Published Jul 31, 2023, Updated Oct 03, 2023
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This cowboy caviar is loaded with fresh veggies and beans all tossed in a zesty homemade dressing. It’s perfect for a potluck served with tortilla chips or as a side salad with protein.
Say hello to your new favorite dip… cowboy caviar! I first tried cowboy caviar last summer and have been thinking about it ever since.
It kind of reminds me of my pineapple salsa, but is loaded with beans instead of pineapple and has a zesty dressing that has a hint of spice and sweetness.
I love serving this cowboy caviar as a dip with tortilla chips, but it also makes for an excellent side dish or topping to tacos, nachos or burritos. Added bonus: it can be whipped up in about 15 minutes and makes a huge batch so is perfect for feeding a crowd.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Versatile: It’s an adaptable dish that can be served as a salad, dip or side dish!
- Nutritious: Packed with protein from beans, healthy fats from olive oil and avocado and an array of vitamins from the fresh veggies this dip is packed with nutrition.
- Flavorful: With the combination of lime juice, taco seasoning, honey and jalapeños every bite of this cowboy caviar is an explosion of flavors.
- Easy to make: This recipe comes together in about 15 minutes!
What is Cowboy Caviar?
Cowboy caviar, also known as Texas Caviar, is a vibrant and hearty dip that originated in the Southwest United States. It’s a colorful medley of fresh, chopped vegetables, beans and sometimes corn, all tossed in a zesty vinaigrette. The key to great cowboy caviar is its variety of textures and flavors.
The name might suggest a luxurious or complex dish, but it’s quite the opposite. Cowboy caviar is a humble, straightforward dip known for its adaptability and crowd-pleasing qualities. Its ingredients can be easily adjusted based on your preference or what’s available in your pantry. This is a great all-around recipe, whether you’re headed to a cookout, packing a picnic, or just prepping your weekday lunches, cowboy caviar is a delicious choice that everyone will enjoy.
- bell peppers – we’re using a combo of red and orange bell peppers to give our cowboy caviar vibrant color and a crisp, sweet crunch.
- red onions – provide a pungent bite and more crunch.
- jalapeño – this will add a bit of heat. I used jarred sweet and spicy jalapeños from Trader Joe’s but feel free to use fresh ones instead.
- corn – adds a touch of sweetness. I used thawed frozen corn kernels, but feel free to use canned corn, just make sure to drain it first.
- beans – adds a good amount of plant-based protein to this dip. I used black beans and black-eyed peas, but pinto beans or kidney beans would also work well.
- cilantro – adds a refreshing touch and beautiful color to the salad.
- avocado – chopped avocado adds some creaminess and healthy fats. Feel free to use crumbled feta cheese instead of the avocado if you prefer.
- dressing – a blend of fresh lime juice, olive oil, white wine vinegar, taco seasoning, salt, pepper and honey makes a well-rounded dressing that coats every ingredient and pulls the cowboy caviar together.
How to Make
This recipe is super simple and straightforward!
Combine ingredients: In a large bowl, combine your beans, chopped bell peppers, red onion, corn, cilantro and jalapeños.
Make dressing: In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, white wine vinegar, taco seasoning, salt, pepper and honey.
Toss: Pour the dressing over your veggie and bean mixture. Toss well to ensure every ingredient is nicely coated. Add the avocado chunks (or feta cheese) based on your preference.
Serve: Serve it with tortilla chips and enjoy!
Substitutions & Notes
This cowboy caviar recipe is delicious as is, but feel free to customize it based on your personal preferences. Here are some ideas:
- Switch up the beans: This recipe calls for black beans and black-eyed peas, but you could use other beans such as kidney beans, cannellini beans, pinto beans or chickpeas for a different texture and flavor.
- Add more veggies: Feel free to add more veggies or swap some out. Diced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes or zucchini would all be great additions to this recipe.
- Add grains: To make this more of a main dish salad, consider adding cooked quinoa, rice or even pasta.
- Add more protein: Grilled chicken, shredded chicken, cooked shrimp or diced tofu would be a great addition for those looking for a protein-packed meal.
- Change up the cheese: If you want to add cheese, but feta isn’t your thing, try using crumbled cotija cheese, shredded cheddar or cubes of mozzarella.
- Spice it up: If you enjoy a good kick, consider adding more jalapeños or include a pinch of cayenne pepper or a dash of hot sauce.
What to Serve With Cowboy Caviar
I love eating this cowboy caviar straight from a spoon, but it also makes for a vibrant and flavorful side dish or dip. Here are some ways you can serve this recipe:
- As a dip – Since this recipe makes a big batch it’s the perfect dip to serve at parties or potlucks alongside store-bought tortilla chips or these BBQ baked tempeh chips.
- As a side dish – This recipe makes for a great side dish or salad alongside your favorite protein like grilled BBQ chicken, black bean burgers and grilled chicken breast.
- As a topping – Serve this cowboy caviar as a topping on tacos, nachos, burritos, quesadillas, etc. Some recipe ideas: cauliflower tacos, chicken tacos, fish tacos, sweet potato nachos and burrito bowl.
How to Store
To store this cowboy caviar, place it in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator. It’ll stay fresh for up to 4-5 days. Just remember to give it a good stir before serving to redistribute the dressing.
If you’re adding avocado to your cowboy caviar I recommend adding it right before serving to prevent the avocado from browning.
More Dips to Try
- Creamy Hummus
- Lima Bean Hummus
- Healthy Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Everything Bagel Dip
- Healthy 7-Layer Dip
- Easy Guacamole
- Almond Pesto Dip
- Smoked Salmon Dip
- Beet Hummus
- Sweet Potato Hummus
- Whipped Feta Dip
- Easy Black Bean Dip
- Easy Corn Salsa
- Hot Honey Whipped Cottage Cheese
Be sure to check out all of my dips and spreads recipes here on EBF!
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
- ½ red onion, chopped
- 1 ½ cups frozen sweet corn, thawed
- 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz can black eyed peas or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup cilantro
- 1 avocado, chopped or 4 oz crumbed feta cheese
- 2-3 Tablespoons chopped jalapeños, I used jarred sweet and spicy jalapeños
- Combine beans and veggies in a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk together dressing in a small mixing bowl.
- Pour dressing over the mixture, add feta cheese or avocado chunks and serve with tortillas chips!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.