Healthy Texas Cowboy Caviar
The most colorful and flavorful dip! Learn how to make a Texas Cowboy Caviar the way we do here in Texas! Texas Caviar is perfect to serve as a dip, a salad, or a side dish. It’s naturally vegan-friendly and gluten-free.
Let a Texan tell you how to make Texas Caviar!
Or Cowboy caviar if that’s what you call it in your neck of the woods.
But regardless of the name, this is an all-in-one type of dish! You can make it into an appetizer and serve it with tortilla chips, the way we do down here in Texas. Or you can serve it as a side dish or a ‘salad’ if you’re into salads that are light on the greens and heavy on everything else, like I am.
All you need to do is open a couple of cans of beans, chop a few veggies, and toss it all with a simple dressing that comes together in a mason jar. Plus, the veggies hold up together pretty well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days so you can meal prep your lunch with this too.
This black bean salad isn’t anything new! But recently, someone made it popular again on TikTok and Instagram again and now the world is obsessing over it!
Cowboy caviar is light on the waistline, easy on the wallet, and quick to prepare. On the weekends, I love to have something ready to go in the refrigerator to munch on. Nine times out of ten, when I don’t, I tend to have snackcidents. You know, an accident that you didn’t plan on having with a snack.
Luckily, this makes a ton of cowboy caviar that works well for when I need a quick protein-packed lunch option or when I need something to munch on with tortilla chips when I’m binge watching a show!
What is cowboy caviar?
It’s a salad or a dip that contains black eyed peas, along with corn, tomatoes, onions that are tossed in light homemade dressing and it most often consumed with tortilla chips. You want to make sure everything is chopped up small, so you can scoop it all up on the chip. Trader Joe’s also sells this stuff in a jar near the salsa so you may have already tried this, and now you can make it at home.
Ingredients for Cowboy Caviar:
- Beans: You’ll need a couple cans of beans for this salad. I add black beans. Because when do I not? You can swap them for black eyed peas, pinto beans, kidney or even garbanzo beans if you like one of the other types more. Really, this dip is an idea, customize it however you like!
- Fire-roasted corn: I like to add fire-roasted corn kernels to my cowboy caviar. The charred corn adds a smoky and sweet flavor to the salad one that you can’t get if you were to use plain, frozen, or canned corn. Fire-roasted corn is easy to make at home. Just roast a fresh corn cob over an open flame. You can also purchase it in the freezer section of most grocery stores right next to the regular stuff. Recently, I’ve even spotted it in the canned veggies aisle!
- Bell Peppers: add color, crunch and sweetness! I like to add mini sweet peppers if I have those on hand, or a small red and green bell pepper! Lots of that good ol’ vitamin C!
- Red Onion: adds a little bite to the salad. Feel free to omit if you’re serving this to guests or taking it to a potluck!
- Cherry Tomatoes: You can also use Roma tomatoes here, just be sure to chop them up! This salad is loaded with nutrition!
- Jalapeños: Feel free to use more or less to taste. You can even swap out the jalapeños and use Serranos instead if you prefer that flavor!
- Aavocados. Now, this is optional because I don’t think the original cowboy caviar contained avocados but if you’re a fan of them, why not add them? If you don’t plan on consuming all the cowboy caviar in one go, I do suggest dressing all of the salad, splitting it into two containers, and then just adding avocados to the portion you’ll be able to finish. The salad will easily last you 3-4 days in the refrigerator, and you can add fresh avocados when you’re ready to eat the leftovers!
- Cilantro: I know, I know, you either hate it or you love it. If you hate it, feel free to omit it or swap it with some parsley for a bit of color. If you love it, you can even double up on it!
- The dressing: light and refreshing with just a little bit of kick to amp up all the flavors. Just shake all the ingredients in a mason jar and drizzle it on. You’ll need olive oil, lime juice, chipotle chili powder, garlic powder, ground cumin, kosher salt, and black pepper.
How to make this cowboy caviar recipe:
- CHOP. CHOP. CHOP.
- Stir all of it in a bowl.
- Pour the dressing on top
- You’ve got cowboy caviar!
It’s a salad; it’s a side dish, no wait it’s a dip!
My cowboy caviar is whatever you want it to be 🙂
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Strawberry Watermelon Feta Salad
- The Best Guacamole Recipe
- Caramelized Onion Dip
- Sheet Pan Street Corn Nachos
- Creamy Mexican Corn Dip
Original recipe shared August 2018, updated with new images and post July 2022.
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
- 1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas
- 1 ½ cups fire-roasted corn (or regular is fine too)
- 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 small green bell pepper chopped
- 1 cup EACH: red onion, diced AND cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 3 tablespoons jalapenos, chopped
- 2 small avocados, diced
- ½ cup chopped cilantro (or parsley)
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ½ - 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or ancho)
- 1 teaspoon EACH: garlic powder, cumin powder, AND salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- DRESSING: Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar, cover and give it a few good shakes until the dressing is well combined; set aside.
- COWBOY CAVIAR: Add all the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl, mix it together and toss it with the dressing. Taste and adjust with additional salt and pepper as desired.
- If you don't plan on consuming all the cowboy caviar in one go, I do suggest dressing all of the salad, splitting it into two containers and then just adding avocados to the portion you'll be able to finish. The salad will easily last you 3-4 days in the refrigerator and you can add fresh avocados when you're ready to eat the leftovers!