Healthy Cafe Rio Style Pork Salad

There is a restaurant chain called Cafe Rio Mexican Grill that has locations throughout Utah, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho and Nevada. They serve a sweet pork salad that is tasty and popular. I've come up with a healthy version of this salad that tastes just as great. The original recipe posted on the internet calls for a lot of sugar, Coca-Cola, and a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch mix. All those unhealthy ingredients are not necessary to make a delicious pork salad that is similar in taste to Cafe Rio's. Plus, I used a pork sirloin tip roast (purchased at Costco) that has only 1.5 grams of fat per 4 oz. serving, compared to pork tenderloin (Costco), which has 2.5 to 6 grams of fat per 4 oz. serving. Even the pork tenderloin is still relatively lean compared to a typical pork roast, which contains 12 to 14 grams of fat per 4 oz. serving. The pork sirloin tip roast turned out moist and delicious! There are four components to this salad; it is a whole meal and great to serve buffet-style to company. The salad dressing is healthy and adds a fresh taste, but I don't think it is necessary because the pork topping is so moist. The recipe is simpler if you leave out the dressing and is still delicious. Should you want to use a dressing, Cafe Rio has a Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette that I like even better than the Cilantro Ranch Dressing below. It lasts in the refrigerator for several weeks so that even when the pork is gone you can use the dip to make other healthy Mexican-type salads. The original salad is placed on a good-quality flour tortilla, but I still prefer the salad without the tortilla. The pork and Lime Cilantro Rice are so good; it's easy to forget the tortilla. Sometimes my kids want a burrito or taco instead of a salad, so I put the pork, lettuce, cheese, roasted corn, Lime Cilantro Rice and black beans into a warmed yellow corn tortilla. It is a healthy hit every time!
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Pork Ingredients

Pork Sirloin Tip Roast, 2.5 lb. 1 1/2 cup peach mango salsa (any fruited salsa) 1 cup chicken stock/broth Chipotle peppers in Adobo Sauce (add to taste) 2 limes

Pork Directions

1) Place the pork sirloin in a crock pot and fill the crock pot half-full with water. Cook on low for about 7 hours (or for about 5 hours on high). Drain water.
2) Cut roast into thirds. Mix together the salsa, stock, lime juice, adobo sauce (about 4 tbsp for extra flavor and a little spicy kick), and chilpotle chilies to taste if you want the pork to be spicy. Combine together and pour the mixture over the roast.
3) Cook an additional 5 hours on low or 3 hours on high. Liquid should cover the roast while it cooks.

Salad Ingredients

Romaine lettuce, shredded or torn into bite-sized pieces Lime Cilantro Rice cheese, shredded (Mexican blend) 1 can black beans, rinsed well 2 cups roasted corn, warmed (trader Joe's)

Salad Directions

1) Place greens, Lime Cilantro Rice, black beans, corn and shredded cheese on a dinner plate. Shred pork with a fork and serve warm on top of the salad. Use salad dressing to taste. Enjoy!

Cilantro Ranch Salad Dressing Ingredients

2 cups plain Greek yogurt 3 tomatillos 3 garlic gloves, crushed, or 1 tsp bottled garlic 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, including stems Fresh hot peppers, red pepper flakes (to taste) 3 tbsp lime juice (2 limes) 1/2 tsp kosher salt 2 1/2 tsp pure maple syrup or raw honey 1 tbsp chia seed

Cilantro Ranch Salad Dressing Directions

1) In a high-powered blender, combine Greek yogurt, tomatillos, garlic, cilantro, hot peppers or red pepper flakes, lime juice, salt, and maple syrup or honey. Add chia seeds and blend one more time. It will thicken in about 10 minutes as it sits. Chill in refrigerator until cold. Keep any unused portion in the refrigerator.