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vegan southwestern salad cafe rio copycat

Vegan Southwest Salad (vegan)

This delicious vegan Southwest Salad recipe is full of fresh ingredients. It is inspired by Café Rio's Sweet Pork salad, and the flavors of the Mexican and Southwestern cuisine. A healthy meal that is quick and easy to make. Drizzle with a vegan creamy cilantro lime dressing and tortilla chips for some crunch.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Mexican, Southwestern, Tex-Mex, Vegan
Servings 4 big servings


  • pot to cook rice, or rice cooker; kitchen knife and cutting board; bowls
  • to prepare salad dressing you need a high-speed blender or food processor


Ingredients for the salad

  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice (eg: basmati) (195g)
  • 12 oz of shredded and fried tofu (400g)
  • 1 can of black beans (15oz / 425g)
  • 1 can of corn (15oz / 425g)
  • ½ head of iceberg salad head (or chopped salad greens)
  • 10 to 14 oz pico de gallo (300-400g)
  • 8 to 10 oz guacamole (200-300g)
  • 4.2 oz tortilla chips (120g)

To make creamy cilantro lime dressing

  • ½ cup of vegan ranch or sour cream (7.7 oz / 220g)
  • bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cumin and smoked paprika each
  • 1 teaspoon agave syrup, or some organic cane sugar
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • juice of 2 limes
  • salt and pepper to taste, if needed

Optional dressing add-ins for more flavor

  • 2 tablespoon vegan salsa verde
  • ½ jalapeño, deseeded (toss seeds unless you want spice, then add a few to taste)



  • First, wash and cook the rice following package instructions (either on the stove or in a rice cooker). You could even do that a couple of days ahead if wished.
  • Chop salad greens, if you are not using pre-cut variety. Drain the cans of black beans and corn. If you are making the guacamole and pico de gallo from scratch prepare those as well. I like to use a vegetable chopper to quicken the process of making pico and guac. However, it is totally fine if you have to take a shortcut by using store-bought ones!
  • Prepare your shredded tofu, or if you are using a store-bought variety, simply follow the package instructions.

Prepare salad dressing

  • Add all dressing ingredients required to a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Assemble salad

  • Once everything is prepared all you need to do is assemble it all on plates. Start with the rice, followed by the beans and tofu, salad greens, corn, some dressing, more salad greens, pico de gallo and guacamole, and more dressing if wished. Top with your favorite tortilla chips, serve and enjoy! Optional you can lay it all out on a warm tortilla, as Café Rio does.


Keyword cafe rio copycat, cafe rio copycat salad, creamy cilantro lime dressing, southwestern salad, vegan southwestern salad