Packed with bell peppers, beans, corn, and tomatoes, this colorful cowboy caviar is the most delicious way to get your veggies!
Whether you’re hosting a party or have to bring a dish to a potluck, this dip should be the first item on your list.
Cowboy caviar is so addictive that while one batch makes a lot, it’s still a smart idea to double the recipe.
I guarantee you this will be the first thing to disappear at any gathering.
From its colors to its flavors and textures, this dip is a certified hit.
The fact that it’s vegetarian, thereby healthy, is just a happy coincidence.
Did I mention that it’s a cinch to make? It calls for pantry staples and a bunch of canned ingredients.
So if you’re able to pop a can open, this recipe will be a breeze.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab some tortilla chips and whip up this cowboy caviar!
What is Cowboy Caviar?
Also called Texas caviar, cowboy caviar is a bean and vegetable dip.
It’s made of black-eyed peas, black beans, corn, and other Tex-Mex ingredients tossed in a tart vinaigrette.
It looks like caviar, but it’s a lot more inexpensive.
You can make the dressing from scratch, but for convenience, I go for store-bought Italian dressing.
It can be any kind of dressing, really. As long as you like its taste, there shouldn’t be a problem.
This cowboy caviar recipe is forgiving like that.
You can also have fun with the mix-ins. Aside from the ingredients in this recipe, add whatever you feel like adding!
Try avocado or guac, chickpeas, cucumbers, garlic, leeks, or anything you have in the fridge.
Feel free to make this cowboy caviar your own.
Cowboy caviar gets a lot of its appeal from its looks. That said, it’s important to add as many colors to the mix as you can!
Here’s what you’ll need:
Canned Beans – They’re what makes this dip incredibly hearty. Use a mix of black-eyed peas and black beans. Be sure to drain the liquid to keep the dip from being watery. You can also rinse the beans if you want to reduce the saltiness.
Corn Kernels – For sweetness and crunch. The kernels’ golden hue also creates a wonderful color contrast with the black beans. Either fresh, canned, or frozen corn will work.
Diced Tomatoes – Their juiciness is a great contrast with the crunchy veggies. For convenience, just use a can of diced tomatoes.
Onion and Green Bell Pepper – For freshness, color, crunch, and flavor. Dice them into small chunks so they’re the same size as the beans and corn. These veggies are extra sharp when raw, so you don’t want them in big chunks.
Cilantro – For flavor. Add as more or as little as your taste buds demand.
Jalapenos – It’s not Tex-Mex if it didn’t have a little bit of heat! Jarred jalapenos are great, but if you like a spicier dip, use fresh.
Garlic Salt – To taste. Regular salt is fine, too.
Italian Salad Dressing – To tie all the flavors together. Use your preferred brand and kind of vinaigrette.
How to Make Cowboy Caviar
1. Chop the vegetables.
This is the only step that requires some effort.
Mince the onion and bell pepper with a sharp knife, or give them a quick pulse in the food processor.
2. Combine all the ingredients.
In a large bowl, add the canned black beans, black-eyed peas, diced tomatoes, corn, jalapenos, and chopped onion and bell pepper.
Toss them all together until well combined. Season everything with garlic salt.
Pour the Italian dressing in and toss the ingredients again.
Now comes the hard part: the waiting. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cowboy caviar for at least 20 minutes before serving.
It’ll taste so much better if you wait for a little longer, though. Let it sit in the fridge for 24 hours if you can.
Serve the cowboy caviar with tortilla chips and enjoy!
Tips and Tricks
- If you don’t have garlic salt, you can use regular salt and just throw in some minced fresh garlic to the mix.
- Are jalapenos way too hot for you? Use green chiles for a milder kick.
- Not in the mood to chop up vegetables? Just get a bag of frozen Mexican veggie mix to save time and effort.
- Prepare cowboy caviar at least a few hours or a day in advance. The longer it sits in the fridge, the tastier it gets. It also becomes less watery as the ingredients get to absorb more liquid.
- Spritz the salad with lime juice right before serving to brighten up its flavors.
How to Serve Cowboy Caviar
Cowboy caviar is traditionally served with tortilla chips for scooping. You can also try Frito scoops to get more dip in every bite.
It’s not just great as a party appetizer, though.
You can also serve cowboy caviar as a light salad or a refreshing side dish to any entree.
You can also turn it into a full meal by serving it with rice. If you want a lighter meal, serve it over a bed of lettuce.
Lastly, you can use cowboy caviar as a healthy, vegetarian filling for tacos, burritos, and enchiladas.
Storage and Make Ahead Instructions
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container. Refrigerate it for up to 3 days.
Cowboy caviar dip doesn’t freeze well. The ingredients’ textures will deteriorate once thawed.
To Make Ahead
You can make the cowboy caviar dip up to 3 days in advance. This dish tastes much better once it’s had time to rest, so it’s actually better to make it ahead of time.
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