Texas Caviar, often called Cowboy Caviar, is a simple recipe for a healthy party dip that is packed full of flavor! Made with black-eyed peas, peppers, corn, tomatoes, and a tangy homemade dressing, this appetizer is light, refreshing, and comes together in just 10 minutes.
What is Texas Caviar?
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, and 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 Cowboy Caviar, it is light, refreshing, and packed full of flavor! Not to mention, it only takes minutes to prepare, making it an easy recipe to boot.
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 prior to 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 about of flavor.
- Green Pepper: This is one recipe that I prefer using a green bell pepper 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 really 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 prior to mincing.
How to Make Texas Caviar
- In a large mixing bowl, toss together the black-eyed peas, black beans, onions, tomatoes, corn, and jalapenos, and peppers.
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, honey, and seasonings together.
- Add the dressing to the bean mixture and toss to fully incorporate.
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap or a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to 24 hours. This really allows the flavors to de to allow the flavors to marry together.
- Right before serving add in the chopped cilantro and toss the Cowboy Caviar together again.
- Serve immediately.
Texas Caviar is traditionally served with tortilla chips as a dip. However, I find that Cowboy Caviar is delicious served in many other ways.
- Serve as a healthy side dish for beef or fish tacos--or really any meal!
- Top grilled chicken, pork, or flank steak with a scoop of Texas Caviar for a bright burst of flavor.
- Add a scoop of Cowboy Caviar to the filling for Bean Burritos.
Use 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.
- 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 Cowboy Caviar: Use agave syrup can be used in place of the honey, to keep Texas Caviar vegan-friendly.
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
- 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.
- Toss/stir well so that ingredients are well-combined.
- Before serving, add in cilantro and toss again to combine.
- Feel free to substitute white distilled vinegar for red wine vinegar.
- Agave syrup can be used in place of the honey, which keeps this Texas Caviar vegan friendly. Granulated sugar may also be used.
- If using unsalted canned beans or homemade beans, you may need to add an additional ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Taste and season accordingly.
- If using bottled dressing in place of the homemade dressing, use ⅓ cup of bottled Italian Dressing.
- Texas Caviar will last in the fridge for up to 4 days.