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Chopped Chicken Salad with Cafe Rio Flavors

Chopped Chicken Salad with Cafe Rio Flavors is a delicious Chopped Chicken Salad you can make at home that has all the flavors that make Cafe Rio Salad so good! And it’s low-glycemic, gluten-free, and South Beach Diet friendly and it can be low-carb if you skip the beans! Use the Diet-Type Index to find more recipes like this one.

Click here to PIN this tasty salad with Cafe Rio flavors!

Chopped Chicken Salad with Cafe Rio Flavors found on KalynsKitchen.com.

I’ve given you plenty of options for Cinco de Mayo this weekend, including a collection of my Ten Low-Carb Mexican Food Favorites, so I hope you’ll be making a Mexican food dinner on Saturday! But while we’re talking about Mexican food, I thought I’d update this recipe that features the amazing Cafe Rio Style Creamy Tomatillo Salad Dressing that’s such a hit with Mexican food fans who live in Utah, or another state that has Cafe Rio.

I’m absolutely crazy about that creamy Cafe Rio Salad Dressing, and if there’s anything I’ve learned about sticking to a healthy eating plan, it’s that you better include a lot of your favorite flavors or the plan is doomed from the start. And Cafe Rio is one of the places I love to visit for a quick dinner, so I thought it would be fun to come up with a salad that recreates more of the flavors in the famous Cafe Rio Salad.

This Chopped Chicken Salad with Cafe Rio Flavors has diced chicken that gets marinated in Cafe Rio Style Creamy Tomatillo Salad Dressing, romaine lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, black beans, and cilantro. I skipped the tortilla that’s the bottom layer in Cafe Rio salads, and you can skip the black beans too if you want a low-carb version of this tasty salad, but if you like Cafe Rio (or want to see what the buzz is about) I hope you’ll try this tasty combination. I promise this Cafe Rio Chopped Chicken Salad will re-create that Cafe Rio happy mouth feeling that people in Utah love to enjoy!

Chopped Chicken Salad with Cafe Rio Flavors found on KalynsKitchen.com.You can use leftover rotisserie chicken, but if you don’t have any leftover chicken, just poach two boneless-skinless chicken breasts in barely simmering water for about 15 minutes. When it’s cool, chop up the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Toss the diced chicken with about 2 tablespoons of Cafe Rio Style Creamy Tomatillo Salad Dressing and let it marinate while you prep the other ingredients.

Chopped Chicken Salad with Cafe Rio Flavors found on KalynsKitchen.com.

Dump the beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse well with cold water and let drain. (If you want low-carb, omit the beans.) Chop up two heads romaine lettuce and give it a good spin in the salad spinner (or wash and dry with paper towels.) Cut cherry tomatoes in half to make about 1 cup of cherry tomato halves. Chop 1/2 bunch of cilantro and crisp it in the salad spinner and spin dry.

Chop 1/2 bunch of cilantro and crisp it in the salad spinner and spin dry.Cut up the avocados and toss with 1 T lime juice. Combine the lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, and cilantro and toss with enough dressing to moisten. Then stir in the chicken and dressing it was marinating in. Divide into bowls and top each one with a couple of generous spoonfuls of avocado; enjoy!

Chop 1/2 bunch of cilantro and crisp it in the salad spinner and spin dry.

I hope you enjoy this tasty Cafe Rio Chopped Chicken Salad! Check the recipe for tips for making this a Weekend Food Prep meal to be eaten later.

More Tasty Salads with Chicken:

Shredded Chicken Salad with Green Olives, Celery, and Green Onion ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Chicken Salad with Grapes ~ Wonky Wonderful
Low-Carb Rotisserie Chicken Christmas Salad ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Asian Chicken Salad with Peanut-Lime Dressing ~ Bless This Mess
Chicken and Avocado Salad with Lime and Cilantro ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Mediterranean Chicken Salad with Sumac Dressing ~ A Beautiful Plate

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Chopped Chicken Salad with Cafe Rio Flavors

Everyone who lives in Utah loves the salads from Cafe Rio, and this Chopped Chicken Salad with Cafe Rio Flavors can help you get those same flavors at home!


  • 2-3 cups leftover rotisserie chicken, diced (Or poach 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts for 15 minutes, let cool, and dice the chicken.)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained well (Optional; omit the beans for a low-carb version.)
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, washed, spun dry in salad spinner, and chopped
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 T fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 bunch chilantro (or more), chopped and washed
  • 8 tablespoons (more or less to taste) Cafe Rio Style Creamy Tomatillo Salad Dressing


  1. If you don’t have leftover rotisserie chicken, bring a small saucepan of water to a low boil while you trim visible fat from the chicken breasts and cut them in half (for quicker cooking). When the water is barely boiling, add trimmed chicken breast pieces and cook on lowest possible heat about 15 minutes, or until the chicken is firm and cooked through. Drain and let chicken cool.
  2. Put the beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse well with cold water (until no more foam appears.) Let beans drain while you prep other ingredients. (If they still seem wet when you need to use them, pat dry with paper towels.)
  3. Dice cooled chicken into bite-sized pieces. Put in a small bowl and toss with about 2 tablespoons Cafe Rio Dressing.
  4. Cut ends of romaine heads and remove any spoiled outer leaves. Chop lettuce into bite sized pieces, wash with cold water in a salad spinner, and spin dry (or wash and dry with paper towels if you don’t have a salad spinner.)
  5. Cut up avocados, place in a bowl, and toss with the lime juice.
  6. Cut cherry tomatoes in half.
  7. Chop cilantro, wash in salad spinner, and spin dry or dry with paper towels.
  8. Put the lettuce, black beans, tomatoes, and cilantro in a large salad bowl and toss with enough dressing to moisten all the ingredients.
  9. Add the marinated chicken and toss to combine. Divide into four bowls and top each with a generous amount of diced avocado.
  10. Serve right away.
  11. To make this salad ahead for Weekend Food Prep, I would cook the chicken and dice into pieces, mix dressing, drain and rinse beans, chop romaine, chop cilantro, and make the dressing. Dice chicken and store in fridge with a small amount of dressing. Store black beans in a snap-tight container. Store the chopped and washed lettuce and cilantro together in a Ziploc bag. Store dressing in a container for the fridge. When you’re reading to eat the salad later, chop avocado and tomatoes and assemble salad as above.


This recipe created by Kalyn to indulge her love of Cafe Rio Style Creamy Tomatillo Salad Dressing!

This recipe created by Kalyn to indulge her love of Cafe Rio Style Creamy Tomatillo Salad Dressing!

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet/ South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This Cafe Rio Chopped Chicken Salad would be approved for any phase of the South Beach Diet or another type of low-glycemic diet. Don’t overdo it on the dressing or the avocado if you’re eating this for South Beach. For a traditional low-carb eating plan, you can make this salad low in carbs by omitting the black beans.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

Chopped Chicken Salad with Cafe Rio Flavors found on KalynsKitchen.com

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10 comments on “Chopped Chicken Salad with Cafe Rio Flavors”

  1. Cafe Rio is sooooo good. I’m going to have to print all of these out and try them! Thank you!

  2. Thank you for this recipe I can't wait to try it!
    Cafe Rio salads are SO GOOD, but so heavy on calories, carbs and fat they have to be a special treat. I'll definitely be giving this a try!

  3. I do think it would be very difficult to make that dressing successfully without a food processor, because the tomatillo is ground up very finely in the dressing. Sorry you didn't enjoy it. Tomatillos are a southwestern staple, but everyone likes different things, I realize that.

  4. Kalyn, I made the salad w/Rio dressing last night,and for me it was disappointing sorry to say. I don't have a food processor,so I chopped as fine as I could..maybe that had something to do w/it. This was my first try of tomatillos,and don't think I like them so maybe that was a part of my not enjoying. I write this because I always like to hear from those of us that have tried the recipe…certainly your recipes are wonderful for the most part,and my personal belief is it's important to keep trying new things. I thank you for being here for all of us.

  5. Wanda, hope you enjoy. I am a huge fan of Cafe Rio; eat there at least once a month if not more!

  6. I just went to Whole Foods to get the chicken for this recipe. I will make it tomorrow night. It looks delicious…and the dressing.
    As a treat, I will go to Cafe Rio this week…its been several years since I have eaten there.
    Thanks for reminding me.

  7. Lydia when you finally make it to see the new house, I promise a trip to Cafe Rio! In fact there is one close by so we can go more than once.

  8. Sadly I don't live in a Cafe Rio part of the country (maybe we can remedy that!), because I love all of the flavors and textures going on in this salad. Even though I'm not crazy about cilantro, I can see that it's really key to making this salad sing.

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