June 11, 2010 | Home >In the News >Cafe Rio Salad Dressing (Eating out vs at Home)
Cafe Rio Salad Dressing (Eating out vs at Home)
June 11, 2010 | Home >In the News >Cafe Rio Salad Dressing (Eating out vs at Home)

Cafe Rio Salad Dressing (Eating out vs at Home)

When SHK reader Angie sent me this email, I knew I needed to share it:

I had a gift certificate to (a certain restaurant) so we decided to go out to eat last night and use it. We don’t usually order appetizers, but last night the sample platter was on special for 5.99 and it had quesadillas on it so we thought the kids could help eat those. Don has this cool thing on his phone were you can look up any food and it will tell you the nutrition facts. So we looked up this appetizer from the restaurant and I was shocked!!! We were so grossed out that we didn’t dare finish eating it!
These numbers are approximate because I can’t remember the exact number but I am estimating down.
Calories: 2,500
fat: 168 grams
sat fat: 48 grams
sodium: 6000 mg
So this is more calories than you should have in one day (or about as many depending on who you are), about three times more fat than you should have in a day, and three times more sodium than anyone should have in ONE DAY! (And these numbers are being generous.)
Makes me not want to eat out ever again! And it blows my mind that restaurants are allowed to do this. No wonder our country has so many health problems. I think a lot of people are not aware of this.

I’m sure you all have run into a similar revelation when eating out.  I just can’t stop thinking, no matter what you make, whether it be Quesadilla’s, cookies, Nacho’s, whatever… If you MAKE it at home, you are going to SLASH MAJOR CALORIES, FAT AND SODIUM, AUTOMATICALLY!!! RIGHT?  I don’t think I could make a 2500 calorie Quesadilla if I tried!

It’s not hard to find copy cat recipes of all your favorite restaurant food.  So, when my husbands friend from work sent him a creamy cilantro dressing from Cafe Rio, we couldn’t wait to try it.  I modified it (took out the Cayenne pepper) because I, not necessarily my kids, but I don’t care for hot stuff.

cafe rio salad We had Cafe Rio Salad’s for dinner, but the kids instead picked it up and turned it into a burrito!  Great modification on their part, still delicious!!

cafe rio burrito


  • 1/2 c. light mayo
  • 1/2 c. FF sour cream
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 pkg of Ranch dressing dry mix
  • 8 oz jar of salsa verde (tomatilla salsa)

Mix all ingredients together.  Use on salad, chicken, burritos, anything! The meat recipe we used was from Whitney’s blog). Then I made rice and black beans with some chicken broth and cilantro.

(Printable Recipe)

Do you have a restaurant ‘knock off’ you like to make at home?  My last Food Network magazine had PF Chang’s lettuce Wraps I want to try!

Related post:

written by
Amy Roskelley

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Mary says:

This is great. I can’t wait to try the dressing recipe. We all love Cafe Rio at our house. It is one of the few restaurants we occasionally eat at. I agree about eating out. We hardly ever eat out because the food just isn’t as good as we make at home. (Picky eaters I guess.)

I’ve never been to Cafe Rio, but I will definitely try this dressing. It sounds like it will be great on anything!

Maria says:

We don’t eat out very often for that reason. The food is usually overpriced and gross. We have a few local favorites though. We do like Cafe Rio. I always get a Veggie Salad with a ww tortilla. I also tell them to leave off the chips, cheese, and it is 3 meals for me. I don’t use very much dressing either. They give you way too much. There is enough flavor going on already. I do like the healthy changes you made. I will be making this one!

Traci says:

Great suggestions for making recipes healthier! Thanks, will definetely be using this one. Thanks for sharing!

Kendra says:

We love having Cafe Rio night. It takes a bit more prep, but we usually have a lot of left overs to last all week!

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jen Kids, Hannah Smith. Hannah Smith said: Healthy Meals and food for Healthy Kids » Cafe Rio Salad Dressing …: Don has this cool thing on his phone were y… http://bit.ly/dljh0s […]

Mary Kathryn says:

Lettuce wraps is one that I want to try too- let us know how it goes. I do have a Pizza Hut Pan Pizza knock off but it isn’t the least bit healthy even made at home. I just like to make healthy substitutions for chicken and fries, hamburgers, pizzas. Like you said if you make it at home it has to be better and you are in control of what goes into it. Who doesn’t like to be in control?

I can’t wait to try this dressing. It sounds amazing.

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