Cowboy Caviar is a healthy, colorful and addictive bean and corn salad and chip dip! Beans are combined with tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeño, charred sweet corn, red onion and cilantro and tossed in a flavorful chili lime vinaigrette. Serve with tortilla chips or use it a multitude of ways! Yields about 9 cups or about 18 (1/2 cup) servings.
This is your sign to make Cowboy Caviar this weekend.
What is cowboy caviar? Also known as Texas caviar, it’s a cross between a corn and bean salad and a loaded salsa or pico de gallo. There are a so many cowboy caviar recipes on the internet and I truly believe there’s no wrong way to make it. It’s deliciously addictive and the key ingredients are fresh and colorful diced veggies, 2 kinds of beans and a citrusy vinaigrette.
Basically, heaven in a bowl.
In this recipe, I toss black beans and black eyed peas with charred corn, diced roma tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, jalapeño, red onion, cilantro and avocado with a super simple and flavorful chili lime vinaigrette.
Devour with chips and save any leftovers (if you’re lucky to have them!) and use a bunch of different ways! Don’t worry, I’ve made you a list! 😉
To Make This Cowboy Caviar You Will Need:
for the dressing:
- garlic – This adds distinct and punchy flavor.
- sugar – For subtle sweetness and flavor.
- kosher salt – You need this in order to draw out flavor
- cumin – Lends earthiness and warmth, with an edge of citrus.
- coriander – Gives the dressing citrusy flavor with a slight sweetness and subtle hint of earthiness.
- chili powder – Is typically a blend of paprika, cumin, cayenne, garlic, parsley, oregano and black pepper. And can be mild or spicy depending on the amount of cayenne in the mixture.
- lime juice – For acidity and citrus flavor.
- olive oil – This adds richness and will round out the dressing.
- balsamic vinegar – Lends tang and complex sweetness.
for the salsa:
- black beans – A nutritional powerhouse containing plant based protein, antioxidants, fiber and carbohydrates.
- black eyed peas – Extremely nutrient dense with plenty of plant based protein and fiber. Also a good source of several important micronutrients, including copper, folate, thiamine, and iron. May substitute with pinto beans.
- sweet corn – Adds color and sweetness.
- roma tomatoes – Are less acidic and have fresh and tangy flavor.
- orange bell pepper – Add sweetness, crunch and color.
- yellow bell pepper– Add sweetness, crunch and color.
- red onion – Consider soaking onions in ice water removes a lot of the bite. You still get onion flavor but it mellows out considerably.
- jalapeños – Adds a pop of green and some heat. Remove seeds and ribs for less of a kick.
- cilantro – Lends fresh, citrusy (and to some a soapy) flavor.
- avocado – Adds creaminess but is optional.
MAKE THE DRESSING:
In a glass jar or bowl, add 2 large cloves grated garlic, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 3/4 teaspoon coriander, 3/4 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoons sugar, 1/3 cup lime juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. If you’re leery of the balsamic vinegar, add 1 teaspoon at a time and taste as you go!
Whisk to combine and set off to the side for the flavors to blend.
Make The Salad:
Add 1-3/4 cups sweet corn (thawed if frozen) to a dry skillet and cook over medium heat. Cook, undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes or until a good char forms. Stir and repeat for another 2 to 3 minutes until charred in spots. Remove off of the heat and let cool.
Not wanting this extra step? That’s fine! Simply add the sweet corn as is to the salad.
In a large mixing bowl add 1 (15 ounce) can each black beans and black eyed peas (drained and rinsed). Then add in 2 to 3 diced roma tomatoes (seeds removed and discarded), 1 finely diced yellow and orange bell pepper, the (cooled) charred corn, 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, 2 finely diced jalapeños (seeds and ribs removed for less heat) and 1 medium red onion finely diced.
Where Can You Find Black Eyed Peas?
I had a heck of a time here in Michigan. Typically you can find canned black eyed peas with either the canned beans or near the canned peas. However after checking a bunch of different stores, I ended up buying a bag of dried black eyed peas and soaking and cooking them myself.
If soaking and cooking beans yourself, you will need 8 ounces of both cooked black beans and black eyed peas (16 ounces total).
Pour in all of the chili lime dressing
Use a spatula to toss and combine.
Lastly, add in 2 small diced avocados.
Gently stir to incorporate.
Taste test using the chips you will be serving this with and then season with more salt if desired.
Serve in a giant bowl with chips or halved (and seeded) mini sweet peppers!
How To use and Serve Cowboy Caviar:
- Serve in a bowl and dip with tortilla chips or seeded and halved mini peppers.
- Use to top grilled chicken, salmon or serve with shrimp.
- Add to burritos, fajitas or tacos.
- Serve over nachos, salads or rice bowls.
- Add to cheesy scrambled eggs, huevos rancheros or tuck into a breakfast quesadilla.
- Use pinto beans instead of black eyed peas.
- Add smoked paprika or a minced chipotle pepper (in adobo) to the dressing for smoky flavor.
- Substitute red wine vinegar for the balsamic.
- Substitute green onion for red onion for a milder onion flavor.
How Long Will Cowboy Caviar Last?
If you aren’t serving a crowd, you will find that this holds up pretty well in the fridge for up to 5 days. Toss well before re-serving to redistribute the dressing.
Can You Freeze Cowboy Caviar?
I personally would not freeze this to use as a salsa/dip later on because of the fresh herbs and vegetables would thaw out funky. However if you plan to use this in chili or a taco meat, I don’t see why not.
More Bean Salads:
FOR THE CHILI LIME VINAIGRETTE:
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/3 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
FOR THE COWBOY CAVIAR:
- 1¾ cup sweet corn, thawed if frozen
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can black eyed peas, or use pinto beans
- 2 to 3 roma tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
- 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 2 jalapeños, remove seeds and ribs for less heat
- 1 medium red onion, finely diced
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 small avocados, diced
MAKE THE CHILI LIME VINAIGRETTE:
- In a glass jar or bowl, add garlic, sugar, kosher salt, ground cumin, coriander, chili powder, lime juice, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Secure a lid and shake or use a whisk to combine.
MAKE THE COWBOY CAVIAR:
- Add corn to a dry skillet. Heat on medium heat. Cook undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes or until a good char forms. Stir and repeat for another 2 to 3 minutes until charred in spots. Remove off of the heat and let cool.
- In a large bowl add black beans, black eyed peas (or pinto beans), tomatoes, bell peppers, corn, jalapeños, red onion and cilantro.
- Pour in the chili lime vinaigrette and toss to coat.
- Add avocado last (if using) and gently toss to combine.
- Tatse test using the chips you will be serving this with and then season with more salt if desired.
Buy the Cookbook: Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy Now available on Amazon »
THANK YOU in advance for your support!