One of my favorite quick food stops, that fits into my “cleaner” eating, calorie counting lifestyle, is the shredded chicken salad from Cafe Rio. If you have never been to Cafe Rio, their handmade tortillas are AMAZING. I am willing to eat only lettuce and dry chicken if it means I can eat that tortilla. Which is 420 calories on it’s own…yikes!
Well, I came home from the gym one night and wanted a Cafe Rio chicken salad REALLY badly, but did not want to drive 15 minutes into town to get it. (Give me a break, HIIT workouts are draining) I decided to make my own healthier version of the salad using whatever I had at home. When I order the salad at Cafe Rio it consists of; one flour tortilla, one scoop black beans, lettuce, cilantro, light tortilla chips, one teaspoon cotija cheese, and half a serving of cilantro lime vinaigrette. Luckily for me, I had a majority of these ingredients, or something similar, available in my refrigerator or pantry. So, I got creative and made my own chicken salad bowl. This is the recipe I created, feel free to change and/or add more of your favorite veggies. You will need the following ingredients:
1 tsp olive oil
1 Fajita sized flour tortilla (140 calories) or 2 corn taco sized tortillas (40 calories each)
1 small shredded chicken breast (3-4 oz.)
1-2 Tbsp sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup quinoa (1/4 cup uncooked)
1/4 cup canned black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 cup romaine lettuce
1 cup spinach
1 Tbsp chopped red onion
1/4 cup canned corn
cilantro (as much as you would like)
Heat the olive oil over medium high heat and brown tortilla on both sides until a very light brown color. Once tortilla has been browned, place it in a bowl and push down until the tortilla lines the inside of the bowl. Take washed lettuce and spinach, place in bowl (on top of tortilla). Add shredded chicken, quinoa, black beans, and corn (you can combine these ingredients together in a separate bowl before adding to salad if you would prefer). Then top the entire salad with the chopped red onion, cilantro, and cheddar cheese. Now it’s TIME TO EAT!
* I had half a serving of cilantro lime vinaigrette dressing leftover in my fridge from a Cafe Rio visit earlier in the week, and used the remainder for this salad. However, for future use, you (as well as myself) can find homemade dressing recipes online. I usually use Pinterest when looking for yummy recipes such as dressings. Or you can just make up your own healthier dressing using some olive oil, lemon or lime, and salt and/or pepper.