Cowboy caviar is a dip, relish, salad, salad topping, side dish, taco topper, and excellent on potatoes, tofu scramble, or any dish you love. A quick and easy football snack for your next game! This cowboy caviar recipe is ready in minutes!
It's football season! When I plan a get-together, I pick the freshest and healthiest dips and recipes. Therefore, I decided to make my unique version of cowboy caviar. My mom used to create a cowboy caviar recipe to make when I was a kid. Unfortunately, her version was loaded with oily dressing and canned corn.
For my cowboy caviar recipe, I chose fresh corn on the cob. First, I grilled and cut off the cobs. Then, I grabbed my favorite veggies and dressed them in an oil-free fresh lime juice dressing without using any oils or fat.
What is Cowboy Caviar?
Cowboy caviar is a sassy Texas dish but is commonly served all over the United States as a BBQ and picnic staple. Often served in the summertime, this Texas dish has a variety of uses, which is why it's so popular. So, let's look at how this cowboy caviar recipe is used.
- Dip for chips or vegetables ( I served with black bean and quinoa chips as well as blue tortilla chips)
- Serve as a side dish or side salad.
- Add as a salad topping for a salad such as chopped southwest salad
- Relish for carrot dogs
- Use as a taco topping
- Stuff inside a baked potato
- Put on top of vegan nachos
- Add to the top of vegan potato skins
- On top of southwest tofu scramble
Without a doubt, cowboy caviar is versatile for a lot of different recipes!
- Black-Eyed Peas: Black-eyed peas are a variety of cowpea and are part of the family of beans and peas. Although called a pea, it is a bean. Peas and beans are legumes and have edible seeds and pods.
- Black Beans or Pinto Beans: Choose black beans, pinto beans, or both. Today, I wanted both, so I added a can of black and pinto beans. Both are very sturdy, meaty beans.
- White Onion: The onion gives the cowboy caviar a bold flavor.
- Fresh Corn: Corn is in season, so I chose fresh, sweet corn on the cob.
- Roma Tomatoes: Roma tomatoes have fewer seeds and chop well for salads and stews.
- Red Bell Pepper: Red bell peppers are sweet and vibrant compared to green peppers.
- Jalapeno: Believe it or not, jalapenos aren't as spicy as you may imagine. If the seeds and veins are removed, they lose their intense heat.
- Cilantro: Cilantro is a natural flavorful herb perfect for this cowboy caviar recipe.
- Lime: I prefer fresh lime juice and zest for additional lime flavor.
- Chili Powder: Chili powder is mild to moderately spicy, depending on how much cayenne pepper makes up the mixture. The aromatic and savory spices in the blend create the flavor profile known as Tex-Mex.
- Garlic Salt: Garlic salt is a mixture of ground garlic and sea salt or kosher salt.
- Garlic Powder: Garlic powder adds an intense, concentrated garlic flavor to a recipe, while garlic cloves offer a slightly subtler flavor
- Cumin: Cumin is rich, hearty, earthy, and warm, with an edge of citrus. Cumin adds instant depth to any dish.
Recipe Ingredient Substitutions
- An excellent substitute for black-eyed peas is yellow eye beans or cattle beans. However, you can add another can of black beans or pinto beans.
- If you don't have garlic salt, the ratio of garlic powder to salt is one part garlic powder to three parts salt.
- Substitute 1 teaspoon garlic flakes for ½ teaspoon garlic powder. Then, grind up the garlic flakes and use them as a 1:1 substitute!
- Ground coriander is an excellent substitute for cumin.
Grilling Corn on the Cob
Since corn is in season in Arizona, and it is 12 for $2.00, I grabbed a bunch of sweet corn on the cob.
Because I prefer to grill my corn over boiling it on the stove, I grill it in advance and cut it from the cobs to use when I want it for a recipe. I prefer grilled corn because of its charred taste. But, if corn isn't in season, you can use canned or frozen corn instead.
- Remove the husks from the corn on the cob
- Preheat the grill to medium heat or 400 degrees
- Once the grill is hot, place the corn across the grill grates to get a more uniform cooking surface.
- Rotate the corn every few minutes for 12-15 minutes, depending on how much char you desire.
- For my other recipes, like Mexican street corn or charred corn salad, where the corn is marinated, you cook it the same way.
- Then, remove the corn and allow it to cool before cutting off the cobs so you don't burn your fingers.
Making the Recipe
Once the corn on the cob is cool, using a sharp knife, cut the corn from the cobs and place it into a large bowl.
For a quicker way to cut vegetables, I suggest using a vegetable chopper. Not only does it cut chopping time in half, but it also allows everything is chopped uniformly.
Then, the rest is easy. Place all the ingredients into the bowl with the corn, and stir. However, I suggest placing the cowboy caviar in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2-3 hours. But, I like it even better refrigerator overnight.
As a result, the ingredients enhance over time.
It's a zesty, tangy mix of black beans, black-eyed peas, corn, and other fresh veggies. You can enjoy it as a dip with tortilla chips or eat it as a salad.
The name Cowboy Caviar, also known as Texas Caviar, has some Dallas history. It was created by Helen Corbitt, the legendary culinary director at Neiman Marcus in downtown Dallas, in the 1940s. Since then, it's been a potluck staple for many Texans and has even been fried at the State Fair of Texas.
Invented in the 1950s by Helen Corbitt, famed 1950s Neiman Marcus food director, it was first served as "pickled black-eyed peas" on New Year's Eve at the Houston Country Club. Soon after, it was dubbed "Texas caviar."
- First, lime zest is essential because it adds freshness to the dish.
- Another tip is to make the cowboy caviar in advance of any event or party. I made mine 8 hours before serving, which only makes the combination of flavors more intense.
- In addition, if you make a large batch, you can always plan to use the cowboy caviar for other dishes throughout the week.
- My kids love cowboy caviar with chips and vegetables to dip!
So, if you are looking for a great oil-free dip, salad, or topping, try cowboy caviar! But, of course, your guests will be begging you for the recipe.
If you love this cowboy caviar recipe, give us a 5-star review and comment below. We would love to hear from you!
- 15 ounces black-eyed peas rinsed and drained
- 15 ounces black beans rinsed and drained (or pinto beans)
- 4 ears fresh corn or two cups frozen (cooked), or canned corn
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 6 Roma tomatoes diced or ½ pint grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 jalapeno seeds removed, diced
- 1 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 lime juiced and zested + ⅛ cup more lime juice
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- In a large bowl, add all ingredients
- Stir to combine
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve
- Cowboy caviar gets better as the flavors mix, so leave it covered and refrigerated for at least a few hours.
- Use lime juice and zest for the maximum flavor.
- Add another can of beans of choice for more protein or as an entree salad rather than a side dish.
- Use canned or frozen corn if you don't have access to fresh corn on the cob. However, cook frozen corn, and allow it to cool before adding it to the bowl with the other ingredients.
- For a sweeter onion presence, use red onion instead of white onion. Green onions also provide a milder flavor.
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂