What Is Cowboy Caviar? Saddle Up and Find Out

Cowboy caviar, also known as Texas caviar, is not just another ! It's brimming with color, texture, and flavor from an array of fresh vegetables, and full of protein from both black eyed peas and black beans. It can be whipped up and gobbled up in just 15 minutes, or you can make it ahead of time to give all those delicious flavors a chance to meld. Call it a salsa, a , an appetizer, or a —it's the perfect year-round potluck dish that will make everyone giddy up and eat! 

Is cowboy caviar a salad or dip?

Salad is a loose term—just take for example! Cowboy caviar is whatever you want to make it. Scoop it up with tortilla chips as a chunky, fresh , or spoon some on a your picnic plate with barbecue and baked beans. No matter how you categorize it, it's darn delicious! 

What is cowboy caviar made of?

Everyone has their own take on Texas or cowboy caviar. For this recipe, we use a mix of black beans and black-eyed peas for color and flavor. Tomatoes, bell pepper, onion and sometimes even corn are commonly added. Jalapeño pepper adds spice while cilantro keeps things fresh. We've dressed it with red wine vinegar, olive oil and added a little Worcestershire sauce for saltiness and depth. Some recipes use bottled Italian salad dressing. When going that route, substitute about 1/3 cup of dressing in place of the olive oil, vinegar, and Worcestershire and decrease the salt and pepper slightly.   

Do you use canned beans and peas for cowboy caviar?

Canned black beans and black-eyed peas make this dish super easy. All you have to do is crack open the cans, drain and rinse, and toss the beans and peas into the bowl, no cooking required! However, if you have a pot of black-eyed peas leftover from Sunday lunch, this is a great way to use 'em up! Feel free to start with fresh or dried beans and peas and cook them yourself for cowboy caviar, but don't shy away from canned goods either. 

What does cowboy caviar taste like?

Like a cross between and , cowboy caviar is bright, fresh and full of crunch. Eat it with chips or serve it as a side dish on a menu.  

Is cowboy caviar spicy?

This is up to you! This recipe calls for one chopped jalapeño, which when leaving the seeds and white flesh intact, adds a little spice to the dish. If you like it just a little spicy, remove the seeds. Don't like spice at all? Skip the jalapeño completely. 

How long does cowboy caviar last in the refrigerator?

Cowboy caviar can be made up to two days in advance and refrigerated until ready to serve. It is fine to hold even longer, but the vegetables will start to lose their crunch. Pro tip: Add the cilantro right before serving in order to keep it bright and fresh.