Cowboy Caviar

This Cowboy Caviar recipe is a great one to have in your back pocket. Enjoy it as a salad for a healthy lunch, or serve it as a dip with lots of tortilla chips!

Cowboy caviar recipe

Have you heard of Cowboy Caviar? I lived in Texas for years, but funnily enough, I only learned about Cowboy Caviar (also known as Texas Caviar) fairly recently. In fact, when Jack walked into the kitchen and asked what I was making last week, he replied, “That doesn’t look like fish eggs!”

So, what is Cowboy Caviar, anyway? It’s a zesty, tangy mix of black beans, black-eyed peas, corn, and other fresh veggies. You can enjoy it as a dip with tortilla chips or eat it as a salad. Jack and I have had it both ways this summer, and I have to say, we’re hooked.

This Cowboy Caviar recipe comes from my friend Erin Clarke’s new book The Well Plated Cookbook. If you’re already familiar with Erin’s blog or Instagram, you know that her recipes are healthy, accessible, and flavorful. The book is chock-full of delicious ideas for every meal of the day, as well as creative variations and meal prep tips. It’s not entirely vegetarian, but it still includes a host of enticing meat-free recipes. I have my eye on the Sticky Cauliflower Wings, Portobello Philly Melts, and the entire dessert section. There are recipes for Fruit Crumble Bars, Chocolate Covered Strawberry Brownies, Lemon Yogurt Pound Cake…I don’t know where to start!

While I mull over what to make next, I have this Cowboy Caviar recipe on repeat. It’s perfect for the transition from summer to fall, as it’s a fresh, fun summer appetizer or snack, but it’d also be a delicious meal prep lunch. Give it a try, and then check out the book!

Cowboy caviar recipe ingredients

Cowboy Caviar Recipe Ingredients

You only need a few simple ingredients to make Erin’s Cowboy Caviar recipe:

  • Black beans and black-eyed peas – They make up the bulk of this hearty dip. Use canned, or cook your own.
  • Corn – If fresh sweet corn’s in season, slice the kernels straight off the cob, and add them raw! If it’s not, make this recipe with thawed frozen corn.
  • Red onion – For sharp, savory depth of flavor.
  • Red bell pepper – For color and crunch! Make sure to dice it finely, about the same size as the beans, so that you can get a little of everything in each bite.
  • Cherry tomatoes – I love how their juicy texture contrasts with the crisp veggies and creamy beans.
  • Jalapeño – For heat! If you’re sensitive to spice, feel free to skip it.
  • Avocado – I can’t get enough of its creamy texture and rich flavor in this refreshing dip!
  • Cilantro – It makes this Cowboy Caviar recipe super fresh and flavorful.
  • Lime juice and red wine vinaigrette – They tie this Texas Caviar recipe together. The vinegar and lime make it nice and bright, while garlic, cumin, and cayenne add complexity and extra heat.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Beans, corn, jalapeño, tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and black-eyed peas in a bowl

Place the beans, black-eyed peas, corn, onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, tomatoes, and lime juice in a big bowl, and fold to combine.

stirring cowboy caviar

Then, whisk together the dressing in a small bowl. Pour it over the bean mixture, and stir.

Finally, add the avocado and cilantro, season to taste, and enjoy!

Pouring dressing over black bean and corn salsa

Texas Caviar Recipe Tips

  • Let it chill. This Cowboy Caviar recipe tastes great right away, but it’s even better after an hour or two in the fridge! If you have time, chill the dip for a few hours before serving to allow the flavors to marry. It keeps well for 3 to 4 days in the fridge, so it’s a great recipe to make ahead for a party or meal prep for lunches all week.
  • Give it a good stir before you eat. As the Texas Caviar sits, the veggies will release liquid, and much of the dressing will sink to the bottom of the bowl. For the best flavor, stir the dip well right before serving. That way, the dressing will coat all the veggies and beans when you eat.
  • Add the avocado at the last minute. Nobody likes brown avocado! If you’re making this recipe in advance, fold in the avocado right before serving so that it keeps its bright color and rich flavor.

The Well Plated Cookbook with a bowl of Texas Caviar

Cowboy Caviar Serving Suggestions

Served with corn chips, Texas Caviar is an addictive dip. It’s a fantastic appetizer for almost any occasion. Make it for a picnic, a party, or game day, and it will disappear in no time!

But the ways to enjoy Cowboy Caviar don’t end there. In her book, Erin offers additional serving suggestions, such as these:

  • Eat it as a salad. Bean-based salads are some of my favorite recipes to meal prep for lunch, as they hold up well when they’re dressed ahead of time. When I tried this recipe, I loved eating the leftovers for lunch all week! It tastes even better on days 2 and 3.
  • Toss it with your favorite greens. This recipe makes a tasty salad on its own, but it’s also delicious with fresh greens mixed in. Amp up the flavor with cilantro lime dressing or vegan ranch.
  • Make lettuce wraps! Pile the Cowboy Caviar into Bibb lettuce leaves, and drizzle chipotle sauce on top.
  • Stuff it into tacos or burritos. Use it in place of the black beans, avocado, and pico de gallo in my breakfast burrito recipe, or make your own burrito with the Cowboy Caviar, cilantro lime rice, fajita veggies, and cashew sour cream.

How do you like to eat Texas Caviar? Let me know in the comments!

cowboy caviar

More Favorite Dip Recipes

If you love this Cowboy Caviar recipe, check out The Well Plated Cookbook! Then, enjoy one of these tasty dip recipes next:

For more easy appetizer ideas, check out this post!

Cowboy Caviar

rate this recipe:
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time: 25 mins
Serves 8
This Cowboy Caviar recipe is adapted from The Well Plated Cookbook by Erin Clarke. Served with tortilla chips, it's a fantastic party appetizer, but it's also delicious as a salad. Toss it with greens, or enjoy it on its own.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper, finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 large avocados, pitted and diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • tortilla chips, for serving

dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, stir together the black beans, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, corn, bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, and lime juice.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the the vinegar, oil, cumin, cayenne, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing over the bean mixture. Fold in the avocado and cilantro, and season to taste.
  • If time allows, refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to marry. Serve with tortilla chips.

7 comments

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. JoHn
    08.25.2020

    Thanks, and our all time favorite is your vegetable ceviche!!! And a mandaline makes them so much easier.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.30.2020

      I’m so glad you’ve been loving the veggie ceviche!

  2. Emily from carvingajourney.com
    08.25.2020

    I have never heard it called cowboy caviar before. What a fun name! Do you have an extra virgin olive oil brand you love? Flavor changes so much bottle by bottle and region by region.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.25.2020

      Hi Emily, I love California Olive Ranch and I also enjoy Thrive Market’s olive oil. I also often get the 365 brand olive oil at Whole Foods and ALDI’s Italian olive oil is great.

      I hope you enjoy!

  3. Erin@WellPlated
    08.25.2020

    THANK YOU so much for sharing this! The name has always cracked me up, but it’s a way of life back home! xoxo

  4. Sabrina from newkitchenlife.com
    08.26.2020

    a classic, has just about all of my current favorite food groups, thank you!

  5. Sonika
    08.28.2020

    Thank you so much for sharing!!!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.