Everything Vegan at Cafe Rio (Late-2020)

Cafe Rio Mexican Grill Vegan Options Logo

Cafe Rio has decent vegan-options, however nothing spectacular – You can easily make yourself a burrito and have some chips and salsa or guacamole. Don’t expect any vegan-meats or cheeses though.

Ultimately while we’d say there’s other better mexican restaurants for us vegans to eat at, if your family likes Cafe Rio and is already going there, don’t stress about vegan-options. They have enough to make a satisfying vegan meal, and at a relatively reasonable price.

Vegan Appetizers at Cafe Rio:

  • Chips & Guacamole
  • Chips & Pineapple Mango Salsa
  • Chips and Salsa Fresca
  • Chips and Pico De Gallo

Really the only appetizer that’s vegan at Cafe Rio is Chips an Guacamole or Salsa — but not all the salsas are vegan-friendly at all locations. Some Cafe Rio’s apparently contain dairy-products, so be careful about their house-made red sauce or habernaro sauce if you want to ensure you have no animal products (sometimes they contain a tiny amount of whey or animal-grease, yuck).

Main Vegan Dishes at Cafe Rio:

  • Vegetarian Salad (Specify No Cheese or Butter) with Cilantro Lime vinaigrette
  • Custom Burrito with Beans, satueed veggies, and guacamole (+salsa/pico de gallo)

You can either get one of the above, or do as I do and just pick a few sides below and build-your-own burritos/tacos and mix and match — normally doing such things is much more expensive, but at cafe rio it’s not really any more expensive to do so.

Vegan Side Options at Cafe Rio:

  • Black Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Corn Tortillas 
  • Wheat Tortillas (specify no butter
  • White Wheat Tortillas (Specify no Butter)
  • Hard (corn) taco shell
  • Tostada shells
  • Chips & Guacamole
  • Sauteed Vegetables
  • Side Salad (Specify no Cheese, use cilantro lime vinaigrette)
There’s also some sauces and salsas, as well as toppings that we’ll cover in the next section, but above is all the vegan-friendly sides Cafe Rio offers — basically the ingredients you can use to build yourself a burrito or taco of your own.

Vegan Sauces, Toppings, and Additions at Cafe Rio:

  • Pineapple Mango Salsa
  • Salsa Fresco
  • Pico De Gallo
  • Cilantro
  • Chopped onion
  • Chopped tomato
  • Jalapenos
  •  Tortilla Strips (chips)
  • Hot Sauce (on table bottles like sriracha or Louisiana hot-sauce).
  • Lettuce (Generally Romaine)
  • Lime Wedges

Keep in mind some locations may have some other vegan-friendly salsas, however it varies by location and most other salsas will contain animal-fats or whey (milk powder) in them, so if you are sensitive to them or simply want to truly consume no animal products then it’s best to avoid the other salsas entirely. The Pineapple-Mango salsa is delicious anyways.

Vegan Desserts at Cafe Rio:

  • None

Cafe Rio doesn’t really have any vegan-friendly desserts — the closest thing they have to a dessert for us vegans is their 3-types of lemonade, strawberry lemonade, southwest lemonade, and mint lemonade. They’re good, but aren’t substantial like desserts are, but rather obviously just sweet drinks.