So Cafe Rio is probably my favorite place to eat. I could eat there two or three times a week and not get sick of it. Their fresh ingredients and made from scratch recipes totally win me over. Not to mention that a plant-based fool like me can go crazy there and not break the calorie bank (If you order a pork, chicken or beef salad there with all the fixins, you will be somewhere in the ballpark for 1,200 calories for a salad!).
Their website is pretty cool because it has this page with information for vegetarians and vegans!
Here is how I order: Tostada with small whole wheat tortilla instead of fried corn shell, black and pinto beans, no rice (it’s not brown, and it’s converted rice, ew), a scoop of mild enchilada sauce, no cheese, extra shredded lettuce, extra limes, no tortilla strips, extra salsa fresca (I like a little spice!), guacamole, no sour cream, no cojita (cheese) and NO DRESSING (Their Cilantro lime dressing is vegan, but is basically cilantro in a pool of oil and not tasty).
I used to just be pleased to eat it that way with the enchilada sauce, limes and salsa fresca being plentiful instead of dressing.
No more. I now bring my own dressing, yes it’s a bit ridiculous, but I can’t help myself! I love their creamy dressing and have been so sad that I can’t have it.
Of course like most things vegan, it’s not a perfect flavor substitution, but it’s pretty dang good and has all the elements you need to make a Cafe Rio fan like myself really, really happy. Oh and I made 2 versions. One is oil free and the other is made with vegenaise (based on Amanda’s Vegan Ranch) and probably tastes a little more like the real deal.
Knock off Cafe Rio Creamy Dressing 1 (Oil Free)
3 chopped tomatillos
1/3 C. raw cashews
1 1/4 C. unsweetened soymilk
1 T. chia seeds
2 T. lime juice
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 t. ground black pepper
2 diced scallions
1/2 C. packed chopped cilantro
1 t. salt
1 t. spike seasoning
Blend till combined.
Knock off Cafe Rio Creamy Dressing 2
1 cup vegan mayonnaise (original vegenaise is best)
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 T. fresh lime juice
2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 scallion, chopped
1 large handful fresh chopped cilantro
3 diced tomatillos
2 T. raw cashews
Toss all in blender, and whizz up until chopped and mixed.
Yield: 1.5 Cups
Of course either dressing is delicious on your own Cafe Rio type creation at home. Enjoy!
Accidental Overnight Dark Chocolate Vegan Pudding
I originally made this as a chocolate banana smoothie for an after school snack for my daughter. (I drank half, makes 2 servings). She left it on the counter-top, so I stuck it in the fridge and forgot it was there. The next morning, I found it in the fridge and was going to chuck it, but she wanted it. It had turned solid somehow. It was thick creamy and spoon-able and even tastier then when I made it the day before.
1 1/2 C. vanilla almond milk
2 heaping T. cocoa powder
2 heaping T. Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter (has replaced nutella at our house and is divine)
splash of pure maple syrup
Blend. Refrigerate overnight, serve.