Cowboy Caviar

5 from 11 votes

Cowboy caviar, also known as Texas caviar, is the perfect dip, salsa, or taco topper for your next get-together. Fresh and tasty, you won't be disappointed.

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Fresh, tangy, and full of flavor, cowboy caviar is a delicious way to dip into the Texas state of mind. This colorful dip is inspired by salsa and pico de gallo. It’s traditionally made with black-eyed peas, corn, and fresh vegetables, but you can use any type of beans or veggies in this recipe that you’d like.

Large bowl of corn and bean salad with slices of lime and cilantro on top.

The key to cowboy caviar is in the dressing: a zesty combination of oil, vinegar, garlic, onion, and spices that gives this dish its characteristic flavor. Serve cowboy caviar with chips, crackers, or fresh vegetables for dipping, or use it as a condiment on tacos or burritos. It’s also great as a salad topper or simply enjoyed on its own. So grab your boots and hat and give this tasty recipe a try. You’ll be lassoing up seconds in no time.

why you’ll love this texas caviar recipe

  • Vibrant and delicious. All of the brightly colored vegetables in this dish make for a beautiful and appetizing presentation.
  • Perfect for entertaining. Cowboy caviar is an easy recipe to double or triple, making it ideal for large gatherings.
  • Make-ahead friendly. This dish can be made up to a day in advance, giving you one less thing to worry about when hosting guests.
  • Rave worthy. Your friends and family will be begging you for the recipe after just one bite.

Ingredients to make cowboy caviar

  • Beans: I enjoy black beans and black-eyed peas in this recipe, but you can really use any type of beans that you like.
  • Corn: Frozen sweet corn is best, but you can also use fresh or canned corn. Just be sure to drain and rinse it well first.
  • Vegetables: I like to use a mix of diced jalapeno, bell peppers, avocados, red onion, and cilantro in my cowboy caviar. Feel free to mix and match your favorite veggies.

cowboy caviar dressing

  • Olive oil: I prefer extra virgin olive oil for this recipe, but you can use any type of oil that you like.
  • Limes: Fresh lime juice is preferred, but bottled lime juice can be used in a pinch. If you like, you can also zest half the lime to bump up the tang.
  • Honey: Just a touch of honey for balance. You can also use agave nectar or sugar.
  • Spices: A blend of cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper round out the dressing.
Ingredients for recipe before prepped: red bell pepper, orange bell pepper, red onion, oil, jalapeno pepper, honey, corn, black eye peas, black beans, 2 limes, 2 avocados, seasonings, and cilantro.

How to make cowboy caviar

Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. This recipe is actually quite simple to make and well worth the ingredient list.

prepare veggies & beans

  • Drain the beans, dice the veggies and get everything ready to start preparing your dip.
Prepared vegetables and ingredients for salad recipe in individual bowls.

assemble & toss with dressing

  1. Place the black beans, black-eyed peas, sweet corn, red peppers, orange peppers, jalapeño peppers, avocados, red onions, and cilantro in a large bowl.
  2. Drizzle the dressing over the salad ingredients.
  3. Toss well to combine.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with tortilla chips.
4 image collage making salad recipe in one bowl by adding chopped vegetables to bowl, pouring dressing over and then tossing together, and the final salad after combining.

Tips for making cowboy caviar dip

  1. Cut the veggies into uniform pieces. You want to keep the pieces small enough so that they can be easily scooped up with a chip, but not so small that they turn to mush when mixed with the other ingredients.
  2. Use fresh lime juice. The taste is incomparable to bottled lime juice. If you must use bottled, start with less and add more to taste.
  3. Taste as you go. This recipe is very forgiving, so don’t be afraid to adjust the ingredients to suit your taste. Add more lime juice if you want it tangier, or more honey if you prefer it sweeter.
  4. Make ahead of time. This recipe actually gets better as it sits, so feel free to make it a day or two in advance. Just omit the avocado and keep it covered in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

popular substitutions & additions

  • Use Italian dressing instead of the homemade vinaigrette. If you’re in a pinch for time, you can use a store-bought bottle of Italian dressing.
  • Test out different beans. Kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and pinto beans are all delicious in this recipe.
  • Add diced fruit. Mango, pineapple, and watermelon all make great additions to cowboy caviar.
  • Try different vegetables. Cucumber, zucchini, and yellow squash are all tasty options.
  • Make it vegan. By omitting the honey from the dressing or using a plant-based alternative, this cowboy caviar recipe turns vegan in a pinch.
Overhead shot showing bowl of cowboy caviar underneath a hand holding a tortilla chip with recipe loaded on it.

what to serve with texas caviar

This is typically enjoyed on its own, like a dip or salsa with tortilla chips. However, you can use it in place of salsa in any Tex Mex type of recipes, including:

how to store cowboy caviar

Store any leftover dip in the fridge in an airtight container.

how long will cowboy caviar last in the fridge?

Without the avocados, this cowboy salsa will last in the fridge for up to four days. If you add avocados, it’s best to enjoy it within a day or two.

Frequently asked questions

Why is it called cowboy caviar?

According to Wikipedia, the dish was created in the 1940s by Helen Corbitt, a well-known Texas chef. She originally named it “Cowboy Caviar” because she thought it resembled the Beluga caviar that was all the rage at the time.

What is the difference between cowboy caviar and texas caviar?

Not a thing! The two terms are used interchangeably. Since it originates in Texas, some prefer to call it Texas Caviar, instead of cowboy caviar.

I don’t like cilantro. What can I use instead?

If you’re not a fan of cilantro, feel free to leave it out or substitute it with another fresh herb like parsley or basil.

Close up of tortilla chip loaded with cowboy caviar.

This Cowboy Caviar, AKA Texas Caviar Dip is perfect for any party or gathering! Inspired by salsa and pico de gallo, it’s easy to make and can be tailored to your liking by adding different ingredients. Plus, it’s a vegan-friendly recipe that everyone will love! So, what are you waiting for? Give it a try today!

More tex mex recipes:

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Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy caviar, also known as Texas caviar, is the perfect dip, salsa, or taco topper for your next get-together. Fresh and tasty, you won't be disappointed.
5 from 11 votes
Servings 8 servings
Course Salads
Calories 303
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 25 mins

Equipment

Ingredients
  

For the Salad

  • 15 ounce can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounce can black eyed peas rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen sweet corn thawed
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper seeded and diced
  • 2 avocados diced
  • ½ red onion diced
  • ½ cup cilantro chopped
  • Tortilla chips for serving

For the Dressing

Instructions

  • Place the black beans, black eyed peas, sweet corn, red peppers, orange peppers, jalapeño peppers, avocados, red onions and cilantro in a large bowl.
  • In a small jar, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, honey, cumin and garlic powder until well combined.
  • When ready to serve, drizzle the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with tortilla chips.

Notes

Tip: Omit the avocado and let your cowboy caviar sit overnight to let the flavors meld. Add your avocado when ready to serve. 

Nutrition

Calories: 303kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Sodium: 217mg, Potassium: 721mg, Fiber: 12g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 1112IU, Vitamin C: 54mg, Calcium: 50mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

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Large bowl of corn and bean salad with slices of lime and cilantro on top.

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