Cafe Rio-Style Taco Salad

24 Apr

It’s been pretty dang hot around here over the last week so my food preferences have shifted quite a bit. Last week was all about the soups but this week I just want something on the cooler side. I’ve been wanting to recreate my favorite Cafe Rio salad/tostada so I gave it a go last night. 

Now, I didn’t do the full-fledged salad with the roast beef and rice, etc. However, I did find a fabulous copycat recipe for the creamy Cafe Rio Cilantro dressing. I made the dressing first so it could sit in the refrigerator while I finished making the rest of the salad components. I went with a healthier, cheaper option and made some taco meat using ground turkey *cough* and a packet of taco seasoning *cough*. I told Seth after he’d finished eating that I’d used ground turkey instead of beef and he was shocked it hadn’t been ground beef. Trust me, no one will know the difference.  I also ended up making my own taco shell bowls. The store-bought ones were $4 for a box of 4. A little steep for my tastes, especially since I’m sure half of them would have been broken anyway. But, luckily I remembered some wavy metal bowls Seth’s coworker had given us for making just this sort of thing. I used some whole wheat tortillas I had on hand, pressed them down into the bowls, sprayed them with vegetable oil spray and baked them at 400°F for 10 minutes. And I’m telling you they tasted fabulous! Baking the shells gave them a great sweet, nutty flavor. I’m sure you could also use any other small oven-safe bowl/ramekin to make your own tostada bowls, they just won’t be wavy like these ones.

The rest of the assembly was super easy. I heated up some canned black beans and put a small scoop in the bottom of the bowl, followed by a scoop of taco meat, & grated cheddar cheese. I topped that will some chopped green leaf lettuce, a scoop of sour cream & pico de gallo. Garnished with cilantro and a side of delicious cilantro lime dressing and we were set! Seriously… this is one of the best dinners we’ve had in a while. So good!

Cilantro Lime Dressing Recipe

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One Response to “Cafe Rio-Style Taco Salad”

  1. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide April 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    Looks awesome off to check it out now.

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