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Easy Cowboy Caviar: Variation of the Original

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This easy Cowboy Caviar, or Texas Caviar, is a fresh and simple dip or side dish that’s ready in 15 minutes or less. Utterly delicious, it’s perfect for picnics, BBQs, taco Tuesdays, or anytime you’re craving flavor-packed, healthier food!

Closeup view of Cowboy Caviar in blue and white bowl

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It’s salad season and gardens are producing abundant, fresh produce. Markets are brimming with seasonal goodies that are healthy, beautiful, and sweetened by the sun.

This Cowboy Caviar is absolutely perfect for the season! Whether you serve it with chips and dip, fresh veggies, alongside tacos, on top of chicken breasts, Mexican casseroles, or anything off the grill.

If you have 15 minutes, you have time to make this incredible appetizer. It’s much like a dip, salsa, or pico de Gallo, but Cowboy Caviar has its own distinctive ingredients. And they are delicious!

Side view of Cowboy Caviar in blue and white bowl with fresh cilantro

What Does Cowboy Caviar Taste Like?

It’s utterly heavenly with sweet red tomatoes, crisp peppers, subtle heat, and a hint of lime in a slightly tangy, slightly sweet homemade dressing that’s a bit addictive! Add salty chips, and it’s rather divine.

Why is it called Cowboy Caviar?

Helen Corbitt, Neiman Marcus head chef, first invented the recipe in 1940 when asked to create a dish using only Texas products.

Later, the Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas served the dish on New Year’s Eve and called it “Texas Caviar,” a tongue-in-cheek comparison to true caviar, an expensive hors d’oeuvre.

Original Texas Caviar Recipe

We’ve taken hints from the original recipe, keeping many of the ingredients, like black-eyed peas, peppers, and red onion. My recipe along with ingredients and step-by-step instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Helen Corbitt’s Texas Caviar

  • 2 (15-oz.) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • 14 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 14 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 12 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 14 red onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

How Long Does Cowboy Caviar Keep in the Refrigerator?

If properly stored in an airtight container, Cowboy Caviar will keep in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.

Top view of Cowboy Caviar ingredients in a glass bowl

Ingredients for Cowboy Caviar

The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here’s what you’ll need to make this super easy snack:

  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Jalapeno
  • Avocados
  • Red onion
  • Sweet corn (frozen and thawed or fresh)
  • Canned black beans
  • Canned black-eyed peas
  • Feta cheese
  • Black olives
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Lime
  • Olive oil
  • White wine vinegar
  • Taco seasoning
  • Honey

Cowboy Caviar Ingredient Variations

  • Cherry tomatoes make chopping very simple, but you can substitute Roma tomatoes if you prefer.
  • While I’ve kept close to the original recipe using a combination of black-eyed peas and black beans, you can substitute pinto, or simply use only one of the varieties.
  • If cilantro isn’t your thing, fresh parsley is always a good choice, as is green onions.
  • Frozen and thawed corn kernels work easily in this recipe, but you can also substitute drained canned corn, or by all means, if you have fresh corn on the cob, that is amazing too!
Top view of Cowboy Caviar with halved avocado

Tips for Making Cowboy Caviar

  • This dish can be made up to 8 hours in advance. If not serving immediately, omit the fresh cilantro and avocado. Stir those ingredients in just before serving.
  • The best tip for making delicious Cowboy Caviar is to chop the ingredients small, and of similar size. You want petite rather than chunky.
  • A vegetable chopper makes this recipe a breeze!


Make sure you don’t lose track of this recipe by pinning it for later! If you are not already, you can follow me on Pinterest, as well as keep up with me on FacebookInstagram, and YouTube. If you make this recipe, I would also love it if you’d tag me in your photos and leave a star rating below!

Side view of Cowboy Caviar with tortilla chips in a terra cotta bowl
Closeup view of Cowboy Caviar in blue and white bowl

Easy Cowboy Caviar: A Variation of the Original

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This easy Cowboy Caviar, or Texas Caviar, is a fresh and simple dip or side dish that's ready in 15 minutes or less. Utterly delicious, it's perfect for picnics, BBQs, taco Tuesdays, or anytime you're craving flavor-packed, healthier food!


  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 bell peppers (I like green and yellow), chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (optional)
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, diced smalled
  • 2 cups sweet corn (frozen and thawed or fresh)
  • 1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-oz) can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 container feta cheese
  • 1 can sliced black olives
  • Fresh cilantro


  • Juice of 1 limes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Make the homemade dressing by whisking ingredients together or by adding them to a lidded jar and shaking vigorously. Let sit while assembling the cavair.
  2. Finely dice bell peppers, jalapeno (if using), and onion. Half or quarter the cherry tomatoes if large and add to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in the corn, pre-sliced olives, drained beans, and feta.
  4. Drizzle the dressing over the cowboy caviar gently, stiring to coat all of the ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  5. Just before serving, dice avocado and roughly chop fresh cilantro. Toss with cavair to incorporate and serve!
  6. e you plan to serve the dip. Once everything is combined, serve with chips, on burritos or however else you see fit. It should keep in the fridge for up to three days.


How Long Does Cowboy Caviar Keep?

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

What to Serve with Cowboy Caviar?

Serve with chips, burritos, chicken breasts, tacos, pitas, or fresh veggies.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 197Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 281mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 5gSugar: 9gProtein: 5g

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