This easy Texas Cowboy Caviar is loaded with fresh corn, black-eyed peas, black beans, Roma tomatoes, onions, peppers, jalapenos, and a homemade garlic and lime dressing. It's a healthy and refreshing appetizer or side dish that is perfect for making at the last minute for potlucks or summer BBQs, or for adding to wraps, burritos, and so much more!

An overhead image of a serving spoon in a large bowl of cowboy caviar with a few tortilla chips in it.
Table of Contents
  1. Why We Love This Recipe
  2. What You'll Need
  3. How to Make Cowboy Caviar
  4. Recipe FAQ's
  5. Tips for Success
  6. Substitutions and Variations
  7. More Dip & Salsa Recipes You'll Love
  8. Cowboy Caviar Recipe

Cowboy Caviar is a Super Bowl and summertime staple that is beloved by millions of people. It's also known by many names such as Texas Caviar, Redneck Caviar, Southern Caviar Dip, Mexican Caviar, and Carolina Caviar. No matter what you call it, it's delicious and so easy to make!

I love love LOVE BBQ season, and for us, it starts when it's just warm enough to be outside for it! This colorful Cowboy Caviar is a great recipe and the perfect BBQ side dish as it's packed with fresh sweet and savory flavors.

It's super versatile and goes with just about any meat, especially if it's smoked. You don't need to have the right color of bell pepper, or the right type of beans for this unfussy recipe. Just use what you have, and it'll be great!

You can enjoy this classic side dish on its own as a dip with plenty of tortilla chips (bonus points if they are the lime-flavored tortilla chips) or as a side salad. Or toss it with some chopped greens for a southwest salad and serve it with some grilled chicken breast for an easy main dish.

Some of our other favorite fresh summery sides are this Authentic Pico de Gallo, my classic 7-Layer Dip, this Grilled Mexican Street Corn Dip, and my Grilled Corn Salad.

Chopped tomatoes, onions, and drained beans and corn in a bowl for a party dip.

Why We Love This Recipe

  • Customize this easy recipe with your favorite fresh veggies.
  • Packed with fresh ingredients for the best flavor, it's a healthy and hearty side dish!
  • Throw this salad dip together at the last minute for potlucks and summer cookouts.

What You'll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Cowboy Caviar

  • Beans - Use a combination of black-eyed peas and black beans for the most classic version of this dip, or sub in pinto or other small white beans instead.
  • Vegetables - Fresh corn kernels, chopped Roma tomatoes, a jalapeno, red bell pepper, red onion, and avocados make up the bulk of this dish.
  • Herbs - Fresh cilantro and finely chopped green onions will give this dish added bursts of freshness!
  • Tortilla Chips - Use tortilla chips or corn chips to serve this salad dip as an appetizer or snack. We especially like this with lime flavored tortilla chips.

Dressing

  • Oil & red wine vinegar - For the base of the dressing.
  • Seasoning - A combination of fresh garlic, freshly squeezed lime juice, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and cumin give the dressing classic Tex Mex flavors.
  • Sugar - White granulated sugar works well to balance the acidity of the dressing.
Individual ingredients for Texas cowboy caviar in bowls on a white surface.

How to Make Cowboy Caviar

  1. Make salad dip. Combine black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, chopped tomatoes, jalapeno, bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, avocado, and green onion in a large bowl.
  2. Add seasonings. Add minced garlic, salt, sugar, black pepper, and ground cumin.
  3. Add dressing ingredients. Drizzle olive oil, lime juice, and vinegar over the top.
  1. Combine and serve. Gently toss everything to combine. Taste and adjust salt and lime juice as needed.
Cowboy caviar in a bowl after everything has been tossed together.

Recipe FAQ's

Why is it called cowboy caviar?

Cowboy Caviar was created around 1940 by Helen Corbitt from New York, who later became director of the food service for the Zodiac Room at Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Texas. She served the dish first, on New Year's Eve at the Houston Country Club, but it wasn't until she later served it at the Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas, that it was given its original name "Texas Caviar." The name was intended as a funny comparison to real caviar, which is an expensive delicacy of salt-cured roe that looks like small, dark gray balls—not dissimilar to the black beans in this salad dip.

How do I store cowboy caviar?

Store this salad dip in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Tips for Success

  • Dice the veggies that need chopping as small as you can by hand to let their juices out as that's where the flavor is! Plus, it makes it easier to scoop bites with all of the dip ingredients rather than ending up with large chunks of just one element of this Texas caviar.
  • This recipe makes about 6 cups, or twelve ½ cup servings. You can easily double or triple this recipe for a larger crowd or for larger portions if you like.

How To Serve Cowboy Caviar

Loaded with fresh vegetables and healthy protein, this salad dip is perfect for the warmer weather and summer cookouts. Try it with my Smoked Pulled Pork, these Grilled Juicy Turkey Burgers, or my Texas Barbecue Smoked Brisket.

It's also great for use in other recipes as salad filling too. Try it in my Grilled Chicken Shawarma Wraps, these Mexican Pork Carnitas, or these Grilled Chicken & Steak Fajitas.

Serve alongside other classic Mexican and Southern Tex-Mex flavors like Cornbread, Homemade Mexican Rice, Homemade Guacamole, and my Mexican Style Salsa.

A close overhead image of a bowl of cowboy caviar with tortilla chips and a serving spoon in it.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Turn up the heat. Add some chili powder, more jalapeño peppers, or hot sauce to add a little spice. As written, this Texas caviar recipe isn't spicy at all.
  • Corn. Use 2 ears of corn with the kernels cut off or one (14-ounce) can of corn that has been drained well instead of frozen corn. 
  • Tomatoes. Use cherry tomatoes or whichever kind of tomatoes you have on hand if roma tomatoes aren't available.
  • Beans. You can use different types of beans for this dip. Garbanzo beans (chickpeas), pinto beans, or even white acre peas in place of black-eyed peas.
  • Dressing. Serve this simple dip without a dressing, or with a different salad dressing. My Creamy Cajun Dressing, Cesar Salad Dressing, or an Italian dressing could work well in place of the olive oil, vinegar, and herbs.
  • Veggies. Use your favorite salad veggies for this dip. A green bell pepper will work fine here if you prefer them to red, or a yellow bell pepper would give a slightly sweeter flavor. Celery and cucumber would work well too and give some added crunch.

More Dip & Salsa Recipes You'll Love

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Cowboy Caviar

5 from 1 vote
Amy Nash
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Cowboy Caviar is a healthy and refreshing side dish made with fresh corn, black-eyed peas, black beans, Roma tomatoes, onions, peppers, jalapenos, and a homemade garlic and lime dressing. It's perfect for making at the last minute for potlucks or summer BBQs, or for adding to wraps, burritos, and so much more!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas or pinto beans, drained
  • 1 ½ cups frozen corn
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 2 avocados, peeled and diced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground cumin, to taste (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Combine black beans, black-eyed peas, corn, tomatoes, jalapeno, bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, avocado, and green onion in a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, sugar, black pepper, and ground cumin. Pour dressing over the other ingredients and gently toss everything to combine. Taste and adjust salt and lime juice as needed.

Notes

  • Yield: This recipe makes about 6 cups, or twelve ½ cup servings. You can easily double or triple this recipe for a larger crowd or for larger portions if you like.
  • Storage: Store this salad dip in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 394mg | Potassium: 310mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 548IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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