A fresh, tangy, colorful bean salad or dip perfect for hot summer days. Bring this versatile, budget-friendly dish to your next tailgate or potluck. Vegan and Gluten-free.
I’m guessing your TikTok is also filled with endless recipe variations of cowboy caviar. Shay Mitchell and Bria Lem aren’t the only people obsessed with this recipe.
Or maybe you have seen the jarred cowboy caviar salsa from Trader Joes and thought… “Hmm how does that taste?!”
Initially, I wasn’t sure about this ingredient combo, but the fresh produce and lime vinaigrette pair perfectly with a side of salty, crunchy chips.
Have a bunch of produce leftover at the end of the week? Turn it into cowboy caviar!
If you enjoy this fresh, summer recipe, you’ll love my Healthy Chicken Salad as well.
Why is it Called Cowboy Caviar?
Cowboy caviar, also known as Texas caviar, is a southern version of salsa and bean salad. Texan American chef, Helen Corbitt, aimed to make a dish that only used Texas-based ingredients.
Some say the name is inspired by the black-eyed peas in the recipe that resemble caviar. Others say the dish is called cowboy caviar because it’s a poor man’s version of real caviar.
Texas caviar is frequently served at barbecues and social gatherings in the south. This pickled salad is super versatile and has many interchangeable ingredients.
What is Texas caviar made of?
That’s the best thing about this recipe: it’s super customizable.
Ordinarily, the main ingredients are canned beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers, and onions – food most of us have at hand in our kitchen. It’s meant to be a super low-maintenance recipe.
However, I’ve seen countless recipe adaptations. I saw Bria Lem add pineapple to her latest recipe and thought that fruit could be a great way to add sweetness to the vinaigrette and veggies.
In addition to the original ingredients, have fun experimenting with adding nuts, dried fruit, proteins, and whatever produce you have in your fridge.
The possibilities are endless!
Ingredients for Cowboy Caviar
Cowboy Caviar is full of fresh, nutrient-dense produce and legumes!
Bell pepper, diced
Small red onion, finely diced
Jalapeno pepper, seeds removed & finely diced
Corn, drained, unsweetened, & unsalted)
Black beans, rinsed and rained
Avocado, pitted and diced
Red wine vinegar
Sugar or maple syrup
How to Make Cowboy Caviar
The recipe is fairly straightforward! No cooking, baking, or sautéing is needed.
Begin by combining the diced tomatoes, bell peppers, red onions, jalapeno peppers, corn, black beans, avocado, and cilantro.
Then, if you are serving fresh, wait to add in the avocado so that it stays nice and colorful!
Then, mix the olive oil, red wine vinegar, chili powder, cumin, sugar or maple syrup, garlic, lime juice, and salt in a small bowl or container.
Finally, add the dressing to the caviar and mix right before serving.
Make this recipe a couple of hours before an event for extra fresh flavors!
How to Store Cowboy Caviar
Though this dish tastes best fresh, you can also store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days and it still tastes great.
I like to keep the dressing separate if I’m storing it and then mix it into the salad before serving.
If you are always on the go, you could store these in meal prep containers for the week also! It is the perfect healthy treat to enjoy while on the go, or at work!
How to Serve Cowboy Caviar
The traditional method of serving cowboy caviar is like a dip with tortilla chips. Make a big bowl and share it with your friends and family.
Another fun way to enjoy this is over a baked potato!
Or, if you are feeling fun… Put the caviar in a tortilla and enjoy it as a vegan taco!
You can also have cowboy caviar as a salad or side to your proteins or entrees. This would be a great recipe to meal prep all your veggies for the week.
Whatever you choose to pair it with, I know it’ll be delicious!
Other fresh recipes you might like this summer:
- Tomatoes diced
- 1 bell pepper diced
- 1 small red onion, finely diced)
- 1 jalapeno pepper (seeds removed, finely diced)
- 1 15 oz can of corn drained (unsweetened, unsalted)
- 1 15oz can black beans (rinsed and rained)
- 2 avocado (pitted and diced) *
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tbsp sugar or maple syrup
- 1 clove garlic minced
- Juice of 1-2 limes (~3 tbsp)
- 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
1. Cut and combine the diced tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno pepper, corn, black beans, avocado, and cilantro.
2. Mix the olive oil, red wine vinegar, chili powder, cumin, sugar or maple syrup, garlic, lime juice, and salt in a small container.
3. Add to the caviar before serving and mix.
*Use Avocado if serving it fresh, otherwise the avocado will turn brown
** You can also use ½ cup light Italian dressing