Is this a salsa? Or a salad? Or a dip?? Cowboy Caviar… This colorful, no-cook, hearty appetizer will take care of all your get togethers.
Make a giant bowl of Cowboy Caviar, throw in some tortilla chips and the entire party will be scooping this till it disappears.
Why not? This addictive mix of beans, crunchy bell peppers, corn, cherry tomatoes and creamy avocado in an easy homemade zesty dressing is all it takes, and you have your new party favorite.
Cowboy, aka Texas, Caviar is not only just a party appetizer, but it’s great as a quick, healthy lunch option as a salad, or as a topping over grilled meats.
When you’re entertaining or having company, all you want to do is throw together something quick and easy, yet tasty and inviting.
Cowboy Caviar is so similar to our Middle Eastern Balela, which we absolutely love, so we decided to give it a go. And we approve big time.
This no cook make ahead appetizer is a tasty, fun dip from Texas… Cowboy Caviar!!
Why You Will Love Cowboy Caviar
- This dip can’t get easier to make, it’s a no-cook appetizer. Simply chop some veggies and mix everything with an easy homemade dressing. All it takes is 10 minutes of your time.
- It’s colorful and pretty, perfect for potlucks, get togethers and picnics.
- It’s budget friendly and inexpensive.
- Feeds large crowds.
- It can be highly adaptable to whatever you have on hand, and is very versatile in how you serve it, besides just as a dip.
What is Cowboy Caviar
Cowboy Caviar happened when some Midwesterner tried to combine a bean salad with a fresh salsa. Yes, this popular chip dip originated in Texas.
It might have been given the name, “Texas Caviar,” as a humorous comparison to true caviar, which is an expensive hors d’oeuvre of salt-cured fish roe. The round shape of the beans might resemble the fish roe to whoever imagined it as a poor man’s caviar.
Also known as Cowboy Salsa or Texas Caviar, it’s made with simple, healthy, fresh ingredients like beans, tomatoes, bell peppers, corn and avocado. Drizzle on a tangy and zesty dressing, and it becomes a very addictive and delicious party dip for potlucks, game days and summer parties.
Besides serving it along with tortilla chips, it can be used in many different ways, like in tacos, burritos or as a topping for grilled meats. We will tell you all…
Cowboy Caviar Ingredients
- Beans – Black beans and black eyed peas. Beans make this dip hearty and nutritious.
- Veggies – Bell peppers (use multi colored for more colors in the bowl), tomatoes (we used cherry tomatoes for firmness and crunch), red onion, corn kernels, avocado.
- To add major salsa factor – Jalapeño and cilantro.
- For Dressing – Olive oil, lime juice, honey, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.
How to Make Cowboy Caviar
This dip can’t get easier to whip up. It’s as simple as chopping and mixing everything in the biggest bowl you can find.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, honey, chili powder, cumin and salt and pepper.
Add drained and rinsed black beans, black eyed peas, cherry tomatoes, jalapeño, corn, avocado, bell peppers, onion and cilantro in a large bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and stir gently to combine.
Taste and adjust for salt, lime and honey to taste.
Texas Caviar Recipe Tips:
1. Though Cowboy Caviar tastes great as soon as you mix everything up, it’s a little better after a couple of hours, chilled in your refrigerator. This allows all the flavors mingle with each other. This makes it a perfect contender for a Make Ahead Party Appetizer, or meal prep for your lunches.
2. If you are making this dip in advance, add in avocado at the last minute, right before serving. Avocado tends to get brown over time. To preserve its bright green color, it’s best to stir it in before serving.
3. Use any firm, yet ripe tomatoes for this dip, so they maintain their shape without turning mushy. We love to use cherry tomatoes for this recipe.
4. Cut all the veggies into similar sized, small pieces so they can be scooped well with tortilla chips.
5. Give it a good stir every time you serve it, as the dressing might sink to the bottom of the bowl over time.
6. Always taste and adjust the dip in the end to your liking. You can zest it up more with salt or lime juice, or add in more sweetness by adding additional honey.
Cowboy Caviar Serving Suggestions
1. Serve it as dip, scooped by your favorite corn chips or any other tortilla chips. The chip bowls are perfect to scoop this delicious party dip.
2. Serve it as a side dish with dinner or use this cowboy caviar as a topping for all your grilled meats.
3. Use it in your tacos, burritos or in quesadillas or in burrito bowls. Great upgrade over just using black beans. We love it in our breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs.
4. It’s a great lunch as a healthy salad. You can mix in some greens or a little cooked rice for more volume.
Cowboy Caviar Variations :
- You can use any other beans available like pinto beans, kidney beans or garbanzo beans.
- Add some protein to the mix like cooked chicken or shrimp for a great protein rich healthy lunch.
- Add in crumbled cheese like feta, goat or cotija cheese.
- Serve it with any other of your favorite dressings, like Italian dressing.
Leftover and Storage
Cowboy Caviar holds up extremely well in the refrigerator, and will be great for about 4-5 days. Go ahead and make a big batch for an easy lunch option throughout the week.
The veggies might produce liquid, so you just need to stir the dip before serving, so as to coat it well with its dressing.
Can you Freeze Cowboy Caviar?
We wouldn’t recommend freezing this dip. Delicate veggies like tomatoes and avocado will not fare well, and will be soggy and limp when frozen and thawed. When serving, you want the freshness and crunch in this dip.
Saying that, you can make this dish 1-2 days in advance to save on some prep time, then store it tightly covered in the refrigerator.
If you have a few cans of some beans in your pantry, go ahead and chop some veggies and make this poor man’s caviar today.
Mark our words, this will be a big hit for all your upcoming parties and potlucks, as everyone will flock to this colorful fun bowl of Texas Caviar… Get scooping!!
Cowboy Caviar, in our Gypsy Bowl… enjoy!
- 1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15oz can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup corn kernels (we used thawed frozen corn)
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1/2 cup red onion, diced
- 1 jalapeño, diced
- 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 limes, juiced
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Tortilla chips
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, honey, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.
- Add black beans, black eyed peas, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno, corn, avocado, bell peppers, onion and cilantro in a large bowl.
- Drizzle with the dressing and stir gently to combine. Taste and adjust for salt, lime and honey to taste.
- Serve immediately, or cover and chill until serving time. Serve with tortilla chips.
Never miss a recipe!
Join the GypsyPlate mailing list and get easy dinner recipes right in your mailbox. From homestyle comfort food to exotic dishes from around the world.