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Texas Caviar (Cowboy Caviar)

Texas Caviar (aka Cowboy Caviar) features healthy black-eyed peas and black beans with veggies and avocado tossed in a lime & apple cider vinaigrette. It’s an easy-to-make vegan appetizer, side, or light meal!

top down view of a platter with bowl full of Texas cowboy caviar surrounded by endive and tortilla chips for scooping.

Texas Caviar, also known as Cowboy Caviar, is a colorful and nutritious, easy bean salad with veggies and vinaigrette, typically eaten as a salsa with chips.

The recipe has been modified over the years, adding color and extra flavor, but you can find the original pickled black eye peas recipe at Texas Monthly.

Why We Love This Recipe!

  • It’s healthy. Made with healthy whole foods, my Texas Caviar recipe cuts much of the oil typically used in other recipes. Plus, it’s vegan, well-balanced, gluten-free, low-fat, and can be made 100% oil-free.
  • Made in one bowl. We love easy one-bowl recipes because it means less clean-up!
  • You can make it ahead. Since it can be prepared in advance, it’s perfect when planning parties, potlucks, picnics, and BBQs. It’s colorful and will make a great centerpiece for any buffet or communal table!
top down view of a wooden bowl with individual ingredients added for making Texas cowboy caviar (aka Texas caviar)

Ingredient Notes

Beans, fresh veggies, avocado, and spices are tossed with a simple zesty dressing creating a colorful, healthy, and hearty party dip everyone will love!

Here is everything you’ll need, including ingredient variations:

  • The Beans: Use fresh cooked or canned black eyed peas and black beans. If using fresh cooked, use about 1 1/2 cups. Feel free to change up any of the beans called for with chickpeas.
  • Bell Pepper: Bell peppers add color, crunch and sweetness. Use your favorite color. I’ve used 2 red bell peppers, but any combo of colors would work and add even more color.
  • Corn: Sweet corn is such a great addition to this cowboy caviar, adding color and sweetness. Use canned, frozen (thawed) or fresh corn cut from the cobb, about 1 – 1 1/2 cups. Another popular corn you may consider using is shoepeg corn.
  • Onion: Diced red onion adds another layer of color and flavor. Green onions will do well here too, using the green and pale green parts only.
  • Jalapeno: Adds flavor, a little heat and color. Feel free to leave a few seeds in for an extra spicy kick!
  • Avocado: Creamy and delicious, just about everything is better with avocado! But if you don’t have any on hand, you’ll be fine without it.
  • Cilantro: Fresh and colorful, use as much cilantro as you like! If you’re not a fan, feel free to omit it and try adding parsley instead.
  • The Spices: For a little kick in flavor, we’ll use a combination of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt and pepper. It’s mildly flavored and each ingredient can be adjusted to suite your taste.
  • The Dressing: The Texas caviar dressing is super simple and consists of a little olive oil, lime juice and apple cider vinegar. Feel free to sub in with balsamic vinegar, or red or white wine vinegar for a change. Omit the olive oil to make the dressing oil free, just add a 2 tablespoons more of vinegar.
top down view of a platter with bowl full of cowboy caviar.

How To Make Texas Caviar

  • Drain and rinse the black eyes peas and black beans.
  • Drain the canned corn, or if using fresh corn cut it off the cobb.
  • Prep and dice the red peppers, jalapeno, avocado and onion.
  • Chop the cilantro.
  • Assemble the salad by adding the beans, corn, bell pepper, jalapeno, onion, avocado and cilantro to a large bowl, top with spices, apple cider vinegar, optional oil, lime juice and salt & pepper, and toss well to coat. Taste for flavor.
  • Eat right away, or let the salad rest in the refrigerator for a few hours to let the flavors mingle.

Optional Add-Ins

  • Fresh or canned tomatoes, such as Rotel in keeping with the Texas theme
  • Fresh minced garlic
  • Handful of sliced olives
  • Chopped celery
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Opt to use fresh chopped herbs such as oregano and basil in place of the spices.
up close, side angle view of freshly made Texas cowboy caviar

How To Store Leftovers

Refrigerator: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Freezer: I do not recommend freezing Texas caviar due to the avocado, but if you omit it, freezing is just fine and will stay fresh for up to 2 months in a freezer-safe container.

Serving Suggestions

Texas Caviar has a fresh and tangy flavor and can be served in a variety of ways. A few of our favorite options are:

  • Texas Cowboy Caviar is typically served chilled, but it’s great at room temperature too.
  • Serve it as a dip scooped up with your favorite tortilla chips, or for a fresh take, endive is sturdy and perfect for scooping.
  • You can also roll it up in a tortilla, use it as a taco filler for corn tortillas or leafy greens, and top it with Vegan Cashew Sour Cream for a delicious meal.
  • Or make it into a salad tossed with chopped romaine or other leafy greens, and topped with pepitas, hemp hearts or sunflower seeds, and extra lime juice.

We love making a batch and grazing on it throughout the day. It’s a great munchie food to huddle around during game time and movie nights.

top down view of a whole grain tortilla chip scooped up Texas cowboy caviar.

More Appetizer & Dip Recipes!

If you try this Texas Caviar recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.

Print

TEXAS CAVIAR (COWBOY CAVIAR)

Texas caviar can be served as a healthy dip, salad, or side dish. It’s naturally vegan, gluten-free, and loaded with protein and fiber!

  • Author: Julie | The Simple Veganista
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 4 cups 1x
  • Category: Salad, Side
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 can (15oz) black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (14oz) corn, drained
  • 2 red bell peppers, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeno, finely diced (a few seeds are ok)
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 large or 2 small avocados, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 limes, juice of
  • 34 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • mineral salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, ad generous pinch of salt. Set aside. (You can also just pour the ingredients over the assembled salad before tossing, as mentioned in the post, but mixing will help dissolve the spices.)

Prep: Drain and rinse the black eyes peas and black beans. Drain the canned corn, or if using fresh corn cut it off the cobb. Dice the red peppers, jalapeno, and onion. Chop the cilantro.

Avocado: The easiest and quickest way to dice an avocado for this recipe, is to slice it in half, remove the seed, using a knife, score the flesh in to segments, using a cross-hatch pattern, being careful to not break through the skin. Scoop it out using a large spoon, getting as close to the skin as possible, in one swoop.

Assemble: In a large bowl, add the beans, corn, bell pepper, jalapeno, onion, avocado and cilantro. Pour the dressing overtop and toss well to coat. Taste for flavor.

Eat right away, or let the salad rest in the refrigerator for a few hours to let the flavors mingle.

Leftovers will stay fresh for up to 4 – 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I don’t recommend freezing this salad/salad if adding avocado, if planning on freezing, omit the avocado and add it when serving. Freeze for up to 2 months.

Makes about 2 quarts.

Notes

Optional add-ins or substitutes:

  • Fresh or canned tomatoes, such as Rotel
  • Fresh minced garlic
  • Handful of sliced olives
  • Chopped celery
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Chickpeas
  • Shoepeg corn

Nutritional information includes the oil, if omitting the oil, the fat will be cut in half to around 5.1 grams per serving.

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4 Comments

  1. I’ve made it 3 times in the past month! Very easy to make and always a big hit with the family. My family, especially at BBQs cook a lot of meat, they all loved this and found it be highly addicting. They couldn’t stop eating it and had to finally walk away :-)

    This will be my go to recipe for BBQs and summer parties.

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Yes! That’s makes my day, so glad everyone loves it! Thanks so much for the sharing! Cheers :)

  2. OMG I love this! Had it for supper last night, and the remainder for lunch at the office today. Delicious, I will be having it again and again. I can see how easily you could adapt it, depending on what you had to hand. For example, I couldn’t find black beans so had borlotti beans instead. The dressing is gorgeous too, love its little kick!
    Thanks so much, truly enjoyed this.
    All the best
    Deborah

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Thanks Deborah! Sounds like you enjoyed it as much as I did! Cheers :)

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