Gluten Free Cafe Rio Chicken Salad

There are a bazillion copy-cat Cafe Rio salad recipes out there - I've got at least 3 different variations in my recipe box. (Cafe Rio is a yummy fresh Mex restaurant out West).  In my humble opinion, they are all super delicious and really similar so it doesn't really matter which one you make!  This salad involves making 3 recipe (4 if you're making gluten free tortillas): Green Chili Rice, Creamy Tomatillo Dressing, and Seasoned Chicken.  

Cafe Rio chicken salad is served in layers.  First cheese is melted onto a flour tortilla (delicious with a gluten free tortilla, corn tortillas or no tortilla!) then it is filled with the green chili rice, black or pinto beans (we prefer black) and shredded chicken.  All of this yumminess is topped with the salad greens of your choice (they use romaine, but we use spinach because it's so good for you!), and if you're really ambitious you can add pico de gallo, guacamole and tortilla strips before drizzling on the amazing Creamy Tomatillo Dressing.  Yum!  I'm already looking forward to having leftovers tomorrow!

Seasoned Chicken
5 pounds chicken breasts or tenders
1 bottle Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing (always check ingredients for gluten!)
1 Tablespoon Chili powder
1 Tablespoon cumin
Place everything in the crockpot and stir to coat the chicken.  Cook on high 2-3 hours or low 4-6 hours.  (If chicken is frozen, cook on high 4-5 hours) Shred chicken before serving.

Green Chili Rice
3 cups water
4 teaspoons gluten free chicken bullion
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
1 can mild diced green chilies
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 cups rice (not instant)
1 Tablespoon butter
Combine ingredients in a rice cooker and cook per manufacturers directions or cook stove top following the directions on the rice package.

Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
3 medium tomatillos, peeled and rinsed
1 package dry ranch buttermilk dressing (double check ingredients for gluten)
1 cup gluten free mayonaisse
1/2 - 1 cup buttermilk (start with 1/2 and add more if dressing is too thick)
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 clove garlic
1/4 -1 jalepeno (depending on how spicy you like it)
juice of 1 lime
Dump everything into a blender and mix until smooth.  Add more buttermilk if dressing is too thick.  Chill until ready to serve.  

Additonal ingredients for salad:
black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
gluten free tortillas
shredded cheese
salad greens

Optional Ingredients for salad:
Salsa (pico de gallo)
tortilla strips or chips
any other topping that sounds good to you!


Angi Gerrie said...

Let's make these in UTAH! I keep meaning to make tortillas and I never do... if we do it in Utah and I remember how easy it is, then maybe I can talk Kyle into them. I have been craving a burrito for months.

Sarah Schatz - menus for limited diets said...

This looks really delicious. I would need to find some dairy free alternative for the dressings, etc. but it looks yummy.