This Texas caviar (Cowboy caviar) will have everyone crowded around the bowl! It’s full of big, zesty flavor and perfect for parties.
Here’s a tasty dip with a party vibe: Texas caviar! Cowboy caviar, as it’s also known, was invented in Texas and spread all over the US. This combo of black eyed peas, veggies and a vinaigrette dressing is equal parts zesty and comforting: and you can use it as a chip dip or healthy side dish. This recipe has loads of colorful veggies, cilantro and jalapenos, and a simple zingy dressing with the perfect flavor. Even better: it’s also a vegan and gluten free appetizer that’s full of plant-based protein. Here’s how to make this party dip!
Ingredients in Texas caviar, aka Cowboy Caviar
Just like a good potato salad, everyone has their own spin on the ingredients in Texas caviar. The common denominator: you absolutely must use black eyed peas! From there, there are all sorts of variations on the vegetables and dressing. Here are the essential fresh ingredients you need for the salad:
- Black eyed peas, canned or cooked (see below)
- Black beans, canned or cooked
- Red bell pepper
- Cherry tomatoes
- Green onions
- Jalapeno pepper
Texas caviar dressing
Now, let’s talk Cowboy caviar dressing. A common variation of this recipe uses store-bought Italian dressing. But of course you must make homemade! The dressing is simple to whip up using just a few ingredients you’ll likely already have in your pantry and spice drawer. Here’s what’s in this Texas caviar dressing:
- Lime juice
- Apple cider vinegar
- Spices: Garlic powder, cumin, and oregano
- Olive oil
How to make Texas caviar: simply chop all the veggies, then whisk up the dressing and stir it together. Easy as that! Jump to the recipe below for the specifics.
Why is it called Cowboy caviar?
Some people call this dip Cowboy caviar, which is a nickname for Texas caviar. Texas caviar is named for its birthplace: Texas! It was created around 1940 by a woman named Helen Corbitt. She first served it on New Year’s Eve at a country club (perhaps because black eyed peas are known as a lucky New Year’s Eve food). When she later served it at a Texas hotel, it was dubbed “Texas caviar” as a play on the real caviar, a fancy appetizer made with fish roe. The name stuck!
What are black eyed peas, anyway?
Black eye peas are not really not peas at all. They’re beans! Black eyed peas are part of the legume family with black beans and chickpeas. While they’re often eaten in the American South, are eaten all over the world.
One of the most popular black eyed peas recipes in the US is as a lucky New Year’s Day tradition: Hoppin’ John, a dish with rice and pork. But there are so many other ways to serve them, like Texas caviar! A few of our other favorites as black eyed pea salad or as a side dish.
Canned vs cooked black eyed peas
For Texas caviar, we like using canned black eyed peas because they’re quick and easy! They also have a beautifully soft texture. But some stores don’t carry them (at least here in Indiana!). So you also can cook your black eyed peas from dry. Here’s what to do:
- Place ½ pound dried black eyed peas in a large pot with 2 cups vegetable broth, 2 cups water and ¾ teaspoon kosher salt. (You can also cook the entire pound and double these ingredients! Then you’ll have leftovers.)
- Cook 40 to 50 minutes until they’re tender but still hold together. Then drain.
How to serve Texas caviar
There are lots of ways to serve Texas caviar or Cowboy caviar, but the most popular is with chips! Here are a few more ideas to get your wheels turning:
- Chips: It’s sublime with our Baked Tortilla Chips hot from the oven!
- Fish: Bake or grill fish (like Grilled Salmon or Grilled Tilapia), then add Texas caviar on top.
- Shrimp: Serve as a side with Perfect Grilled Shrimp or Garlic Butter Shrimp.
- Burgers: It’s a protein-packed side for veggie burgers like Portobello Burgers or Chickpea Burgers.
- Tacos or Fajitas: Serve it alongside Crispy Avocado Tacos or Best Vegan Fajitas.
Want to make it in advance or store leftovers? Keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
This Texas caviar recipe is…
Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.Print
This Texas caviar (Cowboy caviar) will have everyone crowded around the bowl! It’s full of big, zesty flavor and perfect for parties and cookouts.
For the vegetables
- 2 15-ounce cans black eyed peas (or 3 cups cooked)
- 15-ounce can black beans (or 1 ½ cups cooked)
- 1 15-ounce can corn (or 1 ½ cups frozen and thawed)
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 3 green onions
- 1 medium jalapeno, seeded (optional)
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
For the dressing
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Drain and rinse the beans and corn.
- Dice the bell pepper. Chop the cherry tomatoes. Thinly slice the green onions. Seed and dice the jalapeno pepper. Chop the cilantro.
- Add all the vegetables and beans to a bowl. Mix with the kosher salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, garlic powder, and cumin. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix to combine.
- Eat immediately, or refrigerate until serving (it tastes even better after allowing to marinade 30 minutes or longer). Serve with chips for dipping. Stores refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Raw
- Cuisine: Tex Mex
- Diet: Vegan
Keywords: Texas caviar, Cowboy caviar
More dip recipes
This Texas caviar is a perfect party dip! Here are a few more dip recipes you might enjoy:
- Spinach Artichoke Dip Irresistibly creamy and tangy! Everyone will park themselves in front of the bowl, then ask you for the recipe.
- Taco Dip Easy and totally crowd pleasing! Made with Greek yogurt and a homemade spice blend.
- Simple Guacamole Perfect flavor! Creamy, savory and perfectly balanced, you’ll hear a chorus of “Wow’s” every time you serve it.
- Dill Pickle Dip Perfect for parties! Creamy and tangy, it’s like biting into a dill pickle spear.
- Peanut Butter Dip Wow, do people love this one! This healthy dip is just 4 ingredients and tastes like frosting! Perfect for dipping apples, pretzels or fruit.