Cowboy Caviar Recipe – Oh Sweet Basil

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by Sweet Basil

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02.05.2023


This cowboy caviar recipe is a delicious dip packed with beans, avocados, corn and loads of more southwestern flavors! A perfect side or appetizer. It comes from my Dad’s side of the family, but I think each family has their own version. I happen to love ours. 

a photo of a large white bowl full of cowboy caviar consisting of black beans, black eyed peas, diced tomatoes, avocados, green bell pepper, corn, black olives and fresh cilantro.

I love that you get that creamy coolness from the avocados with some crunch from the peppers. I love the sweet and the little hint of spicy… mmmmm so yummy. And, it’s easy which is great for when you want something really tasty but you don’t have a lot of time to put something super fancy together. It’s just simple and delicious. Just how it should be.

This recipe is perfect for a potluck or family gathering. I wish I would have thought to bring on our last Deer Valley adventure. As you already know, we are a die hard Deer Valley family. We absolutely love visiting and we are begging our readers to go too, which is paying off because so many of you have emailed (keep them coming!!) about your trip to Deer Valley. 

a bowl of texas caviar loaded with beans, fresh vegetables all mixed with an Italian dressing.

Deer Valley

We went up a few weekends ago and oh my goodness it was fun! I know it’s cheesy that I always say this, but that place is magical. We are always so darn impressed with how kind everyone is. These people come from all over the world to work at Deer Valley because they love it so much. Can you believe that?! And it’s right in our backyard. I’m always a little shocked when I hear locals say that they have yet to go. Guys, take a day and get your buns up there! Even if you don’t ski there’s so much to do, but I HIGHLY recommend trying the skiing especially for your kids.

We did everything we could up there for the weekend and that included snow shoeing. We found this awesome site called, Wasatch Guides that Matt started as a way to help people get outdoors and really experience life. He’s awesome and I can’t believe I’m going to say this as I thought I would just freeze the whole time (yes, I’ve turned into a bit of a ski bunny), but snowshoeing is awesome! You totally work yourself out and man is it beautiful!

We even had a little snow picnic which the kids thought was so fun until their little hands began to freeze. Then it was off to the slopes and at one point even snowboarding on sleds. You had to be there. I think it’s a guy thing.a large white serving bowl full of cowboy caviar consisting of beans, diced avocado, corn, sliced olives, diced bell pepper, tomatoes all topped with an Italian recipe.

 

What is Cowboy Caviar?

Ok, back to the food! Cowboy caviar, or Texas caviar, is a salad with black beans, black-eyed peas and a light vinaigrette-style dressing. Lots of fresh vegetables (diced small) are mixed with the beans. It is supposed to look similar to caviar with all the ingredients being similar in size to the beans. It is perfect as a dip, appetizer, or side dish!

Is Cowboy Caviar Healthy?

When it comes to dip recipes, this is just about as healthy as it gets. Beans are a great source of protein and all those fresh vegetables are full of vitamins and nutrients. If you are concerned about fat or calories, you could lessen the Italian dressing that you add or omit the avocados. Though avocados are the best kind of fat! Mmmmmm…I love them!

a photo of a large white serving bowl full of cowboy caviar salsa.

 

What Goes in Cowboy Caviar?

You will start your grocery shopping on the canned goods aisle and then end up spending most of your time in the produce section. I absolutely love how fresh and healthy this dip is! Here is what you will need:

  • Bell Pepper – Any color works great or a combination of colors…so pretty!
  • Frozen Corn or Hominy – You can add the corn in frozen. I doesn’t take long to thaw at all. 
  • Diced Tomatoes or Cherry Tomatoes – Use Italian or Mexican style tomatoes if you used canned tomatoes and be sure to drain them well.
  • Black Olives – We like to get the medium size and then slice them up.
  • Purple Onion – Dice it up fairly small.
  • Black-eyed Peas – You will want to drain and rinse them well.
  • Black Beans – We also use canned beans, but you can totally make your own if you want to use dried beans. Just make sure they have cooled completely.
  • Italian Dressing – Feel free to choose your favorite store bought brand or you can make it from scratch.
  • Lime – You will use the zest and juice. It adds the best punch of flavor!
  • Diced Green Chiles – You can play with the heat a little here and get mild, medium or hot chiles.
  • Cumin – Just the tiniest bit of cumin adds the best flavor.
  • Avocados – Look for ripe avocados. I like to cut them small while still in the skin and then scoop it out.
  • Cilantro – Chop it up nice and small.
  • Salt and Pepper – Taste as you go as you add the S & P and season to taste.

The measurements of all the ingredients can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.

a photo of a large white serving bowl full of all ingredients for cowboy caviar being stirred together with a metal spoon.

 

Variations for Texas Caviar

In fact, you could totally play around with the flavors too. Want more bite? Add a jalapeno. Want half hominy and half corn? Go for it! When are those things ever a bad thing? Never! This recipe is totally versatile and can be customized to your liking. You can omit things you don’t like or switch up anything. Use pinto beans instead of black beans. 

How to Serve Cowboy Caviar

This is most commonly eaten as a dip with tortilla chips, but I seriously just eat this as a side dish. If we have any left over after a dinner with friends, it is 100% my lunch the next day. Heaven! We have also used it as a topping for tacos, burritos, taco salad, etc. You can add some lettuce to it and make it a salad or mix it with some rice to create a terrific side dish. 

a photo of a large ceramic white bowl full of Texas caviar including black bean and black-eyed peas and chopped bell peppers, onions, corn, avocado, tomatoes and cilantro.

 

How Long Will Cowboy Caviar Keep?

Cowboy caviar will keep up to 5 days in the refrigerator. It should be covered with plastic wrap, or placed in an airtight container. It does not freeze well because some of the ingredients don’t hold up in the freezer.

This is a great make ahead recipe and actually tastes better after it sat for a while to let the flavors meld. You can make it up to 3-4 days ahead of time, but if you can let it sit for a few hours (up to overnight) before serving, that is the real sweet spot! PRO TIP: Don’t add the avocados and cilantro until right before serving.

Tips for Making Cowboy Caviar

  • It’s all about the sit and rest time for this dip. The flavors meld together and soak into the beans and it becomes one glorious bite. Letting it sit for even 30 minutes makes a huge difference. I often make it a day ahead and let it sit overnight for the best flavor.
  • This is so great for big events or holidays because it can be made up to a day or two ahead of time.
  • Add the avocados right before serving for the best color and freshness.
  • Give it a good stir before serving. The dressing settles at the bottom over time so stirring it really well redistributes the dressing through everything.

 

Ok here it goes…I’m going there (use your best cowboy accent)…so saddle up partner and load up your plate full of this here delicious cowboy caviar. It’s fresh, delicious,  totally irresistible, and downright purdy with all those beautiful bright veggies! Yeeeeeeehaw!

 

Cowboy Caviar Salsa

a photo of a large white bowl full of cowboy caviar consisting of black beans, black eyed peas, diced tomatoes, avocados, green bell pepper, corn, black olives and fresh cilantro.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Servings: 8 -12

  • 1 Green Bell Pepper or red or yellow (if you double the recipe just use all three)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Frozen Corn or Hominy
  • 1 Can Diced Italian or Mexican Style Tomatoes, drained or 1 1/2 cups sliced grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 Purple Onion minced
  • 1 Can Black-eyed Peas drained and rinsed 16 ounces
  • 1 Can Black Beans 16 ounces, drained
  • 1 Can Black Olives sliced and drained, 8 ounces
  • 1 Cup Italian Dressing
  • 1 Lime zested and juiced
  • 1/2 Can Diced Green Chiles small can
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 2 Avocados diced
  • 1/2 Bunch Cilantro
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Mix everything, but the avocado and cilantro and let sit a few hours or overnight.

  • Before serving add avocado and cilantro and serve with chips.

store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days

Nutrition Facts

Cowboy Caviar Salsa

Amount Per Serving (1 g)

Calories 321
Calories from Fat 198

% Daily Value*

Fat 22g34%

Saturated Fat 3g19%

Trans Fat 1g

Polyunsaturated Fat 5g

Monounsaturated Fat 12g

Sodium 1128mg49%

Potassium 716mg20%

Carbohydrates 30g10%

Fiber 10g42%

Sugar 9g10%

Protein 7g14%

Vitamin A 592IU12%

Vitamin C 29mg35%

Calcium 80mg8%

Iron 3mg17%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A bowl of cowboy caviar salsa with chips on the side 

 



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