Cafe Rio Steak Salad

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If you love Cafe Rio as much as we do, you will LOVE this salad! Being more than and hour away from the nearest Cafe Rio, this ALWAYS fills the void until I can visit again! This recipe is about 5 recipes in one, but it is well worth it. We like to make it in bulk and serve it at get-togethers and family functions! (You’ll also love our Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Copycat, too!)

Serves: 4-6

Cafe Rio Steak Salad

This Steak Salad tastes just like the real deal! It's the perfect restaurant recipe to enjoy from the comfort of your own home - no take out necessary!

3 hrPrep Time

3 hrTotal Time

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  • 4-6 flour tortillas
  • 1 cup cilantro lime rice (see recipe below)
  • 2 cups black beans (see recipe below)
  • 2 lbs steak (see recipe below)
  • 1 bunch romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup pico de gallo (see recipe below)
  • 1 cup guacamole (see recipe below)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, for topping
  • 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, for topping (or Cotija if you have it)
  • 1 cup tortilla strips, for topping
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, for topping
  • cilantro lime dressing (see recipe below)


  1. Take one flour tortilla and place on the bottom of bowl or plate.
  2. Top with rice, then beans, and then the steak.
  3. Add romaine lettuce.
  4. Top with pico, guacamole, and sour cream.
  5. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, tortilla strips, and cilantro.
  6. Serve with cilantro lime dressing.

Cilantro Lime Rice
Cilantro Lime Rice:
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 35 mins

1 cup uncooked rice
1 teaspoon butter or margarine
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 (15 oz) can chicken broth
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
3 Tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

In a saucepan combine rice, butter, garlic, 1 teaspoon lime juice, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low 15?20 minutes, until rice is tender. Remove from heat. In a small bowl combine 1 tablespoon lime juice, sugar and cilantro. Pour over hot cooked rice and mix in as you fluff the rice.


black beans
Black Beans
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 15 mins

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup tomato juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it (about 2?3 minutes). Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro.

steak marinade
Steak Marinade

Prep time: 40 mins (includes marinade time)
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 50 mins

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, crushed
1-2 lbs steak, sliced about 1/2″ thick (any cut will do ? the longer you marinade,¬†the better it gets).

In a medium Tupperware container or re?sealable bag, whisk together honey,¬†soy sauce, lemon juice, ginger and garlic. Add in steak, and mix until coated.¬†Marinade for at least 30 minutes (sometimes I’ll even let it sit overnight for great¬†flavor). Grill over medium heat until steak pieces reach desired doneness.

quick pico de gallo 2
Pico De Gallo
Prep time: 40 mins (includes refrigeration time)
Total time: 40 mins

2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 jalape√Īo, seeded or chopped (more or less, depending on how hot you like it)
2-3 sprigs fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 green onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves freshly minced garlic
juice of one lime
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Combine tomato, onions, jalape√Īo, garlic, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Stir¬†until evenly distributed. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

easy guacamole
Prep time: 40 mins (includes chill time)
Total time: 40 mins

2 avocados
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 ripe tomato, chopped
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper, to taste

Peel and mash avocados in a medium serving bowl. Stir in onion, garlic, tomato, lime juice, salt and pepper. Season with any remaining lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Chill for half an hour to blend flavors.

cilantro ranch

Cilantro Ranch Dressing:

Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 5 mins

1 packet TRADITIONAL Hidden Valley Ranch mix (not BUTTERMILK)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
2 tomatillos, husk removed and diced
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon minced garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 jalape√Īo (more or less depending on how hot you like it)

Mix all ingredients together in a blender.


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8 Responses to “Cafe Rio Steak Salad”

  1. Ali Hibbard
    How much tomato juice do you use in the black beans? For some reason my computer is showing a "?" instead of an amount. There are a bunch of other "?"'s showing up as well, but the rest all seem to correspond with where a "-" would make sense. Thanks!

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