Texas Caviar, often called Cowboy Caviar, is a simple salad made with black-eyed peas, peppers, corn, tomatoes, and a tangy homemade dressing. It is light, refreshing, and comes together in just 10 minutes.
Don't let the name fool you, there is no caviar in this recipe for Texas Caviar!
According to Wikipedia, the name originates from the 1940s when someone jokingly called this dish served at an Austin hotel Texas Caviar. Now it is known as either Texas Caviar or Cowboy Caviar and it has NO resemblance to actual Caviar.
Instead, Texas Caviar is made with a combination of fresh tomatoes, peppers, onions, corn, cilantro, black-eyed peas, black beans, and a tangy dressing. It is often served alongside tortilla chips for a tasty dip, but can also stand alone as a side dish or salad.
Regardless of how you serve this Texas Caviar, AKA Cowboy Caviar, it is light, refreshing, and packed full of flavor!
Notes on Ingredients
- Dressing: The dressing is made with olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, lime juice, dried spices, and salt.
- Black-Eyed Peas: Use canned, rinsed black-eyed peas for this recipe, or defrosted frozen or cooked dried black-eyed peas.
- Black Beans: Black beans add a bit of color and flavor contrast to this recipe. Feel free to use additional black-eyed peas in their place.
- Tomatoes: I often opt to use either grape or cherry tomatoes for this recipe, as they are always in season and do not need to be deseeded. If you have fresh vine-ripened or Roma tomatoes, be sure to deseed them before chopping, to prevent watering down the Cowboy Caviar.
- Green Onions: I find yellow, red, or Vidalia onions to overwhelm the other ingredients, so recommend using green onions, as they add just the right amount of flavor.
- Green Pepper: This is one recipe that I prefer using green bell peppers over red, yellow, or orange bell peppers. The flavor of the green pepper is fresh and a bit tart, while the other varieties are much sweeter. Of course, feel free to use what you have on hand.
- Jalapeno: A bit of jalapeno adds a kick to the Texas Caviar. You can control the heat by omitting the jalapeno for really sensitive palates. If you want to increase the heat, do not remove the seeds of the jalapeno before mincing.
- Using Store-Bought Dressing: Some recipes for Texas Caviar call for bottled Italian Dressing, but I find that this homemade dressing is so much brighter in flavor and compliments this dish better and it only takes a few minutes to make. However, you can opt to use bottled Italian Dressing if desired. Use ⅓ cup of bottled Italian Dressing in place of the homemade dressing.
- Vegan-Friendly: Use agave syrup can be used in place of the honey, to keep Texas Caviar vegan-friendly.
- Serve as a side salad. I love it alongside Blackened Mahi Mahi and Shrimp Tacos.
- Serve with tortilla chips for a delicious party dip.
- Top grilled chicken, pork, or flank steak with a scoop of Texas Caviar for a bright burst of flavor.
- Add a scoop of this black-eyed pea salad to the filling for Bean Burritos or use it as a topping to add flavor and dimension to Burrito Bowls or Vegetarian Enchiladas.
- Serve on New Year's Day or Eve as a dip, as black-eyed peas are said to bring good luck in the New Year.
Leftover Texas Caviar can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days after preparation. I find the flavors and texture to be best if served within 48 hours of preparation.
More Party Perfect Dips
If you tried this recipe for Texas Caviar or Cowboy Caviar, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
- 15 ounces black beans rinsed and drained
- 15 ounces black eyed peas rinsed and drained
- 1 ½ cups corn
- 1 bell pepper diced
- ½ cup green onion thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeno pepper seeds removed and minced finely
- 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
- ⅓ cup cilantro finely chopped
Texas Caviar Dressing
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lime juice fresh-squeezed
- 1 teaspoon honey or sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- In a small bowl whisk together oil, lime juice, vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and coriander.
- Combine black beans, black eyed peas, corn, pepper, jalapeno, onions, and tomatoes together Add in dressing toss until well combined.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
- Before serving, add in cilantro and stir to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with tortilla chips or as a side salad.