The BEST Cowboy Caviar

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Cowboy Caviar (also known as Texas Caviar) is a salad with black beans, black-eyed peas and a light vinaigrette-style dressing — perfect as a dip, appetizer, or side-dish!

Two hands holding a large bowl of cowboy caviar with tomatoes, beans, blackeye peas, avocado, corn, cilantro, jalapeno, and more!

Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar, also known as Texas Caviar or Mexican Caviar is a mash-up between a salad and a dip and is typically made with a variety of fresh veggies, black-eyed peas, black beans, and then tossed in a light and tangy vinaigrette.

Cowboy caviar is one of my all-time favorite snacks and I’m such a foodie that I even still (vividly) remember the very first time I was introduced to this dish. I had just finished a Spring semester at college and went to a friend’s house for a fourth of July party.

I showed up early to help make some snacks and was asked to chop up all the veggies for this dip that was (in my mind) strangely named. Regardless of the name, I was admittedly excited to try it since it was packed with some of my favorite veggies. Not to mention anytime a dish is paired with tortilla chips, you can count on me to pull my weight eating it.

Author holding an avocado and slicing it for the cowboy caviar

I don’t think I tried anything else that night because I was so hooked on that cowboy caviar. I ate way beyond the point of being full, ignored the start of fireworks to finish the last little bit, and then begged for the recipe. It’s been a favorite ever since.

Today I’m sharing a twist on that original cowboy caviar and adding a few “secret” ingredients that I believe makes this a stand-out dish and is sure to be a hit wherever you serve it!

Black beans that go into the cowboy caviar

First off, how do you make cowboy caviar?

There is nothing tricky about making this dip or salad, but it does take a good amount of prep time. There are quite a few veggies to chop and a dressing to assemble.

  1. You’ll start by adding the undrained BUSH’S® Black Bean Fiesta, BUSH’S® Blackeye Peas, drained and rinsed, and drained (or thawed or cut from the cob) sweet corn to a large bowl.
  2. Next, you’ll want to prep these ingredients: the red onion, peppers, cilantro, jalapeno and cherry tomatoes. One of the “secrets” to a really good cowboy caviar is making sure all of the ingredients are roughly the same size. You can see from the pictures that halving the tomatoes made them pretty small, but occasionally I’ll quarter them if they are on the bigger size. Also, with the red onions, the longer they sit with the salad, the more overpowering they become. I suggest soaking the chopped red onion in a bowl/cup of cold water for the duration of your prep time with the other ingredients. Drain the onion and add to the salad before eating.
  3. Next, is the dressing. This dressing is very light and simple, but it packs a punch. It’s got delicious seasonings and really amps up the Mexican flavors in this dish. To make the dressing, I like to add all of the ingredients to a mason jar and shake it up to combine.
  4. Lastly, you’ll want to finely dice that avocado. Again, try to aim for small pieces of avocado to ensure the cowboy caviar eats like a salsa. I like to dice the avocado very last (and right before enjoying) to keep it as fresh as possible. Since avocados are known for browning quickly, you don’t want to chop them up too far in advance.

TIP: You’ll want to make sure you don’t dress or add avocado to any of the cowboy caviar that you hope to have leftover. The rest of the cowboy caviar sits fairly well and will last 3-4 days in the fridge as long as it’s not mixed with the dressing or avocado. If you want to have leftovers, store the three (salad, avocado, dressing) separately.

Author chopping ingredients for the cowboy caviar

Now that we’ve talked process for the caviar, let’s talk about the “secret ingredients”

What’s in Cowboy Caviar?

First off, avocados are not typically added to a cowboy caviar but I can’t make one without them! They add such a great flavor and creaminess to this dip!

Next, I’m using a special kind of black beans that are tossed in a mild chipotle sauce with corn and peppers: BUSH’S® Black Bean Fiesta. They are made by BUSHS’® Beans and were brought back due to popular demand!  I’m OBSESSED with these beans and it’s unbelievable how much flavor they add to this cowboy caviar. The delicious chipotle sauce also adds a good saucy component to the dip which really helps meld all the ingredients together. Beyond this caviar, these beans are also delicious with some grilled chicken tacos!)

BUSH’S Black Bean Fiesta is a part of a whole new product line, Savory Beans.  These beans work perfectly as a side dish to provide a little extra something to your meals!

Lastly, this dressing has been kicked up a notch with some delicious seasonings. We’ve got some chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder which not only accent the saucy beans, but they heighten all the ingredients in this cowboy caviar.

up close side angle of cowboy caviar

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Cowboy Caviar

5 from 3 votes
Cowboy Caviar (also known as Texas Caviar) is a salad with black beans, black-eyed peas and a light vinaigrette-style dressing -- perfect as a dip, appetizer, or side-dish!
Print Recipe

Cowboy Caviar

5 from 3 votes
Cowboy Caviar (also known as Texas Caviar) is a salad with black beans, black-eyed peas and a light vinaigrette-style dressing -- perfect as a dip, appetizer, or side-dish!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword cowboy caviar
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 -10 servings as an appetizer
Calories 285kcal
Author Chelsea

Ingredients

Salad/Dip

  • 1 and 3/4 cups sweet corn (use frozen that has been thawed, drained canned corn, or cut off the cob)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) BUSH’S® Blackeye Peas, drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) BUSH’S® Black Bean Fiesta (or regular BUSH’S® Black Beans)
  • 1 and 3/4 cup small cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced (soak in cold water to remove the "bite" if desired)
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper* finely diced
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro (loosely measured)
  • 2 large and ripe avocados, diced

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • Tortilla chips, for serving
  • Additional cilantro and lime wedges, for serving, optional

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, add the corn, BUSH’S® Blackeye Peas, drained and rinsed, and undrained BUSH’S® Black Bean Fiesta.
  • Prep the veggies: (as you prep these veggies remember the caviar is best when all of the ingredients are roughly the same size so aim to dice the veggies around the size of the beans) halve or quarter the cherry tomatoes, dice the red pepper, dice the green pepper, finely dice the jalapeno, and finely dice the cilantro. Add right on top of the bean and corn mixture.
  • In a mason jar add in the red wine vinegar, freshly squeezed lime juice, sugar, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt & pepper (to taste, I add about 1/2 teaspoon of each), and olive oil. Seal the jar and shake until combined.
  • Right before serving, dice up the avocados and gently stir those along with the dressing into the caviar. Serve with an extra sprinkle of cilantro, lime wedges, and tortilla chips as desired.
  • If not serving immediately, make sure to store the dressing separately from the caviar and only add the avocados right before eating. If you plan to have leftovers, only add dressing and avocado to what you will be eating presently and then store the three separately.

Video

Recipe Notes

*If you're worried about heat, add half of a jalapeno at first. Also, remove seeds for a less spicy caviar.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 285kcal

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Nutrition Facts for Cowboy Caviar

The ultimate BEST EVER Cowboy Caviar with a few secret ingredients! A super easy and quick appetizer, salad, or side dish! via chelseasmessyapron.com #cowboy #caviar #dip #salsa #easy #quick #familyfriendly #avocado #blackeye #peas #black #beaks #tomato #cilantro #corn #mexican #appetizer #salad #potluck
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Recipe Rating




13 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love all of these ingredients too, I guess I’ve seen this before but don’t remember, anyway, thank you for sharing this recipe and your avocado addition, that’s one of mine too

  2. 5 stars
    My sister and I made this for my birthday brisket dinner. It was delicious!!!! It was a perfect side and everyone ate it up. My sis worked at a restaurant in Tx that serves this as a side so she had an idea of how it’s made. Thanks so much. I think it’s another addition for family dinners. I did want to ask: Since this serves 10, how would this measure in cup size? A 1/2 cup or 1/3 cup?

    1. So happy to hear this was a hit! 🙂 Thank you for the comment! I’m not sure for cup size; maybe 1/2 cup (you can divide the whole into 10 equal parts and measure 1 part for an exact amount).

  3. Love this! I agree avocado is key. If you really want to kick it up a notch then sauté the onions, jalapeño and corn in butter before adding.

  4. I make cowboy caviar all the time. My family loves it! I also add black olives and orzo pasta. Sometimes I even add bite sized pieces of uncooked broccoli.

  5. {With Video}

    I don’t see a video. Do you put this on all your pages to get people to click? Shameful if so.

    1. No, why would I do that?? Try a different browser, it must not be loading for you, I can see it just fine.

  6. 5 stars
    Chelsea! This is a home run. I made it this morning and brought it to work and it’s gone. Slight changes: 3 jalapenos, seeded, is still mild. 2 tsp Dijon to dressing to emulsify. Out of this world. Thank you, Chelsea.

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