Cowboy Caviar ~ whether you call it Texas caviar, black bean salsa, black-eyed pea salad, or Southwestern bean dip, this all-American cross between a salsa and a salad is just plain GOOD! It’s a multi-tasker that’s always welcome at barbecues and potlucks, and it has Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, and 4th of July written all over it.
Sit me down in front of a bowl of this colorful cowboy caviar, throw in a pile of chips, and I won’t come up for air until I’ve polished it off ~ definitely my kind of food. And between the beans and all the veggies, this is substantial food, chunky enough to double as a side dish. But whether you call it a dip, salsa or salad, it’s a healthy dynamo, so the more you scoop up with your chips or pile on your plate, the better.
Cowboy caviar is traditionally anchored by black beans and black-eyed peas. I used a can of black beans, but when I couldn’t locate canned black-eyed peas at my store, I used dried. They don’t need to be soaked, and they cook up surprisingly quickly. I love the contrast between the two types of beans, it’s a really pretty effect in the caviar.
A vegetable chopper comes in handy with this recipe because there are so many things to chop and you want them all to be evenly and finely diced. In my SALMON WITH PINEAPPLE JALAPENO SALSA post I go into detail about why I love my Alligator Chopper. if you do a lot of recipes that require fine chopping, it’s a wonderful time saver. If you plan to use this cowboy caviar as a salad you can afford to go a little bigger with the size of the pieces and a knife will work just fine. But for a salsa, everything needs to be fine enough to fit nicely on a chip!
Color is key to the charm of this cowboy caviar ~ bold bell peppers pop against the black and white beans…with bright yellow corn, vivid red tomatoes, black olives along with pimento stuffed greens, and purple onions all contributing to the rainbow effect.
Some other possible ingredients you might use in your cowboy caviar:
- green onions
- garden peas
- 1 15-ounce can of black beans, well rinsed and drained
- 1 15-ounce can of black-eyed peas, well rinsed and drained
- 1 ear of corn, kernels removed (the corn can be cooked or raw)
- 1/3 cup minced red onion
- 1/3 cup finely diced green bell pepper
- 1/3 cup finely diced yellow bell pepper
- 1/3 cup finely diced orange bell pepper
- 1/2 cup finely diced tomatoes
- 1-2 jalapenos (to taste) minced
- 1/4 cup chopped green stuffed olives
- 1/4 cup chopped black or kalamata olives
- a large handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- juice to 2 large limes
- 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Put all the salad ingredients into a large bowl.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together and taste to adjust it to your liking.
- Add the dressing to the salad and toss gently.
- The salad is best if made a couple of hours ahead of time to allow the flavors to develop and mingle. It keeps for a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- These amounts are approximate, you will just eyeball it. A rough guide is to include an equal amount of veggies to beans ~ and lots of cilantro :)
- The corn can be cooked or raw, but I think it has the best flavor when it’s grilled, and it gets nice char marks that way, too. You can set it right on the grill in or out of its husk, and turn frequently with tongs until it starts to steam or soften.
- I’ve got a thing for bean salads ~ check out my MEDITERRANEAN BEAN SALAD, it’s made with chickpeas and creamy cannelini beans. My LAYERED 7-BEAN SALAD IN A JAR is a fun way to serve a healthy salad at parties, but also a handy grab and go working lunch. And my DECONSTRUCTED HUMMUS SALAD is a chunky take on everybody’s favorite appetizer.
- My pretty blue bowl is made by one of tvfgi’s own AMERICAN ARTISANS!
Don’t forget to pin this colorful and healthy cowboy caviar!