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Cowboy Caviar Recipe

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This Cowboy Caviar Recipe originated in Texas, made with black eyed peas, black beans, corn, red and green peppers, onion and a zesty lime dressing.  Spice it up with some jalapeño and add some avocado for extra flavor! This makes the perfect summer salad, side dish or appetizer or addition to game day.  

Cowboy Caviar Recipe in a tin bowl.

COWBOY CAVIAR RECIPE

I love how easy this side dish or appetizer is to put together and it is vegan, gluten-free and healthy for you! 

It makes a great recipe as a side dish, salad or appetizers for a summer get-together and with Memorial Day coming up this would be a great addition to the table.

If you like beans you should also try my Mediterranean Bean Salad or this Mango and Black Bean Dip. Both are favorites! 

I love the crunchy texture from the fresh vegetables mixed with the creamy beans.

The hint of spice from jalapeños and the zesty lime dressing are the perfect finishing touch. 

You might be wondering “What is Cowboy Caviar?” 

It originated around the 1940s in Texas as a dip consisting of black-eyed peas in a vinaigrette and was often served with corn chips. You might hear it a called Texas caviar recipe. 

It was given it’s caviar name almost as a joke because it’s basically a very poor man’s version of the more expensive real caviar.

Cowboy Caviar Recipe ingredients.

WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE IN THIS COWBOY CAVIAR RECIPE?

  • BLACK EYED PEAS: The black eyed peas are the key to this recipe. These set the dip apart from other bean dips! 
  • BLACK BEANS:  I really like the black beans but you can sub in other types of beans like kidney, pinto or white beans. 
  • CORN: I like to use fresh sweet corn off of the cob but you can easily used canned or even frozen. 
  • RED AND GREEN BELL PEPPER: You can sub in any color bell pepper you like! Try poblano peppers for some added spice. 
  • RED ONIONS: I like red onion but any onion works great in this dip. 
  • GARLIC: Minced garlic gives the dip a bit of extra flavor but the dip is still great without it. You can also use garlic powder if you don’t have fresh garlic. 

 

  • JALAPEÑO: This is optional but I really like it for the heat it gives the dip. 
  • CILANTRO: Fresh cilantro is a great addition to this dip. You can sub in parsley or green onion.
  • LIME JUICE: Fresh lime juice adds nice citrus flavor to the dip and balances out the heat from the jalapeños.  
  • OLIVE OIL & RED WINE VINEGAR {or sub in white wine vinegar}
  • CHILI POWDER & CUMIN
  • HONEY
  • AVOCADO: This is optional but I like adding it if I have it on hand.

Cowboy Caviar Recipe with chips.

HOW DO YOU MAKE THIS COWBOY CAVIAR RECIPE?

This recipe is so easy to make and comes together in under 10 minutes.

You can also meal-prep this ahead of time – it tastes great after the flavors meld together! 

In a large bowl, combine the black eyed peas, beans, corn, red and green peppers, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro. Toss to combine.

In a bowl mix the olive oil, vinegar, sugar and spices.

Pour over the blackeyed pea mixture.

Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Serve with crackers or chips.

Cowboy Caviar Recipe in a bowl with cilantro.

TIPS FOR MAKING THIS COWBOY CAVIAR

  • Store the leftover cowboy caviar in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I think the dip tastes better the next day when all of the flavors meld together. I recommend leaving out the avocado if you plan on having leftovers or just add avocado to the portion you plan on eating. 
  • Drain the black eyed peas, beans, and corn then rinse and pat dry with a paper towel. This helps prevent too much excess water. 
  • Add the vinaigrette and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour to meld the flavors for best results. If I store leftovers I will add more dressing when I am ready to serve this dip to my guests. 
  • This dip can be served as a dip, an appetizer, or as a side dish. It makes a great addition to a BBQ or potluck.

Cowboy Caviar Recipe with beans.

COWBOY CAVIAR MODIFICIATIONS

CHEESE: Sometimes I will add cheese to this dip. Try cotija cheese, feta cheese, Parmesan cheese or pepper jack cheese. 

PROTEIN: You can add a protein like grilled shrimp, shredded or cubed chicken, flank steak or pork

VEGETABLES: There are a lot of options when adding in additional vegetables. I like celery, radishes, carrots and poblanos. 

SPICES: You can add a variety of spices to this dip. Try cayenne red pepper, smoked paprika, chipotle chili powder or crushed red pepper. 

Cowboy Caviar Recipe with spoon.

HOW CAN I USE THIS COWBOY CAVIAR RECIPE?

This dip works great as a topping for seafood. I love adding it to Air Fryer Cod, Black Sea Bass Recipe or this Baked Cod with Lemon

I also enjoy using this on tacos like these Easy Cod Fish Tacos, Tilapia Fish Tacos, or these Southwestern Breakfast Egg Tacos. 

Pair it with other proteins- I love this Chicken Tinga Recipe, Mexican Grilled Chicken, Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken or this Slow Cooker Mexican Beef Brisket. If you like pork try this Instant Pot Mojo Pork Roast or these Easy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Cowboy Caviar Recipe with logo.

Cowboy Caviar Recipe in a tin bowl.

Cowboy Caviar Recipe

Yield: 6-8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This Cowboy Caviar Recipe originated in Texas, made with black eyed peas, black beans, corn, red and green peppers, onion and a zesty lime dressing.  Spice it up with some jalapeño and add some avocado for extra flavor! This makes the perfect summer salad, side dish or appetizer or addition to game day.  

Ingredients

  • 1 - 15.5 ounce can black eyed peas, drained, rinsed and dried
  • 1 - 5.5 ounce can black beans, drained, rinsed and dried
  • 1 - 15 ounce can sweet corn, drained and dried {2 ears of corn}
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced small
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped lightly
  • 1-2 jalapeños, seeded and diced {optional}
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lime juice, fresh squeezed
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 avocado, diced, optional

Instructions

    1. In a large bowl, combine the black eyed peas, beans, corn, red and green peppers, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro. Toss to combine.
    2. In a bowl mix the olive oil, vinegar, sugar and spices.
    3. Pour over the blackeyed pea mixture.
    4. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
    5. Serve with crackers or chips.
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