Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad Copycat

4.98 from 95 votes
178 Comments

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The Complete Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad Copycat Recipe, right at your fingertips! So easy to make at home, and tastes exactly like the popular restaurant version.

A homemade cafe rio sweet pork salad in a metal tin
Featured with this Recipe
  1. Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad
  2. Ingredients in a Sweet Pork Salad
  3. What is the Difference Between the Creamy Tomatillo Dressing and the Cilantro Lime Dressing?
  4. Frequently Asked Questions
  5. How to Make the Sweet Pork
  6. More Cafe Rio Recipes
  7. How to Make Cafe Rio’s Sweet Pork Salad
  8. Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad Copycat Recipe

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad

Thank you to all you die hard Cafe Rio and Costa Vida fans for making us the number one site for Cafe Rio copycat recipes! If you haven’t tried this easy recipe for the famous Sweet Pork Salad yet, you are in for a treat! We LOVE Cafe Rio and Costa Vida – and we’re very picky about our Cafe Rio sweet pork.

This recipe tastes exactly like the restaurant version, but so easy because you can make it right at home! We also played around with the rice, the beans, and the house ranch dressing. Finally, we nailed it! This recipe tastes exactly like having Cafe Rio take-out. You can even use a lot of these ingredients to try and imitate Cafe Rio’s tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, or nachos. Try it for yourself and you will see what we mean! Be sure to check out all our other tasty Mexican Recipes! We have all kinds of yummy Mexican dishes to round out your meals and celebrations!

A homemade cafe rio sweet pork salad in a metal tin


Ingredients in a Sweet Pork Salad

This recipe has a lot of ingredients and a lot of separate recipes within the recipe. Don’t be intimidated! If you are wanting to simplify, you can just make the sweet pork and the dressing and get everything else store-bought. You can also make the beans, rice, pork, and dressing all a day or two before hand to make assembly quicker.

  • flour tortilla < click the link for our homemade recipe
  • shredded cheese (Mexican blend)
  • cilantro lime rice < click the link for our homemade recipe
  • black beans < click the link for our homemade recipe
  • Cafe Rio sweet pork < click the link for our homemade recipe
  • leafy green or Romaine lettuce (not iceberg)
  • pico de gallo < click the link for our homemade recipe
  • guacamole < click the link for our homemade recipe
  • tortilla strips < click the link for our homemade recipe
  • Cotija cheese (crumbled)
  • fresh cilantro (they usually do sprigs but I like fresh chopped cilantro)

Cafe Rio’s Dressings

Ingredient Variations

If you have some picky eaters who don’t like guac or pico de gallo but don’t want the salad too plain or want to try some different ingredients to make your salad your own; here are some great options that will compliment your salad.

  • green chilies
  • onions
  • lime juice
  • refried beans
  • sliced avocado
A homemade cafe rio sweet pork salad in a metal tin

What is the Difference Between the Creamy Tomatillo Dressing and the Cilantro Lime Dressing?

We love both of these dressings so much – it is always hard to choose! They are both made with tomatillos, cilantro, and lime so the basic flavor is the same. The difference is that the Ranch Dressing is thick and creamy like a traditional ranch dressing. The Cilantro Lime Dressing is more of a vinaigrette. It really just comes down to preference!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find the metal tins for serving?

The tins Cafe Rio uses are 9″ round disposable foil pans. You can find them at most restaurant supply stores or on Amazon: Disposable Foil Pans (just like what Cafe Rio uses)

How many people can I feed with this recipe?

The recipe below is the proportions for one salad. However, if you make up all the recipes (rice, beans, pork, etc.) it can make 4-6 salads, depending on how hungry people are.

Can I use chicken instead of pork?

When you are ordering your salad at Cafe Rio, you have several different options as far as the meat goes. Not just pork. You can get it with grilled chicken, shredded chicken, shredded beef, or steak. Any of these work well with the salad!

As far as preparing the chicken the same way as the pork, I wouldn’t recommend it. They are two totally different types of meat and it really won’t taste the same. If you are going to use chicken, my favorite way is grilled and sliced.

How to Make the Sweet Pork

Read Next: Easy Dinner Ideas

More Cafe Rio Recipes

We have some of the best recipe copycats of our favorite menu items at Cafe Rio. You will want to try them all!

How to Make Cafe Rio’s Sweet Pork Salad

A homemade cafe rio sweet pork salad in a metal tin

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad Copycat

4.98 from 95 votes
The Complete Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad Recipe, right at your fingertips! So easy to make at home, and tastes exactly like the popular restaurant version.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Time to Cook Sweet Pork 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican/Spanish
Servings 1 salad

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Lay a tortilla in the bottom of an aluminum tin, a bowl, or plate. Sprinkle cheese on it, and put in the oven at 375 for about 5 min or until the cheese is melted.
    A tortilla with melted cheese on top
  • Remove from oven and add rice, beans, and pork.
    A tortilla filled with cheese, rice, beans, and pork
  • Next add the lettuce. Top with pico de gallo, guacamole, tortilla strips, cilantro, and Cotija cheese.
    A homemade cafe rio sweet pork salad in a metal tin
  • Serve with the cilantro ranch or vinaigrette dressing and enjoy!
    Dressing being poured over a salad

Notes

Recipe Tips:

  • Get 9″ round Disposable Foil Pans for your burritos for the full restaurant effect:(just like what Cafe Rio uses)
  • The Ranch Dressing is thick and creamy like a traditional ranch dressing.
  • The Cilantro Lime Dressing is more of a vinaigrette dressing.
  • If you are wanting to use a different dressing I would recommend a chipotle ranch or a balsamic vinaigrette.
  • The recipe below is the proportions for one salad. However, if you make up all the recipes (rice, beans, pork, etc.) it can make 4-6 salads, depending on how hungry people are.
  • We prefer to store the leftovers in separate airtight containers in the fridge. Leftover sweet pork can also be stored in the freezer, thaw in the refrigerator when ready to use.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 783kcalCarbohydrates: 87gProtein: 37gFat: 34gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 1771mgPotassium: 842mgFiber: 12gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 9050IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 423mgIron: 5mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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4.98 from 95 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. I am wanting to do this for a family reunion. Can you make the rice and beans in advance to freeze do you? If so, what is the best way?

    1. Yes you can freeze them! I would suggest freezing them in ziplock bags and thawing them out in the fridge the night before serving.

  2. 5 stars
    We don’t have cafe rio where I live so I’ve never tasted the restaurant version but we LOVE this salad nonetheless!

  3. 5 stars
    I LOVE this recipe!! I have made it several times and it is a huge hit, thank you so much!! It is delicious, I highly recommend it!
    You have made it so easy to complete the whole Cafe Rio Sweet Pulled Pork Salads, thank you thank you!

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