Friday, June 29, 2012

Recipe For Leftover Chicken Chopped Salad with Cafe Rio Style Creamy Tomatillo Dressing

Leftover Chicken Chopped Salad with Cafe Rio Style Creamy Tomatillo Dressing(For Phase One Fridays I highlight Phase One recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites.  This salad is one I often make in the summer with leftover grilled chicken and my favorite Cafe Rio Style Dressing.)

No matter what time of year you come to my house, you'll often find leftover grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken in the fridge, and this salad is one of my favorite ways to use it. There are endless ingredients that work in a chopped salad with chicken and Cafe Rio Style Creamy Tomatillo Dressing, but I'm partial to radishes in this salad, and for me, cilantro is also a must. I ate the salad you see in the photo sitting on my new deck looking out over the garden, and thinking to myself that leftovers don't really get any better than this!

I realize you don't need instructions on chopping lettuce, but I always slice the lettuce and then chop. It's a braces thing for me, so you can make your lettuce pieces bigger if you don't have that issue!

I like to chop the lettuce and cilantro, and then mix them together and wash in the salad spinner. My preference is about 3/4 lettuce and 1/4 cilantro for a salad like this.

I use one chicken breast for two salads, and this is another time when I'm into that "symmetry of cut" element I learned years ago in Chinese cooking. That means I like all the pieces to be about the same size!

I love radishes, especially when they're cut into these half-moon shapes. The gentle bite of radishes goes perfectly with the Cafe Rio Style Creamy Tomatillo Dressing.

Tomatoes are definitely optional, but they're very good in the salad if you happen to have some on hand. I eat this salad year round, but I rarely use tomatoes in the winter.

Of course, the Cafe Rio Style Creamy Tomatillo Dressing is the most essential ingredient. I also use this dressing to make a Cafe Rio Knock-Off Salad, recipe coming for that one.

Leftover Chicken Chopped Salad with Cafe Rio Creamy Tomatillo Dressing
(Makes 2 salads as written; adjust amounts and ingredients for the number of salads you want to make.)

Ingredients for the salad in the photos:
1 head romaine lettuce, chopped and washed in salad spinner
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped and washed in salad spinner
6 radishes, cut in half moon slices
10 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup diced cooked chicken (1 grilled chicken breast is perfect for two salads)
about 1/4 cup Cafe Rio Style Creamy Tomatillo Dressing

Other optional ingredients you might add:
grated Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
black beans,
chopped red bell pepper
sliced green onion
chopped red or green cabbage
black olives, cut in half
chopped jicama

Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
This salad is perfect for any phase of the South Beach Diet or any type of low-glycemic eating plan. For phase 2 or 3, you could add some Baked Brown Rice Tortilla Chips.

More Salad Ideas for Leftover Chicken:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Leftover Chicken Pesto Salad from Kalyn's Kitchen
Cilantro-Lover's Leftover Chicken Salad from Kalyn's Kitchen
Chicken Salad with Fresh Tarragon and Peas from Kalyn's Kitchen
Chicken Salad with Apples and Chives from Daily Unadventures in Cooking
Asian Chicken Salad from Cafe Lynnylu
Gluten-Free Chinese Chicken Salad from Elana's Pantry
Minty Moroccan Chicken Salad from The Leftover Queen
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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More to Chew On:


  1. Cafe Rio! My favorite!! Love the dressing

  2. very very good. my question is, how in the world did you figure it out?

  3. Anonymous, I got the recipe from my brother-in-law and I have no idea where he got it. Glad you liked it.

  4. I made this last night and LOVED it! Doing SB is never hard with all your tips and recipes! Thanks so much for all you do!

  5. That dressing looks grand! I like how you emphasize the symmetry in chinese cooking - I need to remember that.

  6. I so miss Cafe Rio! I will have to try this recipe. Just looks fantastic. Gave you a Stumble.

  7. wow! That dressing looks SO good! I've never eaten at Cafe Rio before but I can't wait to recreate this dish in my own kitchen!

  8. Showed this to my wife and she asked me to definitely make this! Can't wait to try it.

  9. So glad people are discovering this dressing. I've loved it for years now. Katie, thanks for the stumble!

  10. This is a perfect leftover salad! I like the addition of radishes - they would add a really nice zing to the salad. And you can never go wrong with the Cafe Rio dressing!

  11. This looks like a perfect salad and I am in fact looking for a salad for this weekend so I might be making this... :)

  12. That dressing looks amazing!

  13. your blogs are very nice.thanks for sharing this.

  14. This recipe was great! I just used the regular ranch packet that calls for milk and mayo... so delicious!

  15. Behind on comments again, but I am reading them!

    Anonymous, so glad you liked it!

  16. Hi Kaylin, this looks like another delicious salad. I don't stop and comment nearly as often as I should but I do enjoy your blog and all the yummy recipes you post here. Thanks for stopping by. I don't think I did your other salad recipe justice but we enjoyed it and it was so light and refreshing for a very hot day. Thanks again and have a great weekend.

  17. WE LOVE your Cafe Rio dressing at the Kellys, and we make it all the time! Thanks for another way to use it.

  18. This makes me want to go to Cafe Rio! I love making batches of salad dressing, and eating it for days in a row, changing the salad a little bit each time.

  19. I'm always on the lookout for left-over chicken recipes. Actually I cook chicken just for leftovers to eat for lunches. This sounds perfect and I can't wait to try the dressing.

  20. YUM! I bet the cilantro gives it such a great taste!

  21. This is a great dressing for cilantro lovers, but I think it would be good even without the cilantro. Sam and Lydia, glad you like it.


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