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.
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
- Salsa Fresca
- Pico de Gallo
- Corn chips
- Corn strips
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!
And if you like Cilantro-Lime Dressing, here’s a great copycat for Cafe Rio’s:
- 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
- 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
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon lime juice, sugar and cilantro until well blended; set aside.
- Remove rice from heat and pour in lime juice mixture while fluffing with a fork.
- 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.
- 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.
Recipe adapted from Fav Family Recipes