks Erica! I was just reading through your comments and saw you had posted it earlier. Sorry!
    BUT I also saw the post about the jalapeno without seeds being too spicy and I have an answer! The older the jalapeno, the spicier it is. So how do you tell? Jalapenos as they age get fine, white lines or stripes on their skin. The more white stripes, the older and spicier it is.
    http://www.produceoasis.com/Items_folder/Vegetables/Jalapeno.html
    Hope that helps!

  124. Erica says:

    @J&L — I had no idea about the jalapenos!!!! That is great to know because we grill jalapenos all the time. Sometimes they are SUPER hot and sometimes they are pretty mild and I never knew why. NOW I know how to tell! THANK YOU!!!!

  125. love.boxes says:

    I love these recipes and I have made it several times. I thought there was a little something missing in the pork.. I added a tsp. of cumin. YUM! I am making this recipe for the 5th time.

  126. Jared, Randi and Baby White says:

    I'm so excited!!! I'm 6 months pregnant and live so far from Costa Vida but I crave this salad! It's cooking as we speak!!!

  127. theconnexion says:

    Thanks for sharing! We actually tried the pork and rick this past weekend and it was a hit! I’ve shared your link with my facebook friend and family! :)

  128. Vanessa says:

    What is the serving size for all these recipes? I am assuming it serves 6? (Rice, beans, pork…)

    Thanks!

    • Vanessa says:

      Nevermind, I saw the thread…4-6. You could put that in the recipe! :)

  129. Cheryl says:

    Do you have a recipe for your pico de gallo?

    • Erica says:

      We usually use this salsa as our pico .. it is delicious! Click HERE to be redirected to it

  130. Debi Whiting says:

    I made this tonight for “Cinco de Mayo”. It was a big hit! Yesterday we ate lunch at Cafe Rio, and I have to say it was sooo close to the real thing! Thank you for this recipe!

  131. Amy B says:

    I have used this recipe over and over again for years and have referred many people to your blog to find it. Bravo! Still delicious and we just made it for cinco de mayo. Everyone loves it and thinks it tastes just like cafe rio. YUM!
    love your blog!

  132. shannon says:

    For what it’s worth, Costa Vida’s Sweet Pork recipe includes butter. I know because I have a serious allergy and they had to tell me that. Confirmed with their executive chef. (Can’t imagine why it’s necessary, but for any purists out there trying to absolutely nail the recipe, thought you’d want to know.) :) Thanks for sharing your versions!! “:)

  133. Kim says:

    WOW! this swept me and my husband off our feet. i have tried several cafe rio fakes. none compare. this one is so good. try it!

  134. Alice says:

    We found Cafe Rio by accident on our way from MN to San Francisco. Planned our timing on our trip home to stop again. Just made and it was as good as we remembered.

  135. Becky says:

    Thank you for the recipes Erica! Here is my feedback after making these. I know you posted this a long time ago, so maybe you don’t even care! Haha! But here it is anyway! The Cilantro Lime Rice – I think you can omit the sugar. I have tasted Costa Vida and Cafe Rio’s rice and it doesn’t taste sweet to me. Also, I think the ratio of liquid to dry rice is incorrect – usually rice is 1 part uncooked rice to 2 parts water. So when I made the rice the 2nd time, I increased the uncooked rice to 1 1/2 cups and it turned out well. On the Black Beans – I think you can just omit all of those other ingredients and just use the beans straight from the can. Cafe Rio and Costa Vida’s beans taste pretty plain jane to me. Of course, if you want to jazz them up, then more power to ya! :) But if someone is short on time, they can just use plain old black beans. Also, I think that is too much tomato juice for the beans. They were very soupy! Of course, I did multiply the recipe, so that could have exacerbated it. If I made them again, I would use half the amount of tomato juice. I think that the Black Beans recipe would make a great base for chili, however. :) Again, thank you for posting these recipes! Overall it turned out very well.

  136. Brandy says:

    I tried your recipe with a few variations and I got ral good reviews :) I am not able to eat it due to health issues but I remember how good it was. I would go there at least once or twice a week when I worked near one. Then it closed :(

  137. Amy says:

    I made this tonight and my husband raved about it. His comment was, “better than Cafe Rio.” Thank you for doing all the work and for sharing!

  138. Laurel says:

    Wow, ladies~ I live in non-Cafe Rio- country and had a serious craving. Did this ever hit the spot. It is a tiny bit tedious with all the different things that make it come together BUT, hands down, it is *SO* worth it! Ya’ll nailed it!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  139. Jan says:

    Has anyone tried this recipe with chicken instead of pork?

  140. jan says:

    Would it be possible to make this using chicken instead of pork? Has anyone tried it?

    • laura says:

      http://www.food.com/recipe/cafe-rio-chicken-222868

      This is the recipe I use for the chicken.

  141. Kylie says:

    I am making this receipe tonight in Adelaide, Australia and can’t wait to eat it with my family. Just wondering if I can substitute canned tomatillos for fresh, as we don’t eat them here and have to get them imported

    • Emily says:

      Fresh will work fine! Yay, it’s exciting for us to hear about people reading our blog from other countries!

  142. Courtney Putnam says:

    Unbelievable likeness of the original. I’ve been told that Dr. Pepper was the correct soda ingredient and I’ve seen root beer used. Coke is the only way to go! Fantastic job replicating this recipe. We doubled the rice and beans and quadroupled the meat. It took two days to create this meal (initial croc cook on day one and two-hour cook on day two) but was well worth the effort. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  143. Amanda says:

    We liked this so much over at Copycat Crafts that we featured it recently! You can view it here
    http://www.copycatcrafts.com/cafe-rio-sweet-pork-salad-copycat/

    We’d love it if you’d like to display a featured button! You can grab your button on the right hand side of your post. Thanks!

    • Erica says:

      Thanks for the link-back!

  144. Holly Larsen says:

    I’ve heard that if you use roasted garlic to use Dr. Pepper. Regular garlic, Coke. I haven’t tried it yet, but since I like roasted garlic I might use Dr. Pepper.

  145. Jess says:

    Fabulous recipes! Loved it! My family loves it. I think my daughter could drink the cilantro lime ranch dressing! Thank you so much for sharing your recipes!

    • Erica says:

      haha I am totally with your daughter! That ranch is my favorite! Thanks for the nice comment!

  146. Mary says:

    Erica, How many people do these recipes (the beans, rice, pork, etc) serve as written? I need to increase it to feed 40. Thanks so much. It’s going to be a huge hit at a women’s retreat I’m going to in June.

    • Erica says:

      The beans and rice should should serve about 4-6… the pork might be closer to 6-8 if you use a full 2 pounds of pork. Hope this helps! – Erica

  147. M.Anderson says:

    Thank you, we LOVE, LOVE, LOVE These recipes, so easy to follow and taste beyond fantastic! I’m getting ready to make all of these recipes again to take to our family reunion, where I know they will be a huge success! Thank you for creating them for all of us!!!

  148. Brin says:

    So I just made everyone of these recipes besides the tortillas and they were all pretty good. Here’s what I was a little disappointed with. First the rice. It really needed salt. The beans with tomato juice? It was not good. I just drained the beans but didn’t rinse them and added some garlic, cumin, lime, and cilantro like the recipe said and then a sprinkle of sugar. It was a lot more like costa vida or cafe rio that way. Everything else was pretty delicious. Expect the pork. It was soooo bland! And It is not easy by the way. With all the marinading and draining and work you have to do, I was expecting some amazing pork but it was really disappointing. It was definitely missing something. Save yourself time, don’t bother marinading the pork, just put a half a can of coke, a half can of green chiles (I like putting the chiles in a food processer before I add them to the crock pot), a half can of red encilauda sauce, 3/4 cup of brown sugar, a 1/3 cup of soy sauce, a 1/4 a tsp. of garlic salt, stir it together in the crock pot then throw some pork in! Cook on low for 8 hours and bam. You got youself delicious sweet pork without all the work. The ranch recipe was great. The vinaigrette needs some fixing. Other than that everything was pretty good.

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