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Cowboy Caviar

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Park Feierbach

If looking for a recipe to get your dinner party guests hyped, then Cowboy Caviar is a favorable option. Pour the mixture into your favorite ceramic bowl, place it in the center of the table, and let everyone go wild. Although the likely question may be, “where’s the caviar?”, this salsa-like recipe takes on the name due to the black-eyed peas. Don’t let anyone get fooled!

What is Cowboy or Texas Caviar? 

The concept–dare we say dip–originated in the South, specifically Texas. Helen Corbitt was a popular chef and cookbook author who helped transform how we looked at food. In 1940 she began teaching in Texas and, when asked to cater an event, developed what we now know as Texas Caviar from her curiosity about black-eyed peas. Her recipe was simple: black-eyed peas, onion, garlic, oil, and vinegar. Some call it Cowboy Caviar; others call it Texas Caviar. Different names, same idea, and lots of variations. We like ours with black beans because, why not? It’s also loaded with red onion, corn kernels, cherry tomatoes, orange bell peppers, and avocado. The soft beans, crunchy onion and pepper, and creamy avocado satisfy all the tastebud expectations. The dressing has a good balance of tang from the lime and a hint of spice from the hot sauce. 

How long will it hold up in the fridge?

How long the salsa lasts is dependent on the ingredients used. Our Cowboy Caviar will last for up to 5 days in the fridge. The acidic dressing helps keep it fresh, but it’s best eaten immediately. 

Is it vegan?

There are many ways to create this recipe, but most often, you’ll find it made with vegan ingredients. 

How do you eat it?

We love eating our Cowboy Caviar with tortilla chips, but rice crackers also work. And consider this a good topping in a rice bowl, stuffed into a burrito, or served alongside a grilled steak. 

Is it considered good for you?

If a dietician came up with the idea, then it’s probably healthy in some ways. Black-eyed peas contain vitamin K, black beans aid in lowering blood pressure, and avocados contain omega-3 fatty acids.

Made it? Let us know how it went in the comment section below!

Editor’s note: The introduction to this recipe was updated on June 23, 2022, to include more information about the dish.

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For the dressing:


extra-virgin olive oil


chopped fresh cilantro


hot sauce (such as Cholula)

For the salad:


small red onion, finely chopped


cherry tomatoes, quartered


orange bell peppers, chopped

Tortilla chips, for serving

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  1. In a small bowl, make dressing: Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, hot sauce, cumin, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Toss with dressing until well combined. Serve with chips.

Cowboy Caviar -

Park Feierbach

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