Cafe Rio Veggie Tostada with Cilantro-Lime Rice and Black Beans

Two of my favorite copycat recipes for Cafe Rio’s Cilantro-Lime Rice and Black Beans are wrapped up in a tasty and flavorful veggie tostada.

Cafe Rio Veggie Tostada with Cilantro-Lime Rice and Beans | (Gluten Free, Vegan-Friendly, Vegetarian)

As a new convert to the plant-based world, I was concerned that my favorite place to eat, Cafe Rio, didn’t offer vegan-friendly rice because as I perused the web, all of the copycat recipes listed chicken broth in the recipe. I was devastated. Do they REALLY put chicken broth in their rice?

At my next visit, I asked the workers if their rice and beans were vegan friendly. At first they looked at me quizzically, like they didn’t know what I was asking, they emphatically said no. Whew. What a relief!

But I couldn’t stop there; my mind just wouldn’t rest. I kept wondering if I had been understood because not too many people know what vegan entails. So, I called up Cafe Rio’s Support Center for assurance and to my relief, they do NOT use any animal flavors or broths and none of their bread products are made with L-cysteine as a dough conditioner. The guacamole also doesn’t contain gelatin. Also, a soy-based shortening is used for items prepared separately from their meat products. Can I tell you just how ecstatic I was to hear those items are vegan friendly? It was music to my ears.

Here is a list of items that are vegan-friendly/vegetarian-friendly at Cafe Rio:

  • Tostada shells
  • Corn tortillas
  • Flour tortillas
  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa Fresca
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Corn chips
  • Corn strips
  • Lettuce

With that being clarified, I bring to you my favorite copycat recipe for Cafe Rio’s veggie tostada with Cafe Rio’s Cilantro-Lime Rice and Black Beans. All vegan-friendly, dairy-free, and gluten-free. Enjoy!

Cafe Rio Veggie Tostada with Cilantro-Lime Rice and Beans | (Gluten Free, Vegan-Friendly, Vegetarian)

And if you like Cilantro-Lime Dressing, here’s a great copycat for Cafe Rio’s:

Cafe Rio’s Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette Dressing

Recipe for Cafe Rio Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette Dressing

Cafe Rio Cilantro-Lime Rice and Black Beans
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
While the rice is cooking, I make the beans. It saves on lots of time!
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4 servings
For Rice:
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 tablespoon non-dairy butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 can (15 ounces) vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
For Black Beans:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/3 cup tomato juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
For Tostada:
  • 4 corn tostada shells
  • 6 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups pico de gallo (if short on time, you can use salsa, but it's not the real experience)
  • Dairy free sour cream, i.e., such as Toffuti (optional)
  • 1 recipe for guacamole (optional)
  • Cilantro, to garnish (optional)
  • Corn strips, to garnish (optional)
For Rice:
  1. in a large saucepan over medium-high heat warm butter until melted; add rice and garlic and cook until a light golden color; stirring often.
  2. Stir in 1 teaspoon lime juice, vegetable broth, and water until well combined. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon lime juice, sugar and cilantro until well blended; set aside.
  4. Remove rice from heat and pour in lime juice mixture while fluffing with a fork.
For Black Beans:
  1. In a large non-stick skillet, warm up olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cumin and stir until fragrant (about 1 minute). Stir in beans, tomato juice and salt; continuously stirring until heated through. Just before serving, mix in cilantro. Serve with a slotted spoon to remove juices.
To Assemble:
  1. Layer tostado with corn shell, 1/2 cup rice, 1/2 cup beans, lettuce, 1/3 cup pico de gallo, dollop of sour cream and guacamole. Top with cilantro and corn chips, if desired.
The key to getting rice from being sticky is to brown it just before adding liquid. This helps keep the rice light and fluffy.

Recipe adapted from Fav Family Recipes


About Jen

Jen is owner, author, and creative mind behind Bakerette. Jen eats a vegan diet and recently converted Bakerette to a plant-based website that offers a smattering of healthful recipes! Jen is author of the cookbook Festive Feasts: Meals and Memories from Halloween to Christmas, which can be purchased online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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