Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad is an amazing copycat Mexican salad loaded with shredded pork, seasoned black beans, cilantro lime rice, lettuce, chips, guac, and drizzled with a creamy cilantro lime dressing. This is sure to become a family favorite!
Since I haven’t lived by a Cafe Rio Mexican Grill in 7 years, I’ve had to develop copycat recipes to satisfy my cravings and this Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad sure hits the spot! I’ve shared the recipes for the sweet pork, seasoned black beans, cilantro lime rice, and cilantro lime dressing so now it’s time to put it all together.
SWEET PORK MEXICAN SALAD
This is one of my favorite meals to make for entertaining guests and extended family. Everyone goes crazy over it! When I make it for my own little family it lasts us for 3 days and everyone is always excited for these leftovers!
HOW TO MAKE CAFE RIO SWEET PORK SALAD:
Time needed: 8 hours.
This salad is made up of a few recipes but they’re not too difficult and some can be made in advance.
- COOK THE PORK
Pop the pork in the slow cooker in the morning.
- MAKE THE DRESSING
Blend up the dressing up to 2 days in advance and store it covered in the fridge.
- FINISH THE PORK
Shred the pork, add the sauce, and finish cooking.
- COOK THE RICE & BEANS
Get the rice cooking, followed by the beans.
- PREP THE VEGETABLES
Chop the lettuce and tomatoes (this could also be done up to 2 days in advance) and make your guacamole.
- ASSEMBLE SALAD
Toast or heat tortillas (if desired) and place it in a shallow bowl or on a plate. Layer on the cilantro rice, black beans, pork, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro, guacamole, sour cream, tortilla strips, cheese, and lime wedges. Drizzle dressing over the top.
The leftovers of this salad can be used to make tacos, burritos, or enchiladas (smother in red enchilada sauce).
You can make Baked Chicken Taquitos or quesadillas and dip it in the dressing or you can freeze the dressing.
If you can’t find queso freso next to the cheese, try near the smoked sausage.
The dressing can be made up to 2 days in advance. The beans can be made as well and just heated. The rice is best fresh but can be made in advance, I just recommend waiting to add the cilantro to it.
When making this for guests, I just set everything out at the bar or on a table and let people make their own salads.
TOOLS USED TO MAKE THIS SALAD:
- Large Shallow Bowl– You’ve probably seen this bowl a lot on Garnish & Glaze. It’s the perfect size for large salads, pasta, or for vegetables.
- Small Weck Jar– I love these jars for dressing and sauces.
- Slow Cooker– This is very similar to the one I use but it has the addition of a lockable lid which is awesome for when you are transporting food for a party or pot luck, especially soup.
LOOKING FOR MORE MEXICAN DISHES? CHECK OUT THESE:
- Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas
- 3-Ingredient Salsa Chicken Tacos
- Chile Relleno Casserole
- Spicy Fish Tacos
- The Best Homemade Salsa
Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad
- 1 recipe Cafe Rio Sweet Pork
- 1 recipe Cilantro Lime Rice
- 1 recipe Cilantro Lime Dressing
- 1 recipe Seasoned Black Beans
- 2-3 Romaine lettuce hearts, shredded
- 1 1/2 cups tortilla strips
- 3/4 cup Queso Fresco cheese
- 1 cup tomatoes, diced
- 2 limes, cut in wedges
- 1/4 cup cilantro, for garnish
- Sour cream, optional topping
- guacamole, optional topping
- 8 large burrito size tortillas, toasted or warmed
- Assemble salads by layering in the following order: tortilla, rice, beans, pork, lettuce, tortilla strips, tomatoes, cheese, guacamole, and dressing (or serve on the side). Add a lime wedge and a few cilantro leaves for garnish.*