Cowboy Caviar is a fresh and easy dip recipe that can be tossed together at a moment’s notice! Serve it with tortilla chips for a winning appetizer.

Wooden bowl full of cowboy caviar with a lime and fresh cilantro to the side.

Having grown up in the Western United States, my only exposure to cowboy caviar until I made it myself at home was through the internet.

I’ve feasted my eyes on recipes for homemade cowboy caviar, just imagining how all of the fresh flavors and textures come together.

Truly ogling over photos on the internet and social media didn’t do the experience justice because I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that it was even tastier than I had imagined.

In addition to dip, I now use cowboy caviar as a condiment from everything to Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowls and Carne Asada Burrito Bowls to Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos

But before I get ahead of myself, let’s chat details for those who are cowboy caviar newbies. 

What is Cowboy Caviar?:

Cowboy caviar (also known as Texas caviar due to it originating from Texas) is a dip full of fresh ingredients like corn, bell peppers, beans, black eye peas, jalapeno, and a tangy dressing to bring it all together. 

Like many traditional recipes, everyone has their own approach. Some people add diced avocados or tomatoes, and some people add chili powder and ground cumin to the dressing. 

Cowboy caviar is served with chips as a dip or salsa, similar to the concept of pico de gallo. While it makes an excellent appetizer for the chips and dip application, it can also be used as a condiment for tacos, burrito bowls, salads, or even used as a simple side dish.

In this sense, fresh and delicious Texas caviar is often a crowd favorite due to its flavors, ease of preparation, and versatility. 

Cowboy caviar in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon, ready to serve.

Let’s discuss the healthy ingredients for cowboy caviar.

Cowboy Caviar Ingredients:

Black Beans and Black-Eyed Peas: A sizable volume of Texas caviar comes from black beans and black eyed peas.

To keep life easy, I buy canned beans and peas and simply drain and rinse them well before using them. If you enjoy cooking your own beans, feel free!

Corn (Fresh Corn, Frozen Corn, or Canned Corn): Adding a burst of sweetness and a pop of color. Corn works marvelously in dips and salsas.

Red Bell Pepper: Contributing a hint of smokiness, mild bell peppers add a sweet chili flair. 

Red Onion: Bringing zingy flavor to the dip, red onion provides a small kick of heat.

Jalapeno: Don’t worry, we remove the seeds first. 😉 One jalapeño pepper adds some smoky flavor.

As long as you remove the seeds and insides before chopping it, the dip will be very mild (not spicy at all).

Do keep in mind that the spice levels of jalapenos vary widely so if you’re serving guests who prefer mild food, you may choose to skip it.

Cilantro: Fresh cilantro gets chopped up and added in for that slight herby flavor. Skip it if you don’t like cilantro!

Dressing Ingredients:

Olive Oil or Avocado Oil: Providing some richness to the dressing, we need olive oil or avocado oil. This ingredient helps bring all of the flavors together and provide a backbone for the dressing.

Red Wine Vinegar or Fresh Lime Juice: We need something tangy for the dressing! I like using red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, or fresh lime juice. Balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon juice, and white wine vinegar work too.

Fresh Garlic: One small clove of garlic helps add just a touch of garlic flavor, which I love.

Sea Salt, Black Pepper: The simple combination of salt and pepper is all we need for seasoning this delicious dip. Add both to your personal taste.

There are many ways you can customize this simple dip. Here are some ideas.

Recipe Adaptations:

  • Swap out the black beans or black eye peas for pinto beans, garbanzo beans or kidney beans if you prefer.
  • Add 1 cup of seeded and chopped roma tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes.
  • Use green bell pepper or orange bell pepper instead of red bell pepper.
  • Add 3 to 5 stalks of chopped green onions.
  • Swap the fresh garlic out for 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.
  • Turn it into a whole new ball game by tossing additional fresh veggies into the large mixing bowl and turning this hearty dip into a black bean salad. Spring greens, carrots, celery, raw broccoli and avocado are my recommendations when taking this approach.
  • If you have fresh herbs from your garden on hand, feel free to add some into this great recipe.
  • Swap the dressing out in this recipe for your favorite homemade Italian salad dressing.

Now that we’re familiar with the basic ingredients for cowboy caviar, let’s make it!

How to Make Cowboy Caviar:

Open the cans of black beans beans and black eye peas and drain them into a colander. Rinse well with cool water and toss a few times to eliminate any excess water.

Black eyed peas in a colander, ready to be put to use.

Transfer the black eyed peas and black beans to a large bowl along with the corn, chopped bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro.

In a small bowl, stir together the ingredients for the dressing until well combined. Pour the dressing over the cowboy caviar and toss everything together until it is well coated in dressing.

Red mixing bowl with cowboy caviar ingredients inside.

Serve with tortilla or corn chips for dipping or serve cowboy caviar as a condiment, side salad, or side dish.

Mixing bowl with Texas caviar all mixed up with a wooden spoon, ready to serve.

Store cowboy caviar in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Texas caviar is even more flavorful the next day and the 3-4 days following preparation. For this reason, feel free to make it in advance of when you need it!

The great thing about this flavorful dip is it saves well, is budget-friendly to prepare, and everyone loves to love it!

Wooden bowl full of Cowboy Caviar, ready to serve with chips as an appetizer.

And that’s it! 

The next time you’re attending a potluck or having guests over, whip up this easy dip recipe for everyone to enjoy.

It requires hardly any time to make (15 minutes if you’re taking your time) and everyone loves the fresh flavors.

This great make-ahead recipe can be made last minute any time of year, including the winter months.

The mix of black beans and fresh vegetables in this easy recipe for healthy cowboy caviar is a huge hit among friends and family.

It is a great way of adding freshness to any summer bbq or gathering where food is a necessity. Plus, it’s ready in record time!

If you enjoy dip recipes, here are some more dips to try.

More Dip Recipes:

For all your dipping needs!

Wooden bowl full of cowboy caviar with a lime and fresh cilantro to the side.

Easy Cowboy Caviar

5 from 1 vote
This quick and simple cowboy caviar recipe is big on flavor and the perfect appetizer for guests. Serve it with chips or use it as a condiment for tacos, burrito bowls, and more.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings: 10 Servings

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 (15-oz) can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-oz) can black eyed peas drained and rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups corn fresh, frozen, or canned corn*
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • cup red onion diced
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro chopped

For the Dressing:

  • ¼ cup olive oil or avocado oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar or fresh lime juice
  • 1 small garlic clove minced
  • ½ tsp sea salt or to taste
  • ¼ tsp black pepper or to taste

Instructions

  • Open the cans of black beans beans and black eye peas and drain them into a colander. Rinse well with cool water and toss a few times to eliminate any excess water.
  • Transfer the black eyed peas and black beans to a large bowl along with the corn, chopped bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the ingredients for the dressing until well combined. Pour the dressing over the cowboy caviar and toss everything together until it is well coated in dressing.
  • Serve with tortilla or corn chips for dipping or serve cowboy caviar as a condiment, side salad, or side dish.

Notes

*I use frozen corn

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving (of 10) · Calories: 160kcal · Carbohydrates: 19g · Protein: 5g · Fat: 7g · Saturated Fat: 1g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Monounsaturated Fat: 4g · Sodium: 544mg · Potassium: 274mg · Fiber: 5g · Sugar: 5g
Author: Julia Mueller
Course: Appetizers
Cuisine: American
Keyword: amazing appetizer recipes, appetizer, black bean salad, corn salsa recipe, cowboy caviar, healthy side dish
Did You Make This Recipe?I want to see it! Tag @the.roasted.root on social media!

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Julia Mueller
Meet the Author

Julia Mueller

Julia Mueller is a recipe developer, cookbook author, and founder of The Roasted Root. She has authored three bestselling cookbooks, – Paleo Power Powers, Delicious Probiotic Drinks, and The Quintessential Kale Cookbook. Her recipes have been featured in several national publications such as BuzzFeed, Self, Tasty, Country Living, Brit.co, etc.

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